It’s almost too easy to keep up on new music while working in college radio. Whether working directly with the music as part of the leadership staff or sitting in the air chair on a regular basis, the great discoveries just keep on coming. Checking the mail is like rooting through Santa’s bag and scanning the new releases shelf could upend even the most meticulously planned playlist. Sometimes all it took was a crazily wonderful album cover to crack open the door to entire new worlds. It gets so much harder after graduation (or some other adjustment) necessitates moving on from the incubator of audio coolness. That was especially the case when I got my diploma in the mid-nineteen-nineties.
Having been an fairly ineffective music explorer before my college radio years, I knew full well the dangers of losing track of the new, getting mired in constant celebration of only the performers I already knew. I tried a lot of different tricks to keep up to date, including haunting the radio station with a regular on-air shift. Luckily for me, there was an especially handy resource that arrived at just about the time I really needed it.
Throughout my student years, I greatly valued CMJ New Music Report, the weekly trade journal devoted to college radio. In 1993, the same year I graduated, they launched a monthly magazine meant for newsstands which included a mix CD nestled inside of it. Immediately recognizable as a close relation of the Certain Damage compilations that occasionally arrived with the weekly publication, the discs took on a whole new level of import to me, given my new status. The Certain Damage CDs were a nice supplement to the landslide of new music we already had at the station, but the New Music Report counterparts were like a lifeline, a way to actually put that music in my hands again. Over the years, there were a lot of albums that I bought because I sparked to the single offering on the CMJ disc, and there were even more that I almost felt like I owned just because I had a little piece of them.
One of the songs that I know I discovered through that method was “Sorry Again” by Velocity Girl. Here was a prime example of a band that I returned to often enough when they had an album in rotation (in their case, that didn’t happen until my last semester), but couldn’t necessarily stretch my modest music-buying budget far enough to add their release to my personal collection. So at least feeling like I could include a prime single–and a damn good one at that–in my own heavy rotation for a while was a fine blessing. I may have been slowly receding from my place in college radio, but I was happy to have means to keep some of my former life’s musical variety in place at home.
(Disclaimer: As far as I can tell–although my research was even more lax than usual this week–Velocity Girl’s Simpatico, home to this song, is out of print. Maybe it can be bought digitally, but that won’t provide any dollars to the the hard-working proprietor of your favorite local, independently-owned record store. Still, I’m not trying to violate the copyright of anyone if it causes them great distress, so I’ll gladly and promptly remove this track from this corner of the interweb if I’m asked by someone with due authority to make such a request.)