Why the Shins, Band of Horses or Great Northern don’t have a chance.

There is a lot more to Alternative music than just listening to the radio.  Hell, when I talk to my friends they claim that they don’t use the radio anymore… which is a little white lie.  Well it is.  Yeah sure like you I spend a fair amount of time on the web gathering new music to consume… but in the end like a lot of people I end up skimming the radio dial in the car when I’m sick of my iPod.

Here’s a problem.  Like it or not radio is still the number one source of finding new music.  Yes, more than the net or your friend’s iPod. For better or worse because radio is so ubiquitous it is still used more than any other medium for gathering new sounds to digest.  Now the real problem… radio, especially Alternative radio thinks Seether, Disturbed, 3 Doors Down, Shinedown are Alternative bands.  Not.  Nothing wrong with these bands but these are rock bands.  Fairly successful rock bands.  Now the biggest problem. Alternative radio for the most part doesn’t play alternative music. Because it is in fact plays so many rock bands it in fact has no room for Alternative bands.  AND, when a rock station does throw in Band of Horses, Arcade Fire, Death Cab For Cutie, Kooks, Great Northern, My Morning Jacket, Radiohead, Spoon, Fratellis TV on the Radio, Interpol, The Editors or any other band that doesn’t sound like it’s meant for roofers, truckers, farmers or anyone who still drives a Camero (with flames) this music sounds out of place.

If you love any of the sonic values of any of the bands I mentioned as true Alternative bands then more than likely the first Rock grouping I mentioned (though very appealing to many) is not what you were looking for.  If you love the first grouping of artists mentioned in this post then the second Alternative grouping probably just sound awkward and weird to you.

Neither group is a wrong choice.  Neither group is better or worst than the other but they don’t belong on the same station.  Because their is really only one or two stations in the whole USA that play the later group of artists without the intrusion of Seether or Breaking Benjamin it is very unlikely you’ll hear this music on the public air waves even though these bands sell just as many concert tickets as many other rock bands mentioned.

Hey, just an observation from a guy who knows Alternative radio first hand.  Uh yeah, go freakin’ me.



2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joseph  |  November 28, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I agree completely, the radio is so limited and tainted with payola that it is impossible for good music to be discovered on a wider spectrum. However, the internet has come a long way in that area, free sites like last.fm will track every song you listen to, both on their custom online radio stations and on your ipod. What starts with Band Of Horses and The Shins soon becomes a list including Blind Pilots, Bon Iver, Broken Bells, The Local Natives, and Frightened Rabbit. The only thing holding this back is the lack of awareness of such tools. That is part of why I felt the need to comment, to share something that I (who has always considered myself a music connoisseur) was able to utilize and expand my world of music tenfold.

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