When I was a rebellious tween I had a sick obsession with requesting dark obscure songs on local radio. It made me feel ‘edgy’ and ‘understood’. I knew such grim tunes would never hit the airwaves but I got a contact high thinking I could convince Top 40 stations to play PiL, Belly, Kate Bush, Siouxie and The Banshees or The Cure. For some reason, disc jockeys fed my addiction, stating they’d play my picks. Still, I’d wait for hours, never to hear a single angst-ridden note, often going to bed feeling blue.
In time, I learned radio stations weren’t going to play the music I liked. Therefore I staged an uprising, making up fake bands just to get a rise out of any DJ brave enough to answer the phone.
“Hey, can you play ‘Ga Ga Goo Goo’ by The Dirty Diapers?” I’d ask.
“Yeah man! We’ll get that on!”
“Awesome! Can you also play ‘You Suck’ by I Despise You?”
“Sure thing dude.”
I believe this is when being a smart-ass became a passion of mine. In essence, I blame Top 40 radio for the demise of my innocence. However, I also credit it with forcing me to dig deeper, finding alternative ways to discover music that falls left of center.
Today, I feel lucky to find such tunes on local radio (WSLR 96.5 FM) under the guise INDIE-Licious. Host Ed Midler, the local wiz-kid behind Sarasota Music Scene, has recently taken over the show, spinning indie tunes old and new, catchy and kitschy. What’s great about the playlist is Midler encourages listeners to weigh in on what they’d like to hear. It’s not rare for him to change the selections based on call-ins and INDIE-Licious Facebook requests. Last week, I asked Midler to play ‘Neptune’ by Lemonade, and 15 minutes later it was beaming over the radio as I cleaned off the dinner table. It was the musical interaction I’d always sought after as a youth.
Past INDIE-Licious playlists include songs by indie favorites like Grimes, Girl in a Coma, Phantogram, and Xiu Xiu. Local bands like Cats in The Basement, Completely From Mountains, and Fancy Rat have also been featured.
What I find fascinating is how the show plays like a soundtrack to Midler’s eternal quest to find a new sound or artist on the cusp of something great. He doesn’t play favorites, inviting everyone from dubstep to chillwave to folk to neo-psychedelic artists along for the ride. With INDIE-Licious, Midler creates an intimate FM experience in an age when communication is becoming less and less personal. Plus, Midler always manages to resurrect an underrated killer ‘flashback’ tune: something that will have 80s and 90s music fans yearning for MTV’s 120 Minutes or digging up old vinyls for a second listen. In sum, yes, Midler’s show is great fun and his music knowledge is impressive. Still, I plan to give him a run for his money during the next segment.
“Hey Eddie! Can you play ‘Eat Shit!’ by The Butt-Munchers?”
The problem is I think he’d find a way to do it.
Hosted By Ed Midler
Alternating Tuesdays 9-11pm.