*Column and Modest Mouse

So I wrote my first column for the year in my school's newspaper and it's got some good feedback from both students and teachers so I thought I'd share it, and hopefully, it'd get me a little more active on this. I love the bloggin' world, and it's fun to be a personality, so I'll try my best to keep on pluggin'. Here's the article: (note: some details are school based so they may not make sense)

Let’s face it. The concept of radio is slowly but surely losing its appeal, and quite apparently losing ground. Between its constant battle with the ever-so-abundant army of better technology and the drought of quality material from major record labels, mainstream radio is just treading ground--the familiar ground it’s been stumbling over for years.

In 1978, Elvis Costello put it best when he sang, “They don’t give you any choice ‘cause they think that it’s treason/ So you had better do as you are told /You better listen to the radio.” His song “Radio, Radio” holds just as true today, if not truer, than it did the first time around. Coincidentally, Costello, a musical icon to many, has remained a success regardless of radio play. His situation, among many others, allows us to wonder: Is and has radio acted in our best interest as listeners? Or as consumers, are we force-fed what sells? As radio “progresses” into the future, my money’s on the latter of these two.

Don’t get me wrong. True talent still graces the airwaves, whether it’s pop, rock, rap or country. Writing a hit song is down to a science, but then again, doesn’t science ruin the mystery of pretty much everything? Is it fair to say the music industry is just another form of science? Of course we need a Justin Timberlake, a Britney Spears and a 50 Cent, but at the end of the day, can we really look back and say other people out there must be going through the same emotional retrospection when they hear “Sexyback”?

Where is our generation’s Beatles, our Otis Redding, our Bob Dylan? They’re out there somewhere, but if they can’t be marketed to spoiled preteens and deadbeat rockers with a credit card, they might as well not exist. Our generation’s Bob Dylan is still Bob Dylan.

If we can’t turn to mainstream radio for a helping hand, we must keep our eye out for something better. The future of radio, if not the future of music, lies in the hands of colleges, bloggers, independent record stores and stations, and satellite radio.

If you flip through Rolling Stone’s article on the Top 50 albums of 2005, you’ll notice that many of the artists mentioned are products of independent labels and never see mainstream radio play.

This should be a wake-up call to all of you. If you rely on your presets and major labels to tell you what to listen to, you’re missing out!

You may be asking yourself, what do I need to do to stay in touch? First of all, read up. With the ever-so-popular blog communities emerging, hundreds of music-based blogs have developed themselves as credible sources. Some of the biggest have even gone on to host their own shows on XM radio.

Secondly, be aware of emerging trends in technology. The concept of podcasting is gaining popularity by the day. With podcasting, you’re given the ability to access and download backlogged radio shows and personalized playlists, putting them all on your computer, CD or mp3 player.

In the very least, remember to turn that dial. There’s a fair amount of smaller, independently run radio stations available right through your radio as well as a great deal of them streaming on the web.

I’d be lying if I said this issue of the downfall of radio wasn’t hitting pretty close to home. KCCR, Pacific Lutheran’s own student-run radio station, has both a lot of room to grow and a lot of ground to gain. If mainstream radio remains successful in the state that it’s in now, a large responsibility will be placed on college, nonprofit and independent radio stations.

This responsibility is to offer what others haven’t, won’t or just plain can’t; a responsibility to play not only what people want to hear, but also what people need to hear.

This year, KCCR has a responsibility to spread its outreach across campus and across the greater Seattle area. Ventures into podcasting and in-studio recordings, as well as interaction with students, bands, concert venues and record labels will broaden KCCR’s outreach and add new areas and audiences to market the station. In addition, KCCR will continue and strengthen its involvement with school events and concert sponsorship.

In 1971 alone, B.B. King, Ike and Tina Turner, the Steve Miller Band, the Righteous Brothers and Neil Diamond entertained the Pacific Lutheran community. Twenty five years later, what does PLU’s event calendar really have to offer? Perhaps another half dozen Justin Klump concerts.

Quality, originality and broader selectivity are in order, and in all hopes, KCCR will begin to aid in that way starting this school year, whether it be on air or onstage.

so yeah. there that is. I have yet to get an EZarchive, but I'm going to try and get one for the radio station so we can archive podcasts. Then perhaps i'll be a more official blogger. until then, you get hotlinks and megauploads. oh, and no, that's not me in the picture. I like the incognito aspect of blogging, and I intend to keep it that way.

Modest Mouse - "Life Goes On"
I've been in a huge Modest Mouse/Ugly Cassanova mode, so watch out. This is an early live version of "Float On". Definitely not as radio friendly as the final product.

Modest Mouse - "Tiny Cities of Ashes
This is from a KVRX in studio. It's an amazing take on their already off the wall song.