Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Music (3/31/10)

(Photo from

Every Wednesday, we've got a list of new music from some of our favorite artists right here on Never Mind the Mainstream. It's also a bit of a spoiler fest for our show Friday. This week is a little different, as we have some great new music videos for you to view. I know what you're thinking: "What are music videos?" Well maybe these can enlighten those confused. Enjoy the clips and tunes.

From Stereogum
From Pitchfork (Videos)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 26, 2010 (Playlist)

March 26, 2010 (Playlist):
"Our Forty-First Show!"

The Stars Of Track And Field – The Breaking Of Waves
Radiohead – Electioneering
OK Go – This Too Shall Pass
The Hold Steady – Hurricane J
Jane's Addiction – Stop
Tokyo Police Club – Breakneck Speed
Polaris – She Is Staggering
Rilo Kiley – With Arms Outstretched
Broken Social Scene – World Sick
The Good Life – I Am An Island
Fever Ray – When I Grow Up
*"Allen Reed Memorial Cover Of The Week": The Fruit Bats – Never Tear Us Apart (INXS Cover)

The Vaselines – Son Of A Gun
Weezer – Why Bother?
*"Punk Trunk!": Nick Lowe – Heart Of The City
*"Punk Trunk!": The Clash – The Guns Of Brixton
The Radio Dept. – Heaven's On Fire
The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio
Screaming Trees – Nearly Lost You
*"The Mighty Mighty Boss-Tune": Bruce Springsteen – Adam Raised A Cain (Live)
Spoon – The Mystery Zone
Beat Happening – Indian Summer
The Smiths – Rubber Ring/What She Said (Live).

*Background music consisted of various instrumental alternative rock tunes from the 1980s and 1990s. The list features acts the likes of The Meat Puppets, New Order, Pixies, R.E.M., and Sonic Youth.

Old dogs can learn new tricks. This old saying could be said for Big Jim and myself, as our mighty tandem radio force took an unorthodox approach to our forty-first installment of NMTM. The approach: we planned nothing in advance. This is because of a few reasons. One being that we simply could not settle on a time and date earlier in the week to put the show together. Another being that I was too focused on comprehensive exams to give the show a fair amount of my week's attention. And last, we wanted to test ourselves, to see how we could manage a spur-of-the-moment playlist. Jim said it right when we were flying by the seat of our pants. The show, however, was stellar. It also started on time with the both of us ready for action (unlike an hour later, as predicted earlier in the week). Check out that list. We couldn't have added more variety, new music, and risky numbers if we had tried (Beat Happening isn't entirely radio friendly, but hey, that's why we're college radio). We spoke about how excited we are for the Spring because some of the biggest names in the world of independent music are releasing new material. That being said, we sampled some of that music this week: The Hold Steady, Tokyo Police Club, Broken Social Scene, and The National all shined on our program. We also spun a breed of alt-rock classics: Jane's Addiction, The Vaselines, Screaming Trees, The Smiths, and more. We also threw in some live tracks. And as always, our special segments were important in their own way. Thanks again for tuning in to most random show ever. Tune in next week for another great set.

Radiohead - "Electioneering"

Broken Social Scene - "World Sick"

Spoon - "The Mystery Zone"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Short & Sweet: NMTM 41 Tonight!

Short and sweet, due to a hectic Friday schedule: Never Mind the Mainstream. LIVE, TONIGHT, 6-8 PM ET! Only on 88.3 KUR. Stream the show live @ New music tonight from The Hold Steady, Broken Social Scene, OK Go, The Radio Dept., and more. Tune in! Studio line: (610)-683-4058. AIM: KURRequest.

The Stars Of Track And Field - "The Breaking Of Waves"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Music (3/24/10)

(Photo from

Currently listening to: Fever Ray - "When I Grow Up"

Thank you everyone for hanging tight as we get the blog updated with it's new look. How about that new banner? It's not exactly "new", but it is longer than the previous one. How about sourcing our pictures, adding bigger pictures, sticking fewer labels on posts, and jotting down what we're listening to at the moment? Just something new, we'll see how it works. I've been a big advocate of Blogspot-bashing and I'll continue to do so just because it's so primitive and restricting. However, and here's the kicker, it's free, so we'll deal with it. World keeps on spinning.

We've got about five weeks remaining until we get into one of the most anticipated months of the year, music-wise. It's May. Here's a list of notable NMTM favorites that will be releasing albums in the month of May.
  • Band Of Horses
  • Broken Social Scene
  • Josh Ritter
  • Minus The Bear
  • The Black Keys
  • The Fall
  • The Hold Steady
  • The National
  • The New Pornographers
  • Tokyo Police Club
  • and maybe ... Arcade Fire? Radiohead? Who knows...
And if you can't wait until May, you don't have to worry about going insane or being a pirate to hear new material from some of the artists listed above. There's been some new music leaked this week on the blogs that have paid staff members. Here's what we've gathered. Enjoy the fresh tunes:

From: Stereogum
From: Pitchfork

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Work In Progress... New Look Of NMTM

The blog looks a little different, right? Blogger doesn't give us many options, as this is free software. I just got fed up with YouTube videos cutting off our text. So right now things may look a little off-centered or in weird positions, but rest assured, we're on the case to make this page look better than ever. Hang in there with us.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 19, 2010 (Playlist)

March 19, 2010 (Playlist):
"Our Fortieth Show!"

Cold War Kids – Santa Ana Winds
Guided By Voices – The Best Of Jill Hives
She & Him – In The Sun
Neko Case – Red Tide
Gorillaz – Rhinestone Eyes
Broken Bells – Vaporize
Josh Ritter – Change Of Time
Hunters & Collectors – Throw Your Arms Around Me
Fionn Regan – Coat Hook
*"The Mighty Mighty Boss-Tune": Bruce Springsteen – Loose Ends
Teo Leo & The Pharmacists – The Mighty Sparrow
Paul Westerberg – Love You In The Fall

Big Star – Thirteen
Meat Puppets – Served Goddess Hand
The National – Terrible Love (Live)
*"Allen Reed Memorial Cover Of The Week": The Autumn Defense – Paradise (Miracle Legion Cover)
*"Punk Trunk!": Titus Andronicus – Titus Andronicus Forever
*"Punk Trunk!": Dropkick Murphys – God Willing
The Tallest Man On Earth – Burden Of Tomorrow
Motion City Soundtrack – Disappear
Echo & The Bunnymen – Lips Like Sugar (Live)
The Strokes – Reptilia
The Church – Another Earth

*Background music consisted of various cult classic tunes from the 1980s. They ranged from The Cure to New Order, from cheesy to epic, covering multiple genres.

Once again, NMTM proves its commanding validity by bringing new music to the masses, even on a medium like college radio. This week, the rock 'n' roll duo of Jim Adair and myself (but more Jim) spun a profusion of new tunes from some of the biggest names in the game: Cold War Kids, She & Him, Gorillaz, Broken Bells, Fionn Regan, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, and much more. Older numbers had a strong showing, too: Hunters & Collectors, Meat Puppets, Echo & The Bunnymen, and The Church. We also felt it appropriate to honor a rock legend who passed away this week, Alex Chilton of The Box Tops, Big Star, and himself as a solo artist. Thank you for your years of great music, Mr. Chilton. Our return to the airwaves from Spring Break proved righteous to our fans, despite the beautiful northeastern weather that was calling so many of us away from our radios. Spring is now in session. Next week, Jim's got the show to himself for the first hour while I attend to a few graduation-required comprehensive exams. Weak. But we'll reunite for hour two and really kill it as we finish up the final show of March. Tune in next week for another great set.

She & Him - "In The Sun"

The National - "Terrible Love"

Echo & The Bunnymen - "Lips Like Sugar"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tomorrow Night - NMTM Hits 40!

The two stars of 88.3 FM KUR's Never Mind the Mainstream, Jim Adair and myself, have returned to the airwaves after a two week hiatus. We both survived separate Spring Break adventures to host NMTM once again. The vacation was much deserved, but now it's back to business. This week, we're celebrating 2010 with some new tunes from some of the year's greatest albums thus far. And trust me, there have already been some monumental records released in the last couple of months. Tune in to hear new singles from Cold War Kids, She & Him, Gorillaz, Broken Bells, and much more in the line-up throughout the show. Also, did anyone ask for some classic jangle pop jams? Well, we've got 'em. Guided By Voices, Hunters & Collectors, Meat Puppets, and The Church make their way onto the show tomorrow night. Along with that solid mix, we'll have our usual specials and segments, like the "Allen Reed Memorial Cover Of The Week", the "Mighty Mighty Boss-Tune", and the "Punk Trunk!". Do not miss our grand return to afternoon drive radio only on college radio. Tune in from 6-8 PM ET online @ Call into the studio line at (610)-683-4058 or IM us on AOL Instant Messenger at KURRequest. Catch you then, fans.

Hunters & Collectors - "Throw Your Arms Around Me"

R.I.P. Alex Chilton

Alex Chilton (1950 - 2010)

If he was from Venus, would he feed us with a spoon?
If he was from Mars, wouldn't that be cool?
Standing right on campus, would he stamp us in a file?
Hangin' down in Memphis all the while

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round
They sing "I'm in love. What's that song? I'm in love with that sound."

Cerebral rape and pillage in a village of his choice.
Invisible man who can sing in a visible voice.
Feeling like a hundred bucks, exchanging good lucks face to face.
Checkin' his stash by the trash at St. Mark's place.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round
They sing "I'm in love. What's that song? I'm in love with that sound."

I never travel far, without a little Big Star.

Runnin' 'round the house, Mickey Mouse and the Tarot cards.
Falling asleep with a flop pop video on.
If he was from Venus, would he meet us on the moon?
If he died in Memphis, then that'd be cool, babe.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round
They sing "I'm in love. What's that song? I'm in love with that sound." - The Replacements ("Alex Chilton")

Big Star - "September Gurls"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NMTM Returns From Holiday!

Ladies and gentlemen, Jim and I have returned to Kutztown from our Spring Break adventure. Don't expect me to go into detail about all the shenanigans that went down in the tropical island of Aruba for my family and me last week. You'll hear enough of our family vacation during the show this Friday. Jim has some vacation stories as well. You won't want to miss our recap.

I'll admit, it felt great to get away for a while, although it was an absolute killer being away from my computer for so long. You don't know what you have until it's gone. In short, the more prestigious music blogs are blowing up with new music-related posts. Apparently May is going to be a great month of releases. The Hold Steady, The National, and Tokyo Police Club are just a few
Never Mind the Mainstream favorites set to drop new albums. We're crossing our fingers for Arcade Fire and Radiohead for spring releases, too.

Though this is exciting, May also signals the end of our college radio program. Can you believe it's almost been two full years? Let's not think about all this until April.

Anyway, what else do I have to say? I'm virtually broke from paying for my June Bonnaroo trip in advance. I'm also swamped with schoolwork, internship possibilities, and my future in the world of radio, which I'm still optimistic about. For now, I'm taking everything one day at a time to avoid stress overload. I think I'm doing a good job so far.

On a brighter note, Jim and I got word that we may have a special page in this year's yearbook dedicated to us. A friend of ours and fellow English/Professional Writing major, Dan, wrote a piece on our show (and our friendship) that could very well make it into the book. We'll keep you updated.

On that note, I need to call it a night. I've been e-mailing professors and employers all day. I also somehow forced out a six and a half page midterm paper in one hour. It's time to relax. We got a show preview coming up tomorrow on the blog in between our St. Patrick's Day booze fest, so keep it here, as always, on NMTM.
I'll give you a hint: Jim's got practically all new tunes to spin and I've got a hefty supply of jangle pop surprises to unload onto the airwaves. It feels good to be back. Catch you all Friday, 6-8 PM ET on

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring Break 2010!

No show tomorrow, folks. Jim and myself, along with the rest of the Kutztown University student body, are on Spring Break. We will be out for two weeks. Doesn't that suck? Well, we'll enjoy our break from broadcasting (for a little while at least) and we hope you enjoy your vacation as well. We're back LIVE on March 19th, so be sure to tune in then.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

PMJ Reviews (So Far)

I must say, I'm enjoying Kutztown University's first-ever Pop Music Journalism class a lot. It concludes my busy Tuesday/Thursday schedule and it always ends on a high note. We're learning a lot about the trade and we've got one of the coolest and smartest professors around showing us the ropes. So far we've been reading a ton of articles, having great conversations, and have submitted two pieces: a song review and an album review. Jim and I are both doing pretty well in the course so far. Would you expect any less? All kidding aside, it struck me on my walk home today that it'd be fun to share our work on this blog. So check it out, here's my first piece: song review of Vampire Weekend's "Diplomat's Son".

Short 1: Vampire Weekend’s “Diplomat’s Son” (2010)

By Mike Pop

Vampire Weekend’s second studio album, Contra, has seen some surprises in its early public life: it prompted an MTV Unplugged session, sought critical acclaim from blogs and zines alike, and reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart on January 20th, a distinguished feat for a band on an indie label (XL). The album features an array of ten breezy, pop tunes, but for those who reminiscent of punk rock’s iconic history and youthful escapades, behold the penultimate track, “Diplomat’s Son”, a mere 6-minute ode to boarding school scandals and the late Clash front man Joe Strummer. The song does not acquire the stereotypical three chord guitar riffs and unifying, anti-oppression punk themes; however, it does do well to praise a man who saw the world from his own eyes in the 1970s and wrote stories that rallied a generation of disgruntled lads (later to be labeled punks).

The tune opens with an arrangement of springtime strings, “cha-cha’s”, and a steady, undemanding drum beat. It comes to an arrest when front man/guitarist Ezra Koenig begins with a sobering introduction, accompanied by striking keyboards: “It's not right / But it's now or never / And if I wait / Could I ever forgive myself?” About a minute into the piece, Ezra enacts his plan: “Cause I'm gonna cut it where I can / And then I'm gonna duck out behind them / If I ever had a chance it's now.” The song quickly bounces into a calm, cool, never-say die agenda and an apparent successful drug-fueled night with an associate. The song hits its climax when Ezra takes Joe’s place and recalls a distinctive teenage night for the punk figurehead: “That night I smoked a joint / my best friend we found ourselves in bed / when I woke up he was gone”. Joe Strummer was the son of an English diplomat and the Clash were riding the popularity wave in ’81, with their album Sandinista!.

In the end, are we positive we accompanied a hooligan on a heist? A gamble? A crime of passion? All scenarios seem to fit the lyrics as the song’s protagonist recalls that satisfying sense of accomplishment in the tracks final moments: “Looking out at the ice cold water all around me / I can't feel any traces of that other place / In the dark when the wind comes racing off the river / There's a car all black with diplomatic plates.” His high jinks either ended with a chilly escape or the shit indeed hit the fan. Either way, it’s accepting the diplomatic conclusion that whatever the outcome of the disreputable event, just or unlawful, the adventure was worth a story. The song captures a shining moment for not only Strummer’s legacy, but for Vampire Weekend’s ability to pay homage to influence and experience.

Short 2: R.E.M.’s Live At The Olympia (October 27, 2009)
By Mike Pop

“This is not a show, this is not a show,” declares front-man Michael Stipe through his megaphone to the mass audience at Dublin’s Oylmpia Theater on one of the night rehearsals between June 30 and July 5, 2007. The 2007 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee is correct; the series of performances is what R.E.M. calls a testing ground for new songs and revved up relics. Before the crowd can react to such a statement, the band ignites with what would be the lead track off their 2008, return-to-form record Accelerate: “Living Well Is The Best Revenge.” From the first riff on Peter Buck’s twanging Rickenbacker guitar, the band welcomes you to one energetic evening of jangling alternative rock.

The entire set was recorded and released as Live At The Olympia, R.E.M.’s second live album in two years and it contains a whopping 39 songs. For many years, the band was not keen to releasing live records, but after 30 years of touring the world and selling millions of albums, the band collectively decided to introduce listeners to the live R.E.M sound.

The show introduced the crowd to a company of new songs that would appear on the band’s most recent effort, Accelerate: “Man-Sized Wreath,” “Horse To Water,” “I’m Gonna DJ,” among others. The band also experimented with two songs that did not make the final cut on the album, but have been played during tours since: “Staring Down The Barrel Of The Middle Distance” and “On The Fly”.

The record shows this influential rock band acting as inventive and unrestricted as they were when they were signed to the independent label, I.R.S., in the early to mid-1980s. This is because the band communicates directly with members of the audience and plays deep tracks from records that were recorded over 25 years ago. Such artifacts include “Letter Never Sent (1984),” “Sitting Still (1983)”, and “Gardening At Night (1982). The band’s sound is amplified in live form and Stipe’s vocals come in as clear as they do in studio recordings. Along with bassist Mike Mills’ and touring drummer Bill Rieflin’s vibrant rhythm section and Peter Buck guitar-plucking chime, each one of the 39 tracks captures a divine group effort that has reached its zenith after decades of collaboration and ingenuity.

R.E.M. has put in enough years as megastars and has grown on their own terms in the demanding music industry to do as they please, even if that means resorting back to older styles of performing or releasing live records. Any admirer of R.E.M., young or old, will unearth tunes to enjoy and reminisce in with this exceptional recording.