Mix Tape Friday: I Was 99X
This morning marks a sad moment for the Atlanta airwaves: 99X, our commercial alternative radio station since 1992, loses its terrestrial radio home to its sister Top 40 station. 99X lost its uniqueness and thus lost its listeners.
The station was brilliantly programmed through much of the 1990s. The station is credited for breaking tunes such as The Cranberries’ “Linger” and bands like Silverchair (not a personal fave, but some people like those Down Under kids). As alternative lost its newness, the station veered toward modern rock to capture that 18–30 demographic. Nirvana and Pearl Jam gave way to crap like Incubus and Linkin Park. And so 99X lost loyal listeners like me. Granted, I’m not in a prime demographic. But the kids in my age group aren’t the only ones who quit listening.
For those still interested in listening to the station, 99X will continue to broadcast online.
I can’t help but wonder if 99X would have survived had Leslie Fram paid attention to my shouts in the car and added more indie bands to the playlist. There are many radio-friendly indie tunes that would have worked brilliantly on the playlist. Some bands got the chance — Modest Mouse and The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie and Gomez, Flaming Lips and Radiohead. But many deserving bands didn’t. And so today I’m programming the no-longer station with a handful of artists who should have had some 99X airplay during the aughts — and could have saved the station.
Those of you who don’t know these songs — give ‘em a try. Let me know if you would have stayed on the station had these been played.
Belle & Sebastian :: Another Sunny Day
Cherry Ghost :: Alfred the Great
The Whigs :: O.K. Alright
The New Pornographers :: Chump Change
Art Brut :: People in Love
Super Furry Animals :: (Drawing) Rings Around the World
Spoon :: Don’t You Evah
Yo La Tengo :: Mr. Tough
The Pipettes :: Dirty Mind
eels :: Dirty Girl
The Clientele :: Bookshop Casanova
Guided by Voices :: Back to the Lake
Beulah :: My Side of the City
The Minus 5 :: The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply
The National :: Apartment Story
Burning Brides :: Artic Snow
Sonic Youth :: Incinerate
The Detroit Cobras :: (I Wanna Know) What's Going On
The Raveonettes :: Love in a Trashcasn
Sleater-Kinney :: Off With Your Head
Rilo Kiley :: Portions for Foxes
Postal Service :: Such Great Heights
Annie :: Chewing Gum
Of Montreal :: Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games
Bob Mould :: (Shine Your) Light Love Hope
The Rosebuds :: Get up Get Out
Camera Obscura :: If Looks Could Kill
Stephen Malkmus :: Phantasies
Wilco :: Pot Kettle Black
Badly Drawn Boy :: Something to Talk About
Modern Skirts :: September Days
Teddy Thompson :: I Should Get Up
Cat Power :: Aretha, Sing One for Me
The Decemberists :: Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect
Sufjan Stevens :: Chicago
The Thrills :: Deckchairs and Cigarettes
The Twilight Singers :: My Time (Has Come)
Holly Golightly :: Run Cold
Wussy :: Soak It Up
Pernice Brothers :: How to Live Alone
This was a hard list to whittle down to forty. A lot of great bands ended up in the Next Time folder — so whine away in the comments box about your favorite overlooked bands.
What’s particularly frustrating about this list of 99X-denied artists is many are based in or affiliated with Georgia. Chan Marshall of Cat Power is an Atlanta girl and has a house here. The Whigs, Modern Skirts, and Of Montreal call Athens home. Bob Mould spent some time in Athens, and The Minus 5 lineup includes the beloved Peter Buck (with Jeff Tweedy guesting on guitar here). Paste magazine — HQ’ed around the corner from my cozy little home — tapped The National’s The Boxer as 2007’s album of the year. And Scrivener loves Wilco as much as I love R.E.M.
You may recognize the Of Montreal track, but maybe you can’t place from where. They refocused “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” for an Outback commercial.
You may recognize some of these songs from soundtracks. “Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect” was used in an episode of How I Met Your Mother. Badly Drawn Boy did the (brilliant) soundtrack for About a Boy, which includes this track. You hear eels all over the movie palace (“Dirty Girl” hasn’t been used in a movie — that I know of — but it’s this month’s fave for personal reasons).
Give him a listen: Teddy Thompson is the offspring of Richard and Linda Thompson — and one of Rufus Wainwright’s BFFs. Very talented guy, very good album.
Luckily, we’re not quite living in the town that lost its groove supply, thanks to WRAS (my oft-mention alma station) and Dave FM, which plays a mix crossing different genres, including alternative. Dave FM has been known to play Wilco.
* * * * * *