Radio Days — Then and Now: September 5, 2021

This series of posts covers my long, beloved history interacting with the medium of radio, including the music that flowed through the airwaves.

Not long ago, I eagerly thrust my hand skyward in response to my pal’s call for a volunteer to serve as substitute DJ for his Sunday night radio show during Labor Day Weekend. When I made this commitment, I had no idea the shift would come at the end of a particularly trying, emotionally exhausting week. That circumstance didn’t make the show a burden. Quite the opposite is true. Nothing rejuvenates me — nothing feels nurturing, safe, healing — quite like spending time in the broadcast booth of WWSP-90FM, my college radio alma mater. I’m grateful the students open their doors and airwaves to me.

For last night’s show, it was time spent at a different college radio station that was on my mind. Twenty years ago, we loaded up the truck and we moved to Florida. I got a job as the general manager and staff advisor to student-run radio station WPRK-FM, at Rollins College. It was a gift. Among many other enduring benefits of the position, I became reacquainted with the wondrous music — dynamic, obscure, challenging, and ingenious — that filled playlists on the left end of the dial. It hasn’t been all that long since I’d been an undergraduate student eagerly flipping through new releases, and yet so much felt revolutionarily different. I recommitted myself to staying current, which I’ve done, more or less, ever since. I celebrated that experience. Except for one blunder (see if you can spot it!), every track I played last night was from an album celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year.

For posterity’s sake, and my own record-keeping, this is my playlist from Then and Now on September 5, 2021:

New End Original, “Lukewarm”
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, “Dial Up”
Guided by Voices, “Chasing Heather Crazy”
The White Stripes, “I Think I Smell a Rat”
Pulp, “Sunrise”
Metric, “Hardwire”
The Shins, “Caring is Creepy”
New Order, “Primitive Notion”
Dylan Hicks, “All the Rock Star Jobs are Taken”
Ani Difranco, “OK”
Built to Spill, “The Weather”
Pete Yorn, “Strange Condition”
Cry Baby Cry, “The Last Days of Tarzan the Ape Man”

Modest Mouse, “Night on the Sun”
The Faint, “Glass Dance”
Superchunk, “Florida’s on Fire”
Lucinda Williams, “Get Right with God”
Paul Weller, “Town Called Malice”
Radiohead, “Knives Out”
Firewater, “Psychopharmacology”
The National, “American Mary”
The Billy Nayer Show, “Hey Boy”
Ladytron, “He Took Her to a Movie”
Gorillaz, “Tomorrow Comes Today”
Suzanne Vega, “Solitaire”
Jimmy Eat World, “The Middle”
Ultrababy Fat, “Bored in Paris”
Jonathan Richman “Give Paris One More Chance”

The Strokes, “The Modern Age”
The Actual Tigers, “Standing By”
Ben Folds, “Annie Waits”
Spoon, “The Fitted Shirt”
Beulah, “Gene Autry”
Zero 7, “In the Waiting Line”
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “Love Burns”
Stereolab, “Hallucinex”
Le Tigre, “Much Finer”
Remy Zero, “Save Me”
Death Cab for Cutie, “Why You’d Want to Live Here”
Rival Schools, “The Switch”
Old 97s, “King of All the World”
Pinback, “XIY”
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow”

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Radio Days” tag.

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