Alt. Rock Tracks Revamp Mainstream FM


Régine Chassagne, of Arcade Fire

Plenty of old folks like to toss around the question, “Who listens to the radio anymore,” as if it was something sacred to their specific generations and reclusive to others, like the youth of today wouldn’t appreciate it. They have fond memories of the glorious Top 40 days, when rock topped the charts. I’ll admit, it’d be great to see rock bands at the top these days, but I’m a realist, and know that’s a stretch. Pop kills rock. It’s been done. Still, I’m a radio listener, and I listen to many different stations from all over the US. I have to hand it to mainstream radio for making a bold statement by playing some new(er) indie rock tracks lately. The FM airwaves have taken brutal stabs over the past few years by audiences leaving them for the more convenient company of satellites. I guess contemporary rock stations in major cities had to take a risk, and aim to reach a new audience. I think by playing some of these great singles from some of the top alternative rock bands in the world today is a step in the right direction, especially if they want to play hardball with other mediums. Us young folks are digging it. Here are my Top 7 alternative rock tracks that mainstream FM stations in US cities are now playing:

7. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Heart In Your Heartbreak”

6. Interpol – “Barricade”

5. The Strokes – “Taken For A Fool”

4. Arctic Monkeys – “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”

3. Foo Fighters – “Back & Forth”

2. Arcade Fire – “We Used To Wait”

1. My Morning Jacket – “Holdin’ On To Black Metal”

From Los Angeles to New York, Seattle to Atlanta, and all over the US, program directors are taking a page out of college rock’s historical rise to fame, and giving young people a reason to tune into the right of the dial again.

“Heart In Your Heartbreak (Official Video)”

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Author:Mike Pop

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48 Comments on “Alt. Rock Tracks Revamp Mainstream FM”

  1. 07.8.11 at 11:22 AM #

    Us older folk dig it too 😉 Well some of us. Sonic 102.9 here in Edmonton plays lots of different stuff. But it seems like the newer stations play really bad pop 😦

  2. 07.8.11 at 11:28 AM #

    I wish they were doing this where I lived. Great post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

  3. 07.8.11 at 11:32 AM #

    I used to be a disc jockey at a Top-40 radio station in the early ’90s…just at the start of when contemporary radio began its slow death.

    Nice to see a resurrection inspired by alternative rock!

    And sometimes I miss those days. I’ve never had more marriage proposals… (and I guess that’s a good thing!).

  4. musicman50
    07.8.11 at 11:47 AM #

    Great song. Fascinating to read what’s going on over the pond.

  5. 07.8.11 at 12:11 PM #

    At least you guys State-Side get decent alt-stations. In Britain everything is dictated by the mainstream- you’re lucky if you get a 2 hour rock slot at roughly 3am. Of course there are some older DJs who are too important to fire from the big stations and they play what they want- though again they are moved to ungodly timeslots. Most of the big stations here have a playlist which they NEVER veer from, because clearly people don’t like variety. So you get the same 10-12 songs on repeat all-day, perhaps with the odd request (usually for a song from last week’s playlist) and then you get the top 40 show which, surprise surprise features the songs from that month’s playlists. It is a bleak time for radio. Luckily there are online and other digital stations, but none have been too great.

  6. 07.8.11 at 1:04 PM #

    I just can’t listen to the radio anymore. I have my ways to find the music I like, namely music and arts festivals. There’s always great bands that may have been undiscovered showing up at these events. Nice post…

    • bbrao1
      07.28.11 at 9:01 AM #

      nice

  7. 07.8.11 at 3:24 PM #

    Music on the radio has changed a lot, but I think for every generation there’s a special window of time that the radio was the sh*t. Some of my best memories as a child was listening the to top 40 with Casey Kasem, I used to wake up early and carry a boom box outside on the back lawn.Today, there’s not too much of a reason for me to listen to the local radio here, when I’ve got an iPod full of music I love and no commercials. But I do follow KCRW avidly, there’s nothing close to it in my state, and if I’m feeling nostalgic I’ll turn the radio on an listen to 80s or 70/s60’s dedicated stations. Glad you’re diggin on My Morning Jacket – they’ve been high on my listening list the last month.

  8. 07.8.11 at 5:06 PM #

    The only radio station I listen to is Kerrang, here in the UK. It’s a rock station, and while it may veer towards the mainstream in the daytime, they do play more rock, metal and indie than anyone else…

  9. G
    07.8.11 at 5:21 PM #

    YOU’RE THE COOLEST!

  10. thethrillofitall
    07.8.11 at 9:59 PM #

    I have to say, this is actually a smart post for once that considers real alternative rock and its perils on radio. Great post, congratulations on getting freshly pressed, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  11. 07.8.11 at 10:38 PM #

    I had also despaired of local radio, but there seems to be a new move on to play some indie/alt rock, thank all that’s holy. In Vancouver,Canada, we have Shore FM 104.3 playing some great indie AND sponsoring some amazing live music festivals (no, I don’t work for them, I’m just so thankful). And CFox has the Fox Seeds – a great competition for local rock bands that has spawned some real talent. I don’t rely on radio to discover new music, that’s what Warped Tour and my local “hole in the wall” clubs are for, but radio is finally playing music I listen to. People used to ask me what do you listen to and I’d always say “nothing you would know” but now occasionally they do. There is hope.

    • 07.10.11 at 6:53 PM #

      I live near Vancouver, BC too, and MUST recommend people listen to 100.5 the PEAK as well. If you like the songs and artists that were in this post, you’d absolutely dig what the PEAK is putting out there. Lots of Canadian content and also music from all over the world. Look at their 12-hour playlist and be the judge: http://www.thepeak.fm/pages/now-playing

  12. saltybi11
    07.8.11 at 11:38 PM #

    Funny how alternative rock is so mainstream… lol

  13. 07.9.11 at 12:06 AM #

    Go Go Arctic Monkeys!!

  14. 07.9.11 at 1:35 AM #

    I’m a radio listener, and I listen to many different stations from all over the US. I have to hand it to mainstream radio for making a bold statement by playing some new(er) indie rock tracks lately. The FM airwaves have taken brutal stabs over the past few years by audiences leaving them for the more convenient company of satellites

  15. 07.9.11 at 7:10 AM #

    What a joy to find an insightful article about rock music in Freshly Pressed – congrats! It’s reassuring to know that alternative rock is getting some airplay on mainstream radio somewhere in the world, at least. Sadly, though, I have to agree with carlosnightman in that the UK is totally dominated by mainstream music of the worst kind, i.e. the songs that are all hook but no substance. Catchy in the way that flu viruses are, once they’re in your head, you’re stuck with them for days! Like junk food for the soul, they encourage kids to be mindless consumers and to follow gender stereotypes rather than to think for themselves.

    I’m not saying all music should be deep and meaningful but even humorous songs, like the kind the Arctic Monkeys do so well, can be intelligent and thought-provoking in their own way.

    Given the choice between the junk food music and real food variety, I’d like to think that a lot more young people than expected would choose the latter.

    • 07.9.11 at 7:24 AM #

      P.S. Love the song and video, by the way! I listened / watched after posting the comment – and it perfectly illustrates my point. Nice work! 🙂 Let me know if you guys ever come over the pond to good ol’ London Town.

  16. 07.9.11 at 7:55 AM #

    Nice song!

  17. 07.9.11 at 11:08 AM #

    In fact, radio listenership is higher than it ever has been.

  18. 07.9.11 at 11:18 AM #

    thanks for sharing. love it.

  19. 07.9.11 at 3:59 PM #

    Nice song!

  20. 07.9.11 at 6:14 PM #

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say Arcade Fire’s album The Suburbs was the best CD that’s been released in the last several years. Stunning from beginning to end. We Used to Wait is a great track.

  21. 07.9.11 at 9:53 PM #

    It’s good to hear there’s more alt rock on the radio. I never listened to the radio much because there was nothing I liked. UT Austin’s station KVRX 91.7FM is quite different…one of the requirements for music is that nothing is mainstream. On my show, I like to play a bunch of punk rock from bands that aren’t that well known and my co-hosts play Spanish and Korean music…stuff we would love to hear on other stations!

  22. 07.9.11 at 9:53 PM #

    Very beautiful thank you for this wonderful offering

  23. 07.10.11 at 1:55 AM #

    Which station is playing Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes? I MUST KNOW.

  24. 07.10.11 at 9:47 AM #

    Great song. Fascinating to read what’s going on over the pond.

  25. 07.10.11 at 9:54 AM #

    From one side the pond to the other we love the alt.music >> http://youtu.be/0bM3K2dId-4

  26. 07.10.11 at 6:45 PM #

    Wait…that are NOW playing? Barricade and We Used to Wait are nearly a year old!

  27. kentcooks
    07.10.11 at 7:31 PM #

    Coming from one of the “older generation” who every day of his life has listened to some form of radio, I’m surprised to hear, I’m surprised to find so few mentions of internet stations. you can find anything you want with internet stations, and get it on just about any smart phone. start with this station: http://www.radiophoenix.org/

  28. 07.10.11 at 7:44 PM #

    I agree totally. Even here in LA, it’s hard to hear good new music sometimes. Most of the songs & groups from your list I knew, but I hadn’t heard “Heart in Your Heartbreak” before. Thanks.

  29. 07.10.11 at 8:50 PM #

    The radio is dead to me. I listen to it in emergencies and sometimes I might linger just so I familiarize myself with what’s popular. That doesn’t take long at all.

  30. Andrew D.
    07.10.11 at 11:36 PM #

    I rarely listen to the radio, but when I do, I listen to an Alternative station from my area. I’m glad to see songs like this getting time on the air, because they deserved to be mainstream and listened to more often. I’m not really a huge fan of music on the radio these days, because popular music is all made up of random loops and completely electronic. More stations should play music like Arcade Fire and Foo Fighters, because they create real music.

  31. bbrao1
    07.11.11 at 1:04 AM #

    very nice….

  32. 07.11.11 at 1:27 AM #

    The FM airwaves have taken brutal stabs over the past few years by audiences leaving them for the more convenient company of satellites. I guess contemporary rock stations in major cities had to take a risk

  33. 07.11.11 at 1:37 AM #

    Wow, the video is so great. It can reflect our younger feeling. I can see powerful and energy in the video. In a word, i really like the idea of rock. I can’t wait to see more videos right now. Nicely done.

  34. 07.11.11 at 2:26 AM #

    Problem most of those bands have been around for years and are established with huge fan bases. New bands aren’t really give that much of a chance on the radio anymore…

  35. la-vandala-abusiva
    07.11.11 at 6:10 AM #

    Nice!Actually, I think that a lot of young people still listen to the radio…(I’m one of those!) Even if, as you say, isn’t so easy to find a “good” one.

  36. 07.11.11 at 7:10 AM #

    I just turned eighteen, but I can’t speak for most “kids” my age. I listen to the radio. Sure, it’s mostly satellite radio, but I still listen. If I DO sit around and hear the radio, it’s usually the country station. I find a lot of good music that way. Even though I mostly listen to rock and hard rock, I still really love a good country song. There’s also nothing like listening to my favorite songs on the Top Ten countdown. If I find one of my favorites on there I usually let out a squeal. Anyway, although I can’t speak for all the kids my age, but I can still say I love the radio.

  37. 07.11.11 at 7:48 AM #

    In India we have many popular radio channels ant they play all popular numbers of present as well a the past. Surprisingly I don’t have a collection of CD’s in my car as i mostly listen to the radio.

  38. rebeccabushell67
    07.11.11 at 10:12 AM #

    I love the song that was posted!

  39. 07.11.11 at 10:16 AM #

    What are some streaming alt/indie/new rock radio stations that you would recommend from across the country?

  40. 07.12.11 at 10:58 AM #

    Cool. Thanks:)

  41. 07.13.11 at 12:14 PM #

    Thank you for sharing content.

  42. recklessradio
    08.11.11 at 7:27 AM #

    Oooh! Some of my favourite bands from the decade are listed above! Interpol, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire and the Strokes. Of course they all have very distinct musical styles and all that, but they all have this in common: they truly made the music from the last decade not as dreadful as we thought it would be back in 2001 or something 😀 Great post!

  43. 09.26.11 at 8:37 PM #

    “”We can’t take a loan each and every time something fails in the usa,” he said

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Alt. Rock Tracks Revamp Mainstream FM (via ) « Robleamusic's Blog - 07.8.11

    […] Plenty of old folks like to toss around the question, “Who listens to the radio anymore,” as if it was something sacred to their specific generations and reclusive to others, like the youth of today wouldn’t appreciate it. They have fond memories of the glorious Top 40 days, when rock topped the charts. I’ll admit, it’d be great to see rock bands at the top these days, but I’m a realist, and know that’s a stretch. Pop kills rock. It’s been done. … Read More […]

  2. Alt. Rock Tracks Revamp Mainstream FM (via ) « emilyrachelgilley - 07.10.11

    […] Plenty of old folks like to toss around the question, “Who listens to the radio anymore,” as if it was something sacred to their specific generations and reclusive to others, like the youth of today wouldn’t appreciate it. They have fond memories of the glorious Top 40 days, when rock topped the charts. I’ll admit, it’d be great to see rock bands at the top these days, but I’m a realist, and know that’s a stretch. Pop kills rock. It’s been done. … Read More […]

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