Slow And Steady!





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By: Michael D. Vogel

© January 3, 2009. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved. 

Published in:

Radio & Records magazineJanuary 16, 2009


By all accounts, 2008 was a good year for The Airborne Toxic Event. They have become the darlings of Los Angeles press and radio and fixtures on the Southern California music scene. Their songs feature wide, sweeping hooks, garnering comparisons to Modest Mouse and Arcade Fire as well as the Clash and U2. The acts self-titled debut album—the band’s name is from the postmodern novel “White Noise” by Don DeLillo—is co-produced by Pete Min (Longwave, Ivy).

Alternative radio picked up the buzz on the band. The album’s lead track, “Sometime Around Midnight,” started receiving airplay from CBS Radio’s KROQ and Entravision’s KDLD/KDLE (Indie 103) in Los Angeles, CBS Radio’s KITS (Live 105)/San Francisco and Finest City’s XTRA (91X)/San Diego long before Airborne had a record deal. “The response to Airborne’s music has been undeniable from the first time we saw them.” says Garson Foos, President of Shout! Factory. “They’re an incredible live act, the album is really strong from start to finish, and they have a “magic” song in “Sometime Around Midnight.” They are a very intelligent, levelheaded group of people and our goals and approach were aligned from the first time we met. Frankly, we were thrilled and a little surprised that they signed with us given the major label offers they had, but it’s reflective of their authenticity and belief in them selves. It’s a true partnership from the structure of the deal to the decision-making and strategy. We did not insist on rights in areas where we don’t have expertise, so it’s far from a 360 deal. This partnered approach and our mutual belief in Airborne’s music have led to a long, sustained campaign that six months in is gaining momentum around the world.”

These Los Angeles natives have been getting airplay since early 2008, while the official impact date wasn’t until mid-July. “Sometime Around Midnight” has already amassed over 10,000 spins and is currently sitting at #14*, with a gain of 54 spins on 32 Alternative monitored BDS stations. With those kinds of numbers backing you up, its no wonder Airborne is poised to crack the elusive Top 10 marker at Alternative monitored radio, 20+ weeks after its chart debut.

Airborne’s success is not strictly West Coast based either. The lead track has been New & Active at Canadian rock Radio for the past few weeks. In addition WFNX /Boston, MA has gotten #1 call out – 7 Months after first playing it!  Keith Dakin, ‘FNX Program Director attests “Airborne Toxic Event has been one of the surprise WFNX success stories of the year. Former FNX PD Max Tolkoff turned us onto the band and we’ve basically had it in power ever since. We approaching 800 spins and our research is Top 5 with no burn. It’s the Silversun Pickups “Lazy Eye” of 2008.”

Whether it is the radio support that has fueled album sales or vice-versa, the album which was released in mid-August, has consistently been selling 1,000 pieces a week. In addition, MTV2, MTVU and VH1 have all added the video and has been recently moved into the Elite 8 at MTV2. Yahoo! chose them for ‘Who’s Next’ as well as appearances on Conan and Carson Daly in this past July and August. Their track “Gasoline” was used in various summer Olympic 2008 television spots. They are also part of the NBC ‘Chime In’ commercial spot that will also be airing nationally. They are also on the front of the iTunes Alternative page under ‘Rising Artist.’ “The great thing about the ‘demise’ of the record industry in the past five years is that it has opened up distribution channels to independent artists: radio, the internet, et cetera. Since nobody knows what the rules are anymore, there’s a chance for good music from any source to rise to the top. It’s the silver lining in this cloud, the shiny gold coin in the post-apocalyptic rubble of corporate rock,” proclaims Mikel Jollett of The Airborne Toxic Event. ^m^

Photograph credit: Kristi Sparrow


Vital Statistics:

Line-Up:                                                           Origin:

Mikel Jollett – Vocals & Guitar                 Los Angeles, CA

Steven Chen – Guitars & Keys

Anna Bulbrook – Violin & Keys

Noah Harmon – Bass

Daren Taylor – Drums

About The Current CD:

The self-titled album is the band’s debut. Prior to their release on Shout! Factory, the band had only released a limited edition EP and a handful of tracks on iTunes, helping to prime their rabid fan base for their label unveiling.


The Airborne Toxic Event (Major Domo/Shout! Factory/Island Def Jam, 2008)                       

Produced By:

Pete Min  & The Airborne Toxic Event


Major Domo/Shout! Factory/Island Def Jam

How Label Deal Came About:

From the opening bidding war, The Airborne Toxic Event has been nothing short of a hot commodity. Shout! Factory, known for, as its bio states, ‘unleashing an ungodly number of music compilations, retro-TV re-issues and a few movies of dubious distinction on an unsuspecting public’ became the little label that could, outbidding several majors in signing The Airborne Toxic Event. Initially releasing their debut via Majordomo (an imprint of Shout! Factory) in 2008, the band was later up-streamed to Island Records in 2009.



© January 3, 2009. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved. This originally appeared on the Vogelism blog at authored by Michael D. Vogel. This article may be shared or reprinted as long as the entire copyright message, including the source location of this article, accompanies it.


One Response so far.

  1. 2011 Happy New Year! Thnx so much for this! I havent been this moved by a post for a long period of time! You have got it, whatever that means in blogging. Anyway, You are definitely someone that has something to say that people need to hear. Keep up the outstanding work. Keep on inspiring the people!

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