WTSC 91.1 The North Country’s only source of Alternative music…


The grayness of winter in Potsdam was soul sucking. For weeks on end the sun had not penetrated through the woolly clouds. Every morning the snow would materialize, and settle on the surfaces of everything, leaving behind a fine coating of dust. It was never enough to plow, or even consider as a snowfall, but it kept the sidewalks, and roads in a state of perpetual slush. We tramped back and forth from the dorms to class in our boots, slipping, and squishing through the gray muck, tracking salt into the building until the hallways were crunchy. By mid February I was ready to slit my wrists.

I was living like a hermit, holed up in my room, only taking breaks from my studying to eat, or nap. Music was my only escape. I spent every waking moment in my room, listening to tapes and CD’s. Once a week I trudged through the snow to the campus radio station, where I worked an 11 – 2am shift as a D.J. Sitting in the basement studio I’d flip through the stacks of vinyl in the archives, or the new releases in the red file, and spend 3 magical hours exploring the wondrous world of mid-80’s alternative music.

I had no girlfriend. I had no beer money. I had very little to break the monotony of my ascetic life. If I hadn’t have had music I’d have most likely walked out onto the frozen river, and chopped a hole in the ice to drown myself.

So it comes as no surprise, that when winter in Minnesota turns into a Bataan Death March to spring, I turn to music to sooth my aching soul. For the past few months I have been scraping up my spare change, and spending the occasional lunch hour flipping through the used CD bins at a nearby head shop. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis, maybe it’s a 2nd adolescence, but whatever the reason I feel a burning desire to listen to 80’s post punk music.

So today I give you a virtual mix tape of tunes to get you through the day. Put the headphones on, and turn the volume up to eleven.

It’s time to rawk!

fIREHOSE – Relatin Dudes to Jazz

Lime Spiders – Slave Girl

Sonic Youth – Teenage Riot

Big Dipper – Faith Healer

The Connells – Scotty’s Lament

Superchunk – Hyper Enough

The Feelies – Away

Guadalcanal Diary – Watusi Rodeo

Hoodoo Guru’s – Tojo

Throwing Muses – Counting Backwards

REM – So. Central Rain

The Jam – That’s Entertainment

The Smiths – The Queen is Dead

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Peek-a-boo

Echo & The Bunnymen – Killing Moon

The Joy Division – Love will tear us apart

House of Love – Christine

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27 thoughts on “WTSC 91.1 The North Country’s only source of Alternative music…

  1. Did you just give props to an obscure NC band? Prepare to have your face humped. Also I’m pretty sure you meant to list your sonic youth selection as Dirty Boots…seeing as how it’s the best rock song of all time. The end.

    • PPFFFFF!!!!!!!!

      (wipes coffee from computer monitor)

      I saw the Connells at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas in 1992. Awesome show. I wonder whatever became of them.

      Or were you talking about Superchunk? The Connells were from Raleigh, and Superchunk was Chapel Hill right?

      • Best. Rock. Song. Ever.

        I meant The Connells ’cause I felt like Superchunk at least had a little following outside of NC. I had no idea anyone outside of NC had the slightest idea who the Connells were. I could One Simple Word all day long.

        • I did Superchunk, and by did I don’t mean on my knees. Superchunk graced my beloved CD wall.
          Also, Sonic Youth made my head explode in the most delightful of ways.
          That is all I can write today because my head is on fire and snot is flying out of my nose.

        • I think I still have my cassette tape of Goo somewhere in the basement. Of course, I no longer have a cassette player. Or a record player.

          And as I mentioned once, I am clinging desperately to compact discs as I don’t trust iTunes, or Steve Jobs and his black mock turtleneck.

          Goo sounds like a wonderful name for the love child of Herbert and Ithabella.

    • Speaking of obscure N.C. music from the 80’s, do you remember Mitch Easter’s Let’s Active, or his Drive In Studio in Winston-Salem where just about every jangle pop band worth mentioning recorded at one time or another?

  2. Geez! As if I didn’t feel common on the interweb already! The only one of these I know i Peek-a-boo!

    Ironic you bring this up because our 80’s and 90’s hit station in Houston currently changed to an 80’s Alternative station. MadamBob and I didn’t even know there WERE alternative artists in the 80’s!

    Man I feel vanilla. No sprinkles.

  3. I am so fortunate to have WBER 90.5 in Rochester. The songs from REM down are are in regular rotation. (But not the last by House of Love.)

    • I used to hate the fact that the WBER signal died in Byron-Bergen. Once you got to B-town the crappy GCC Metalhead station drowned out their signal.

    • CFNY out of Toronto used to be awesome too back when they were open format. Then they went all commercial “Modern Rock” during the 90’s and sucked it hard. Damn Canadians ruin everything. WHEN IS TIM HORTONS COMING TO MINNESOTA!!!!!!!!

  4. I was just talking to Chris from Culture Brats about REM and how we can’t get behind the newer stuff.
    He broke up with them after Green, I waited until Automatic For the People to send them packing.
    Murmur still brings me back to a place I can’t even explain.
    Also, Throwing Muses Kristen Hirsh and Tanya Donnelly were always on my tops list.
    but nothing puts me over the top like Paul Weller belting out “that’s entertainment” with me while I drive.

    Don’t forget The The’s Mind Bomb and Dusk albums along with PJ Harvey. OH also! Robyn Hitchcock, Ballon MAN!!

    • I think REM lost me with that “Shiny Crappy People” song. I used to be HUGE into REM, but the attraction quickly faded when we began to understand Michael Stipe. Now we can’t get him to shut up.

      Whenever I fly somewhere and have to board a plane using the stairs, I always think of “That’s Entertainment” and Sticky-black-a-tarmac…” Makes me want to start saying things like “petrol” and talking in a British accent.

  5. When I listen to songs, I never listen to the lyrics (hello, foreigner here!) I can never remember the names or the singer or the lyrics. So it is always like this: Do you know that song? What song? You know the one that sounds like this? {humming offkey] What I have no idea you are talking about! Then inadvertently the song I was thinking of was something extremely popular.

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