Could Peel’s death signal a radio revolution?

January 2005

A view to how a viable shift in perspective could ensure the perceived musical ‘mainstream’ is altered to correspond more correctly with pure listener preference/An illustration of how ‘hot tips for [insert year here]’, or even the ‘top __’ might look in the future.

The only positive to emerge from the death of a pioneer is that the practices or opinions of the deceased occasionally receive long-awaited recognition. Following the loss of John Peel, it is feasible that radio controllers will pay a tad more attention to bands that have previously been denied airplay (or at least airplay during the nation’s waking hours).

Popularity, borne out of fashionability, inevitably dictates transmission schedules. The departure of a mainstream radio DJ, who exuded such a unique outlook, might just serve as the required catalyst to initiate a redressing of the musical balance. This, exacerbated by the staggering i-Pod explosion, which essentially permits access to bands of unlimited diversity and obscurity, could see previous top 40-only advocates behold a whole new auditory world. The demise of singles, and the rise of the ‘download chart’ will act as a barometer, measuring the shift in consumer outlook.

The Participants

Should the revolution take more than a year to bear fruit, however, the following bands are now presented as a tantalising foretaste of the radio play of the future. See the following list not as a prophecy, but as a window of opportunity…

Fragility at its finest can be found in the form of the heart-breaking Jeniferever. ‘Iris’, their four-track e.p., (virtually an album at nearly 40 minutes), serves to illustrate the true potential of this Swedish band. The resonance of this five-piece is so gentle you wonder if they’ll break, yet climaxing with so forceful a furore, they snatch away the listener’s initial position of power.

Ludes sound like the Rolling Stones if they’d grow up listening to the Clash. Then, in trying to imitate, forgot what both sounded like. In a good way. Last year’s single, (fraught with a rhythm so rampant you just had to dance!), whet the aural appetite in preparation for their debut long-player, to be released in the summer.

Having recently released ‘Retreat! Retreat!’, the Peel- tipped 65 Days of Static look set to stop at Exeter Cavern on 19th February. The fact that they originally formed to write film music gives a clue to the epic proportions of the soundscape they conjure.

In outlook, if perhaps not in musical style, the desperately passionate Jetplane Landing lead the field in the musical mutiny against mainstream radio’s top-40 ethos. Having recently released a 23-track ‘single’, the Irish rockers (incidentally, about as dissimilar to U2 as a piece of bread and a bee), are gaining a substantial degree of publicity on the back of their staggering live shows. Expect a new album towards the end of the year.

Perhaps sooner than we think, bands like these will adorn the airwaves because of their musical quality, not because of the quality of their PR-hype. But until then, enjoy…

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