Top of the Pops
Last year was huge for British pop, on a critical, if not commercial, level. Elastica, P J Harvey, Tricky, Supergrass, and Oasis crossed over to these shores, while lesser-knowns like the Tindersticks and Goldie still made a mark. On Jan. 13, Britpop, KUSF's new weekly program (Saturdays, 3 p.m., 90.3 FM), will highlight the "Best of 1995" as selected by host Andrew Goodwin. An associate professor of communications at USF, Goodwin says Britpop was inspired by his enthusiasm for the "holy trinity" of Blur, Pulp, and Oasis. "I'm also trying to broaden Britpop discourse so that it's more than a fad," Goodwin says. "And as I thought about what the phenomenon means, I began to feel sorry for bands like Stone Roses, Suede, and St. Etienne who made all that great music and weren't really part of the genre. I wondered what the 'Brit' in 'Britpop' means, and how it could become more inclusive -- what about dance music, what about bhangra, what about reggae, or Celtic and Irish musics and their relation to pop?" In order to put things in a historical context, Goodwin will also spin new wave, glam rock, and '60s groups -- and give artists' chart positions. "These new acts have wars over them instead of pretending not to care. Britpop will be the only show on KUSF to remark on chart positions as a matter of course," Goodwin laughs. "And we've yet to find out whether I'll make a DJ -- the jury is still out."
In other radio news, just at a time when the West Coast is closing ranks to rally around its overlooked rap and hip-hop talent, KMEL's Westside Radio is attracting even more attention to the Bay Area's massive scene. The brainchild of KMEL's street music coordinator, Alex Mejia, the Friday night show (106.1 FM) is essentially a two-hour musical trip through the history of local and West Coast rap. But what makes this program stand out are the weekly celebrity hosts. Barely out of its first month, Westside Radio has already attracted superstars and legends, from Ice Cube to L.A. Dream Team to Cypress Hill (which lived up to its reputation: The infamously pro-pot group has gone down in KMEL history for unwittingly ending the station's long-standing "no smoking in the control room" policy). Due to artist cancellations, no Bay Area artist has served as host as of yet, but stay tuned. On the unda, word has it that a certain former Marin City resident (and Death Row's latest signing) is scheduled to appear.
By Sia Michel, MonGo Nikol