There's more ads down here, and they help support us so, y'know, check 'em out...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Recap: The 2011 Classic Melody Bar Reunion

Short form: once again, The 2011 Melody Bar Reunion (Classic Era) was a whole lot of fun.

Long form:

We may actually have this thing down to a science. Stiffy Biceptz runs the logistics, Ed Wong handles the magnificent load of audio equipment and everyone else (Pat Pierson, Lisa Uber, Pete Santiago, Matt Pinfield and myself) show up and slap vinyl and/or aluminum-coated polycarbonate plastic onto/into the decks, in a manner that appears to please the gathered crowd.

Or, more succinctly, we play songs loud and people go crazy. Thus, all is as it was.

Stiffy's collection of classic Melody Bar photos (taken back in the days of film, of course) once again played out over the computer projector, and people danced and danced and danced. The folks at the Elks Club were loaded for bear, refreshments-wise, and the crowd were similarly ready for action. The place exploded on a few occasions when an anticipated track hit the speakers. I got an "Oh my GOD!" wafting over to my ears from the direction of the dance floor a couple of times, at least once before 8PM, and that was just my set. Pinfield's meet-and-greet (and there'll always be one when he can make it) before getting down to business was as fun to watch as the dance floor itself.

Some highlights:

- The woman who squeed when I played Blue Zoo's "Somewhere In The World There's A Cowboy Smiling" did so because, about thirty seconds before I played it, she thought "hey, Blue Zoo's 'Somewhere In The World There's A Cowboy Smiling' would sound really good right about now." She wondered what the odds of that happening were, and I buffed my fingernails against my shirt with mock pride and said "one hundred percent..."

- Seeing folks who'd never been to the Melody, having been dragged to the reunion by their Melody-denizen friends, nonetheless out on the dance floor, looking like they were meant to be there from day one. Especially during Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz".

- Anything played while Stiffy Biceptz had his "KEEP BACK 200 FT." shirt on. It only comes out when conditions are juuuust right.

- And for sheer transcendance, Melody was there. In 1947, when the Melody Bar opened, she was the newborn after which the bar was named. We may not have the Melody Bar any longer, but the fact that we still have Melody was not lost on the crowd, who couldn't help snap umpteen pictures of her.

That just scratches the surface, which is all you can ask for, really. We'll do it again in about a year's time.

(Yes, it was recorded for posterity. Yes, you should keep an ear locked on Altrok 90.5 HD2 to find out when it might air...Matt says it's OK.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Something That May Mean Something: The Arcade Fire's Grammy

Two facts:
  • All three of The Arcade Fire's albums have been nominated for, but have never won, the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.
  • The Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" was awarded the Grammy for Album Of The Year.
Funny, that. Nothing against The Black Keys or Muse, who The Arcade Fire lost to earlier in the day, mind you. (Well, maybe I've something against Muse, who really make arena rock with an alternative veneer.)

Admittedly, the Album field was weaker because one of the Album nominees wasn't actually an album. We are on record as being in awe of Lady Gaga, but clocking in at eight pop-length songs, "The Fame Monster" was closer to being an EP than it was to being an album.

I think what really stands out for me in this isn't so much that The Arcade Fire won, but that they won with a release on an independent label. Merge Records was created by Superchunk to release their own records, and has maintained an artist-friendly (and label-spartan) shop ever since. In my opinion, the fact that they won this award doesn't say so much about the label having "arrived" as it does about the diminished size of the other "major" labels; there's simply no longer a need to support the old guard the way the industry once did.

My old colleague Jerry Rubino, now holding fort over at, mentioned via Facebook that Lady Antebellum's thank-you speech was unique in that they thanked radio for giving them so much support, and it's true that country radio has given them a lot of it. Of course, they make equivocating pop-country that really doesn't push anyone's envelope very hard, which is whey I really thought they'd take home the Album Of The Year statue.

The Arcade Fire made no such proclamation, and it's right that they didn't, because (outside of Jerry's own effort) there's not a commercial rock station that has touched Arcade Fire with a ten foot pole. That job was left to those of us who work in the margins of college and public radio - and we don't need a thank you, because we're just trying to find good music to play, and when we find it, we're happy to play it. The best thank-you we can get from The Arcade Fire is that they make more great records.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Video: The Answering Machine, "Lifeline"

Here's yer new video from The Answering Machine - "Lifeline" is the title track from their new album. You'll be hearing a bit more from it in the coming weeks at Altrok 90.5 HD2, of course - we've already added two tracks including this one, and I feel confident we're not stopping there...

I think we've been playing The Answering Machine for about three years now, and that's not a trend that's gonna slow down any time soon, either.
Please Look At Our Advertisers (Or The Website Gets It)
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.)