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Monday, August 31, 2009

Corner Tavern Alternative Reignites

Our old friend DJ Drew posts this tidbit:

Summer is drawing to a close and school is back in session, which means we're back at The Corner Tavern on Saturday nights. We DJs took the summer off, but the bands didn't - there's lots of new music out since June that we haven't had the chance to play yet. Come join us this Saturday night to hear the best new indie and alternative music the summer had to offer including bands like:

Passion Pit - La Roux - Phoenix - The Dead Weather - Arctic Monkeys - The Sounds - Friendly Fires - Mew - Matt & Kim - Chevelle - Kasabian - Placebo - Spoon

As well as our typical classics and such from bands like:

Depeche Mode - White Lies - The Cure - The Pixies - Nine Inch Nails - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - The Kills - Bloc Party - IAMX - Ladytron

and don't forget...the ALL-ERAS MELODY BAR REUNION party September 12 at 8pm !!!

The Corner Tavern
Corner of Easton & Somerset (111 Somerset St.)
New Brunswick, NJ

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Altrok Radio, Well Refreshed

It's a matter of policy here at that when we go on vacation, we try not to tell anybody about it until we return. That's partly because we like to fool ourselves into thinking we've bamboozled you into thinking we're always here, slapping dusty records onto overused turntables the way we did in the 80's, but it's mostly because we'd like to not advertise we've left our house full of dusty records and overused turntables unattended while we sneak off to Jamaica.

(Jamaica was really fun, by the way. There was rum there.)

As of today, however, we're back, so...

- a fully new playlist has been uploaded and is currently ready to spool out of your speakers at our web station.

- a new crop of tracks for Altrok's Daily Retro has been similarly queued at the web station for the remainder of the week, beginning each weekday at 11:30am Eastern and running for two hours or so.

- we're scrambling to bring you a new show at 90.5 The Night this Friday at 10pm Eastern (and if you think there may be something Jamaican amongst the mix, you may be right.)

So tune in! We're only doing this for you, ya know...

Monday, August 10, 2009

K-Rock HD2 Shook It Up?

New Order, "Age Of Consent". Not bad.

I'd be impressed with something from The Chameleons, actually. "Tears", perhaps. (It's on the "Strange Times" album, guys. And while you're at it, a bumper mentioning lead singer Mark Burgess appearing at the Loop Lounge in Passaic this Thursday might be nice.)

I'll be listening...

Friday, August 07, 2009

Retro Video: PiL On AB

Sasha Frere-Jones linked to it at The New Yorker, Fark linked to Jones, and I'm linking it here. (And, of course, WFMU linked to the video back in 2005. They do that.)

But if you've never seen Public Image, Ltd. on American Bandstand, now's your chance.

Today On Altrok: Good Things, Plus The Daily Retro At 11:30am

As always, there's an eight-hour pile of tracks for you today. Here's how it breaks down:

- Six songs get repeated in that eight hours, so it's four hours between plays for those six songs. They're the ones in "The Grinder", in case you're wondering what I mean by that when I say it on the FM Showcase (which, by the way, is on 90.5 The Night tonight at 10pm.)

- The rest of the songs are set up so that there's one song per band - you don't have to worry about us oversaturating you with Green Day or what have you. (You might actually hear Green Day, mind you; they're a great band, but you'll only hear them once in eight hours if you hear them at all.)

- About a third of the songs are retro alternative classics - the rest is new stuff that gets us as excited as the old stuff did when it came out, and in the same ways.

So, apart from the bands on today's Daily Retro (a two-hour block which starts at 11:30am Eastern) here's who we're playing:


120 Days

A Blind Dog Stares, Adam and the Ants, Air, Air Traffic, Altered Images, An Angle, The Answering Machine, The Apples in Stereo, The Arcade Fire, Architecture In Helsinki, Arctic Monkeys, Art Brut, Joseph Arthur And The Lonely Astronauts, Autokat, Aztec Camera

The B-52's, B-Movie, The Bangles, Chris Barron, Bauhaus, Beat Radio, The Bees, Best Fwends, The Bird And The Bee, Bjork, Black Kites, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Frank Black, Blancmange, Bloc Party, Blondie, Blood Red Shoes, The Bluebells, The Bluetones, Blur, Bockman, The Bongos, David Bowie, Bromheads Jacket, Buzzcocks

CSS, Cabaret Voltaire, Cajun Dance Party, Cake, Camouflage, The Cat Empire, The Chameleons, Chemical Brothers, The Chiara L's, Chow Chow, The Church, The Clash, Cloud Cult, Club 8, Jarvis Cocker, Lloyd Cole, The Comsat Angels, The Concretes, Bobby Cook, Julian Cope, Elvis Costello, The Cribs, The Cure

The Dance Party, Dave Dark & The Sharks, Datarock, Department S, Depeche Mode, The Descendents, The Detroit Cobras, Devo, Digitalism, Dirty On Purpose, Dogs, Dogs Die In Hot Cars, Thomas Dolby, Doves

Earlimart, Echo & The Bunnymen, Editors, Electrelane, The Electric Soft Parade, Val Emmich, The Enemy, Esiotrot

The Fall, Arlan Feiles, Feist, Field Music, Fields, Flesh For Lulu, The Fountains Of Wayne, John Foxx, Frank Smith, Adam Franklin, Franz Ferdinand, The Front

Charlotte Gainsbourg, The Gas, The Go! Team, Ben Godwin, Good Shoes, GoodBooks, Martin Gore, Grammatics, Grinderman

Hadouken!, Calvin Harris, Harrisons, Billy Harvey, Juliana Hatfield, Health, Help She Can't Swim, John Hiatt, Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians, The Hold Steady, The Holloways, The Hoodoo Gurus, Hot Hot Heat, The Hours, The House Of Love, Husker Du

IO Perry, Idlewild, Interpol, Isa And The Filthy Tongues, Islands Lost At Sea, Its A Buffalo

Joe Jackson, The Jam, James, Japan, Joy Division

Kaiser Chiefs, Tommy Keene, Paul Kelly, Killing Joke, Klaxons

LCD Soundsystem, The Law, Peggy
Lee (Vs. Iggy Pop), Left Right + Centre, Ted Leo + Pharmacists, Let's Active, Letters & Colours, The Lightning Seeds, Lismore, The Long Blondes, The Longcut, The Lords Of The New Church, Los Campesinos!, The Loungs, Love & Rockets, Love Of Diagrams, Nick Lowe

The Maccabees, Madness, Maldroid, Manic, Maritime, Maximo Park, Medium Medium, Malcolm Middleton, Midnight Oil, The Mighty Lemon Drops, Minipop, Ministry, Mission Of Burma, Modest Mouse, The Monolators, Morrissey, Mr Derry, Mr. Hudson & The Library, Peter Murphy, My Federation, Mystery Jets

Kate Nash, The National, The Needles, New Musik, New Order, The New Pornographers, Nine Inch Nails, Noisettes

Brendan O'Shea, The Octopus Project, Of Montreal, The Outside

Graham Parker, Parts & Labor, Passion Puppets, Candie Payne, Peelgreems, Jack Penate, Pete And The Pirates, The Pigeon Detectives, The Pixies, Poison Control Center, The Police, The Polyphonic Spree, Polytechnic, The Ponys, Pop Will Eat Itself, Popup, Pray For Hayden, Primal Scream, The Psychedelic Furs, Pull Tiger Tail, Josh Pyke

The Rakes, The Ramones, The Rapture, The Replacements, Reverend And The Makers, Stan Ridgway, Robbers On High Street, Mark Ronson, Roxy Music, The Rumble Strips

Sahara Hotnights, The Sammies, Satellite Party, Saturna, Scissors For Lefty, Sea Wolf, Seems So Bright, The Selecter, Sex Pistols, The She Beats, Pete Shelley, The Shins, The Shout Out Louds, Silversun Pickups, Simian Mobile Disco, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Sir Salvatore, The Sisters Of Mercy, Skidmore Fountain, Sky Parade, The Slickee Boys, The Smithereens, The Smiths, Sonic Youth, The Sound, Soup Dragons, The Specials, Split Enz, Spoiler NYC, Spoon, Squeeze, St. Vincent, Stiff Little Fingers, The Stone Roses, The Stranglers, The Suburbs, Sunscreem

Talking Heads, The Teardrop Explodes, Telograph, The The, They Might Be Giants, The Three O'Clock, Tilly & The Wall, Tones On Tail, Too Much Joy, Translator, The Transmissions, Travis, Trembling Blue Stars, The Trudy, The Twilight Sad


VHS or Beta, Ed Vallance, The Valley Arena, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, The Vapors, Laura Veirs, The View, Vincent Vincent & The Villains, Violent Femmes, Visage, Viva Voce, Voltage Union, Von Sudenfed

Wait Think Fast, Washington Social Club, We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It, The Wedding Present, White Rabbits, The White Stripes, Wild Carnation, The Wild Deer, Amy Winehouse, Wire, The Wombats


Yazoo, Yello, You Say Party! We Say Die!

If that works for you, click a link above and tune in!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Mark Burgess (The Chameleons, The Sun & The Moon) At The Loop

Folks, the photo says it all:

Pat Pierson called me with the news today, and it's very good news indeed. If you can get there, get there:

with a rare acoustic gig
at The Loop Lounge
in Passaic, NJ
on Thursday August 13th!

doors open at 9pm
show starts at 10pm

373 Broadway
Passaic, NJ 07055
(973) 365-0807

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Stiffy And Green Day At The Spectrum in Philly

After all the ranting and raving I did about Green Day's new album earlier this summer, I had to go and see them live. So two weeks ago I saw them at the soon to be demolished Spectrum in Philly. I went with El Hombre Solo, master of all that is Philly, provided he gets a hall pass from the wife.

I hadn't seen Green Day live since 1996, in Binghamton, NY on their Insomniac tour. To be honest at the time I wasn't very impressed with the show, and I recall telling my friend who I went with that I didn't think they'd amount to much. Their second major label release paled in comparison to Dookie and they just looked like another obnoxious punk band with no potential for growth. I am so happy they proved me so wrong.

The last time I was at the Spectrum was in 1981 for a 76'er's championship game against the Lakers. I will resist the temptation to tell that story for now. Having waited too long to get good seats when they went on sale, I had to buy them through Again I paid about a 100 bucks a pop excluding the fees and charges for the trouble. But I decided that I wasn't going to accept being far from the stage, and that Green Day was worth it. I also figured I didn't want to be down on the floor, figuring it would be too much for an old guy like me. More on that later.

I got two great seats about mid court with the stage at one end of the narrow arena. The view to the stage was great, and I could see all the guys clearly without the need for binoculars. The Bravery opened and put on a respectable performance, but it was obvious they were in way over their heads. They seemed lost on the large stage and knew that no one was really there to see them. It's got to suck to be in such a position, but I suppose it's all part of paying dues to getting the exposure. Once they were done, it wasn't long before Green Day came on. Just before the show started, a crew member dressed up in a cute bunny suit came out and danced around like a drunken fool to YMCA and a few other songs. It was quite funny and the crowd enjoyed it and joined right in.

Green Day opened with the title track to 21st Century Breakdown, and it was thrilling. The energy in the room was tangible and it felt like something very special was happening, and it was.

They rocked without interruption for just over two and a half hours. They played about half of the new album (not enough for me) and all the old hits. Billy Joe was a non-stop fountain of energy and enthusiasm, and it was clear they were enjoying themselves immensely. The love between the band and the crowd was genuine. The band was polished and tight and the sound was amazing.

There were many notable points during the show, so let me talk about a few of them. Firstly, Billy Joe brought nearly a half dozen people up on stage to sing songs alone or to play guitar. It was remarkable that he was able to find folks in the crowd who could actually sing the lyrics and play the guitar. And in every case the people nailed it. What fun that must have been for those fans, and how cool is that of Green Day to do that? The guy he brought up to play guitar was very good and played it perfectly on key and in sync with the band.

Secondly, I don't know how Billy Joe has any voice left after only a few minutes. He spent nearly the entire night yelling and screaming at the crowd, extorting them to sing along, pump their first or just go wild. But throughout the show his voice was powerful and right on key. I would have been hoarse after five minutes.

The most remarkable point of the show for me occurred during the piano intro for the opening song. As Billy Joe stood at the end of the catwalk that went out into the crowd from the front of the stage, some sort of fracas boiled up in the crowd a few feet from where he was standing. Billy Joe pointed into the crowd and directed some of the bouncers to the action. A few moments later a rather big dude was dragged up on stage under the insistence of Billy Joe. Billy Joe then put his arm around the guy and said to him calmly that everyone was here tonight to have a good time and we should all be cool and make sure no one gets hurt. The big guy agreed and peacefully left the stage.

What was remarkable was that Billy Joe saved this guy from getting thrown out and/or being pounded by the security folks. How many bands would have done something like that? This guy had clearly been getting too physical with the crowd and likely would have deserved it.

As for the floor action, the crowd was very tame and I would have been able to get right near the stage and see the band up close. Next time they are in town I'll be down on the floor.

Amusing Observation of The Night

No one smokes anymore, so no one carries lighters anymore. So when the house lights go down and the crowd wants to have it's Free Bird moment with the band, everyone turns their cell phones on and waves them around. You can't get anymore 21st century than that. I found that absolutely hysterical, and joined in with the crowd. I'm sure many of you are aware of this phenomenon but since I haven't been to a show in a long time, it's new to me.

It is clear that Green Day has decided to grow into something more than just a three piece punky bar band. And it is clear they know that if they didn't evolve musically, lyrically and performance-wise they'd have a very limited future. And what Green Day has achieved is remarkable. They have consciously decided to become a big time arena act, complete with full blown stage show with top of the line visuals, exploding flash pots and a battery of backup musicians,and yet haven't sacrificed or compromised anything that they have always been, a powerful raw punk pop band. Simply put, they are the same old loud fast and punky Green Day, only bigger and better. They've shown that you can grow up, mature, become insightful and wise, without compromising your punk principles and ethics. They aren't 22 anymore and they are OK with that. Green Day more than delivered and the show was well worth the 50 buck ticket price, and still a bargain at the 100 dollar price I paid.

They closed the show with Time of Your Life, which was perfect. Billy Joe strummed his acoustic guitar and sang along with the crowd, and the lights went down as he finished off an amazing performance.

So if you get the chance, go see Green Day live. You will not be disappointed, at any price.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Things I'm Done With: K-Rock HD-2

While it's nice to have something interesting to listen to with my newfangled HD Radio ($50 at Best Buy, don'tcha know) it's becoming increasingly clear to me that in the two weeks I've owned it, I've now heard everything K-Rock HD-2 has available to play for me.

As they say at the bingo hall, "Shake 'em up!!"

NY Times: Right And Wrong On Music Industry Failure

Charles M. Blow, responsible for "visual editorials" for the New York Times, has put together a shockingly expressive graphic and an accompanying op-ed piece that tell the story of the decline in product revenue, from a financial standpoint, of the music industry.

In the op-ed, Blow writes, "The problem is that if people can get the music they want for free, why would they ever buy it, or even steal it? They won't." I think that's true, but I also think it misses the point. The problem is that the music industry has whittled down the public's perception of its product to just that - the music itself - when it used to be so much more.

What's changed is the purchaser's perception of what they were purchasing. The CD was a wildly successful medium, for which customers paid a premium and which artists actually took a cut on their royalties to provide - even after it was clear that CDs cost a lot less to produce than LPs ever did.

The seeds of the music industry's destruction were buried within the CD's success. It taught a generation of music buyers that the only important thing about a release was the music itself. Instead of a well-designed package with liner notes, lyrics, and any other goodies borne of the mind of a creative team, customers got used to receiving a small plastic disc accompanied by an ever-cheaper case and a small booklet with tiny text on it serving as the "package".

When the music itself became the only product, and then Napster came along and proved that the distribution of the music itself could be accomplished for a price far lower than what the record companies were charging, the game was up. It's ironic that 1999 was the best year ever for music industry sales, because it was early the following year that they managed to shut down Napster - an entity that was probably doing more to promote a wider spectrum of the labels' output than any other medium.

I can't argue with Blow's view that there's a sunset rapidly approaching for the Music Industry As We Know It, but I think the idea that it's "free and legal streaming" that's killing the industry is less than reasonable. After all, there has been a free and legal way to listen to music, at very high quality, for a half-century: FM radio. Now, of course, FM radio is playing fewer songs than ever before, and people who listen to FM know they'll hear their favorite songs as long as they're willing to stand them. As soon as those songs burn out, there'll be other songs they don't need to buy to take their place.

Blow quotes a few studies, all of which point to the fact that music purchases among teens (the big bracket for the Music industry) are down and that, while file sharing is down, streaming service usage is up among the same age group. Ah-hah, sales go down, streaming goes up -- we've got ourselves a suspect in the Murder Of The Music Industry.

Those statistics may correlate, but they ignore what really counts, at a basic economic level: What do the people with money want to spend it on? And what is the Music Industry doing to see to it that it gets spent on their products?

The primary question really is: What's a teen with $20 in their pocket at the mall going to spend it on?

Probably on a DVD. Or a video game. Both will keep them entertained for hours.

With a maximum of 74 minutes playing time, three-quarters of which is usually filler, it sure as hell isn't going to be a CD.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Altrok Radio Music Update #234

Firstly, the important stuff:

Altrok Radio is at

Please remember to tune in whenever you can - every hour you listen turns into more visibility for the station; we show up higher in search listings, and such like that. And if you'd like to help us keep the stream running, check out the advertisers if they appeal to you; your interest actually helps fund us.

And in the interest of keeping you interested...well, you *do* know about our daily retro feature, right? No? Well...


WEEKDAYS, 11:30a-1:30p EASTERN

Now then, we've got songs to let you know about. A little late, actually - we added these in the past week, but managed to forget to mention we're mentioning it. Tomorrow, we'll add some more - we'll tell you about those tracks when we add 'em.

This past week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) included music from:

- Placebo
- The Gossip
- Metric
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- Micachu & The Shapes
- Jarvis Cocker

Plus we had newly-added music:

- 7 Seconds of Love - Danger Of Death
- Backlash - Slow Motion
- Black Moth Super Rainbow - Twin Of Myself (The Go! Team Remix)
- Bloc Party - One More Chance
- Freeland - Under Control
- Future Of The Left - Chin Music
- God Help The Girl (Stuart Murdoch) - God Help The Girl
- The Invisible Kid - Sometimes
- Johnny Foreigner - Feels Like Summer
- The King Blues - Bonkers
- The Longcut - Tell You So
- Noisettes - Never Forget You
- Jack Penate - Be The One
- Phoenix - Countdown (Sick For The Big Sun)
- Anton Sword & The We Ours - I Like Your Mind

Our Featured Classics:

- The Boomtown Rats - Rat Trap
- The Chameleons - In Shreds
- The Damned - New Rose
- The Gas - Breathless
- P.J. Harvey - Sheela-Na-Gig
- The Human League - Seconds
- Japan - Visions Of China
- Pizzicato Five - Twiggy Twiggy
- Pete Shelley - Telephone Operator
- The Sisters Of Mercy - Dominion/Mother Russia

Sound good? Tune in today (Sunday) for this setup, because it'll be different tomorrow...

- Sean Carolan
Altrok Radio
On your computer now at
On the radio Fridays at 10pm, at 90.5 The Night

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Congratulations, you've found the hidden text.
Welcome to, also available at and Here's where the remaining listeners of several fine radio stations have retreated, regrouped, and built a replacement strong enough to stand on its own. It builds on the independent legacy of New Jersey's FM106.3, New York's WPIX and WLIR, Oklahoma's 105.3 The Spy, the pre-buyout mindset of KROQ, WBCN and WHFS and of every other alternative station that was destroyed at a moment's notice - not because they weren't making money, but because there was bigger money to be found elsewhere.
We've stood by as truly independent alternative rock radio died. Sure, something called "alternative" took its place, but we know for sure that anything that "tests well" with soccer moms just ain't alternative. (Even if some of us happen to be soccer moms.) So we've taken matters into our own hands.
This really is independent alternative rock radio, visible here at and audible at our web radio station. It has the classic music that fired our passions back in the day - or that we maybe only heard about from our elders - but it's mostly made of the new music that does precisely the same for us now. We're paying attention to scenes all over the world, watching the energy build, and waiting to see what it creates. Wherever it happens, we'll make sure you can hear about it here. We've been slowly building all this since 2001, and now that you've noticed us, we're glad you're here.
Of course, it's only here because you want it to be here, and it can only stay if you help it along - especially by checking out our advertisers (they support us) and by listening (the more that listen, the more visible we are.) Please use the "feedback" link above to let us know whether it works for you, and what you want it to be as the future unfolds. (And if you need help hearing it, let us know that, too.)