Nick Piunti’s Beyond the Static: A Series of Keenly Observed Glimpses Set to a Pop and Roll Beat

nick-piunti-beyond-the-staticNick Piunti | Beyond the Static | Two Brains Recording Co. | 2015 | A review by Alan Haber

It’s a whiff, or it’s a puff of smoke, or it’s just one of those things, but when the first song on Beyond the Static, Nick Piunti’s smashing followup to last year’s 13 in My Head starts playing, it’s like a there-it-is-now-and-there-it-goes-in-a-flash kind of moment; it’s really just a passing glance of a thing, the brief audio allusion to the beginning of the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” It’s there for only five seconds or so, and it’s a sly reference that may or may not have been intended. Nevertheless, it’s there and it kicks off the proceedings in a pop-meets-rock-and-roll kind of way, and I like it.

The song is “It’s a Trap,” and yes, there is a trap involved in the proceedings–a trap that amounts to a cautionary tale about communication and deception and the ability to know both when you see or hear them. “It’s a rivalry based on make believe, if you take them at their word,” Nick sings. “Just as soon as you’re certain, there’s a lie behind the curtain. It’s the reason you’re still hurting.” It’s a cautionary tale dressed up in power pop clothes.

This is an album of cautionary tales; it’s an album of observations keenly observed, and it pops and it rolls in that order. “Time Machine” warns of the destructive nature of living in the past, of the disappointment that one can feel after peering backward. “I’m not much for memory lane,” the narrator sings. “The stories always sound the same. Never as cool as we thought we were, the pictures now seem so absurd.” It’s a helpful hint that values the here and now over the been there and done that, and it’s delivered as an upbeat tune with a really catchy chorus.

nick-piunti-2Beyond the Static is a series of glimpses that present situations and point to solutions, kind of a pop music version of It’s a Wonderful Life. The lyrics to the powerful “Fell for You” suggest a kind of promissory note at the end of a bad relationship, but it’s only a suggestion: “Yeah, you’ll get what you deserve. Someday, but not today. You’re the one that always gets away.” In the tuneful and melodic “Head in the Clouds,” a relationship walks a fine line between give and take and take and give. “While I burn at both ends you’re just fanning the flames with a bad case of amnesia,” one half of the pair sings. “Well, it’s so hard to believe you.”

Sometimes it’s the person who’s being deceived that can’t see the deception through a heavy cloud. The astounding mid-tempo ballad “Six Bands” tells the story of a person who can’t see the forest for the trees. The girl in question “tries to sing only if she could, but she’s drowning in the talent pool.” “She’s got six friends telling her lies…” The devil is clearly in the details, if only this girl could grasp them. The girl has “six friends counting both hands, broken glass filling up with the sands of time no longer on your side. Will you notice the end of the line?”

Produced with gusto by Piunti and Geoff Michael, and featuring the talents of Chris Richards and Andy Reed of the Legal Matters, Donny Brown, and Ryan Allen (from Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms), Beyond the Static is a grand work of pop art by a musician who is at the top of his powers. Clearly, Piunti has things on his mind; in these songs he expresses his observations brilliantly.

Heavy on guitars and matched at every step by enticing melodies and a beat you can dance to, Beyond the Static is pure pleasure for people who like to bop to the beat and think at the same time. Life’s lessons can be hard, but listening to these terrific songs is easy, and truly rewarding.

Beyond the Static is released on March 14.

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Put Your Hands Together and Meet the Weeklings! Yeah, yeah, yeah!

the-weeklingsThe Weeklings | The Weeklings | Jem Recordings | 2015 | A review by Alan Haber Every red-blooded wannabe rock star gathers his or her tools accordingly: one floor-to-the-ceiling mirror; a tennis racket (real or imagined); hair aplenty (real or imagined); an audience (usually imagined); and a room-busting stereo system to provide the soundtrack to every mother’s son’s transformation from neighborhood lawn mower extraordinaire to working musician with a huge, screaming audience and a rider that makes prominent mention of dishes overflowing with brown M&M’s and red licorice whips tied in the shape of boa knots.

Whether the members of the Weeklings, who draw considerable breath from the sound of the Beatles circa 1963, 1964 and 1965, had their first encounters with try-it-on-and-see-how-they-sparkle rock star outfits and poses is not known. What is known is their collective pedigree: Lefty, who masquerades as recording artist and ace songwriter Glen Burtnik, began his career playing Paul McCartney in the Broadway production of Beatlemania. Zeek, also known as Bob Burger, has performed with McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, co-written songs with Burtnik and played with him in Beatle Bash theater shows. Rocky, aka John Merjave, plays in the house band Liverpool at the Fests for Beatles Fans (as does Burtnik). Ramblin’ Dave, otherwise known as Dave Anthony, makes Ringo Starr’s drumming style come alive when he picks up a pair of drumsticks and begins to bash at his kit.

The-Weeklings-buttonThe Weeklings’ tremendous self-titled, debut album on Jem Recordings–recorded and presented in sweet monophonic sound, as God and nature intended–combines six snazzy and finger-snapping Burtnik-Burger originals, written and performed in the ’63-’65 Fabs style, with another half-dozen songs that Lennon and McCartney gave away. The Lennon and McCartney songs come alive not like Frampton, but as exciting aural calling cards that demonstrate the Weeklings’ retro and shiny beat music sound. The album’s originals all sound as though they were written back in the bygone days of the early-to-mid 1960s, as well they should.

The Weeklings kicks off with the pounding, three-note-into-the-fourth start of the high-energy “Little Tease.” Cheery bop-bop-shu-wahs, a for-the-ages ooh!, energetic vocals, cymbal-heavy percussion, a middle-eight to die for, and a runaway bass line will let loose drops of sweat on your brow, set your feet a-tappin’ and your head a-bobbin’. This is the perfect album opener and introduction to beat music’s new favorite sons.

the-weeklings-drum-headThe easygoing warmth of the mid-tempo toe tapper “Breathing Underwater” spotlights Burtnik and Burger’s more romantic and McCartney-esque sides. “Though we can’t see what’s to come, I know just how it could be,” the Weeklings sing in a song about diving into a relationship head first and surviving through all of the ups and downs. Interestingly, an early breathing-underwater-cassetterecording of this song was broadcast about 18 years ago during a live telephone interview with Burtnik on the original, weekly run of the Pure Pop Radio show (note that on the cassette sent by Burtnik, the “B” in Breathing is the notification of the “B” side of the cassette). A happy cousin to the Beatles’ “Hold Me Tight,” Burtnik and Burger’s driving “Mona Lisa” spirits along as a beat-driven number that begs to be played at an old-fashioned dance party or on the floor of the original Cavern Club.

What is evident is the joy the group projects as they disappear inside these lovingly crafted songs. Burtnik, Burger, Merjave and Anthony play through the Lennon and McCartney covers with heightened spirit and, I’ll bet, wide smiles on their faces. “One and One is Two,” originally released in 1964 by the Strangers with Mike Shannon, is a masterfully rendered, infectious miracle (watch the official video below); “I’m in Love,” the Fourmost’s 1963 top 20-charting record, is given an emotionally-charged reading by the Weeklings with all manner of period-sounding guitar runs. Even “If You’ve Got Trouble,” a Ringo Starr Time number intended for the Help! soundtrack, shines in all its glittery glory in the hands of the Weeklings, with a “Tomorrow Never Knows” foundation and slightly over-modulated guitar lines straight out of the “Ticket to Ride” playbook.

the-weeklings-personnelWith Lefty, Zeek, Rocky and Ramblin’ Dave at the helm of the good ship Weeklings (catch them live at your local music hall!), the 12 songs on this hall-of-fame worthy album pop with maximum pizzazz. It doesn’t get much better than this. So, clap your hands and count ‘em off: one, two, three…fawh!

The Weeklings’ self-titled album drops anywhere and everywhere on March 10.

Watch the Weeklings in the studio in the official video for “One and One is Two”!

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What’s that You Hear? New Songs and Artists Have Been Added to the Pure Pop Radio Playlist!

It was inevitable, of course; we couldn’t possibly go too long without another round of adds to our playlist! Herewith, then, are some of the latest new songs and artists now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

nick-piunti-beyond-the-staticNick Piunti | Beyond the Static Nick Piunti’s smashing followup to last year’s 13 in My Head is another outstanding collection of melodic pop classics sporting great, catchy and hooky choruses and top-notch playing from, among others, Nick, the Legal Matters’ Andy Reed, and music pal Ryan Allen, from Ryan Allen and His Extra Arms. Melodic winners abound, from the oh-so-luscious “Heart Stops Beating” and the gorgeous “Quicksand,” which sports one of this album’s most delectable choruses, to the amazing “Six Bands,” about a gal who’s in “six bands, none of them good.” Hopefully, she realizes that she’s spinning wheels that won’t take her anywhere. Nick’s lead vocals are strong and assured and quite musical. One of the finest albums of this young year, and a surefire candidate for top honors in the best of 2015 sweepstakes. Outstanding stuff.

smith-and-hayesSmith and Hayes | People All Over the World Clay Smith and William Hayes’ third album continues along the sweet, melodic path set by Changed by a Song and Volume II. The duo’s latest musical missive is another mid-to-late period, Beatles-inspired trip down melody lane. We’re playing nine songs from People All Over the World, each one echoing the sound and spirit of John, Paul, George and Ringo and Smith and Hayes: “Slow Down,” “Know It All,” “Didn’t Want to Fall,” “Celebrate My Broken Heart,” “No War Man,” “Don’t Let Your Heart Break,” “Holding On to Love,” “Man in the Moon,” and “Something About Her.” Save a spot in your 2015 best-of list: This one’s a keeper.

joe-sullivanJoe Sullivan | “Cheerleader” Fancy a clever, sweet, power poppy love song? Look no further than this newly-minted charmer from the man behind the glorious Schlock Star, one of our Favorite Albums of 2014. Joe marries a creative approach to lyrics with the ability to almost effortlessly craft a hooky melody and intricate harmonies that sing. Folks, make no mistake: It’s Sullivanmania all over again.

baby-screamBaby Scream | fan, fan, fan and The Worst of… Juan Pablo Mazzola is so full of music that his latest release is a two-for-one, two-album package bursting with melody and harmony-drenched, classic pop songs. To our ears, Juan sounds a bit like Marc Bolan fronting Badfinger, whether he’s playing an original song or a treasured cover; his version of the Scooby Doo theme song is aces. We’re also playing, in rotation, “A Human Being on Mars,” “Everybody Sucks,” “Captain Hook,” “The Girl Next Door,” “Unicorns,” “In a Picture,” “20th Century Baby,” “Cruella De Vil,” and “The Concept.” Rock and pop on with Juan!

wilie-wisely-paradorWillie Wisely | Parador On the occasion of this album’s 10th anniversary, Pure Pop Radio favorite Willie Wisely has released an expanded collection featuring the original song lineup and 12 additional tracks: two unreleased and 10 alternates. The result is a stereoscopic look at a great record in all of its forms. We’ve added nine tracks, including “Too Quick to Love,” “Stayin’ Home Again,” “Altitudes,” “Through Any Window,” “Freestyle,” “Too Quick to Love (Alternate Take),” “Erase Me (Alternate Take),” “Through Any Window (Live),” and an alternate take of the title track. Willie is one of melodic pop music’s biggest talents, and here is the proof.

the-galileo-7-new-singlethe-galileo-7-are-we-having-fun-yetThe Galileo 7 | Are We Having Fun Yet? and Two New Tracks | Armed with a rock and roll attitude and keen pop smarts, the Galileo 7 deliver an enticing vibe that harkens back to the early sound of the Who. Witness songs such as the rocking and popping “Are We Having Fun Yet” and the garage stomper “Mine! Mine! Mine!” With melody and harmony always in hand, the band can take it slow as well as fast, as with the tuneful mid-tempo, cleverly-named ballad “Some Big Boys Did It (and then Ran Away).” In addition to the aforementioned songs, we’re playing three more present and future classics from 2010’s Are We Having Fun Yet?: “The Sandman Turns Away,” “Run Baby Run,” and the pumping “Can’t Resist.” We’re also playing, in rotation, the band’s new single which pairs the Who-like charger “One Lie at a Time” and the rocking “The God of Gaps.” The Galileo 7 has released two albums since Are We Having Fun Yet?; tracks from them are coming soon to our playlist.

the-new-trocaderosThe New Trocaderos | Frenzy in the Hips We’ve been playing four of the six songs on this newly-released EP for awhile. Our thirst for this pop ‘n’ roll super group remains at a fever pitch. Kurt Baker, and Brad Marino and Geoff Palmer from the Connection, create a musical fireball that produces fast and furious, punchy and take-no-prisoners tunes, two of which have been knighted as Coolest Songs in the World by Little Steven’s Underground Garage. Nice! So, exactly which power popping, rock and rolling songs are we spinning in rotation? How about “Money Talks,” “Real Gone Kitty,” “Dream Girl,” “The Kids,” and a hard-hitting power popper, exclusive to this EP, “Luckiest Man in the World.” Breathless fun!

the-explorers-clubThe Explorers Club | All Aboard This five-song EP, recorded live on July 4, 2014 aboard the USS Yorktown in Charleston, South Carolina, shows one of pop music’s best bands in top form, with a punchy horn section in tow. Lovely versions of “Anticipatin’,” “Go for You,” and “Run Run Run,” all from 2012’s Grand Hotel; and delicious, note-perfect versions of the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby” and the Zombies’ “Tell Her No” round out the track list. Now recording a new album, this band proves what so many fans already know: the Explorers Club can do no wrong.

caddy-new-songCaddy | “Wherever You Go” Here is the second new song in less than a month from Caddy’s much anticipated, forthcoming album, The Better End. Caddy, aka Oslo, Norway’s Tomas Dahl, delivers an upbeat pop number with a mega-catchy chorus and a nifty saxophone break. It’s got all of the melodic pop food groups, kids! Sounds so good!

the-earthmenThe Earthmen | College Heart Direct from Australia, this 1990s band gets its due with a lovingly-curated collection of classic cuts and four previously-unreleased, newly-recorded tracks. On the release docket for April 1, we’re spinning five terrific numbers from this album, including the beautiful, building ballad “The Reprise” and the catchy, upbeat “Whoever’s Been Using this Bed.” Also playing: “First Single,” “Personal History,” and “Blue Sky.” A great release from Popboomerang Records.

make-it-beR. Stevie Moore and Jason Falkner | Make It Be The perhaps unlikely pairing of indie legend R. Stevie Moore and popster Jason Falkner delivers a quirky collection of songs, from which we’ve chosen two to feature on Pure Pop Radio: the Godley and Creme-era 10cc-esque “Sincero Amore” and “Play Myself Some Music.”

colmanColman | Play to Lose Produced by the legendary Mitch Easter and mastered by the equally legendary Greg Calbi, this collection mixes pop and elements of Americana to deliver a pleasing set full of melody and a whole lot of warmth. Three songs are spinning in rotation on our air: the single-worthy “Straight Face,” “Swing Low,” and the alluring “Three Chords.”

mothboxer-3-epsMothboxer | “Hope the Light is On” A tasty bonus track appended to the just-released collection of three Mothboxer EPs, “Hope the Light is On” is a re-recorded version of a song originally recorded by Kid Galahad in 2004 (Mothboxer main man Dave Ody was a member). It’s the usual Ody opus: a top-notch melody and gorgeous vocal harmonies married to a catchy melody. It’s true, you know: Dave Ody can do no wrong, and here’s the proof.

That’s the skinny for today. More new adds to our playlist coming next week. Thank you for listening to Pure Pop Radio!

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The Musician’s Opinion #2: The Legal Matters’ Chris Richards, Andy Reed and Keith Klingensmith: Favorite Songs

legal-matters-largeFor the second edition of The Musician’s Opinion, we asked the Legal Matters’ Andy Reed, Chris Richards and Keith Klingensmith to talk about some of their favorite songs. Their choices may well surprise you. You will certainly be delighted. (The Legal Matters’ self-titled, debut album took a top spot in Pure Pop Radio’s Favorite Records of 2014. Read the entry here.)

andy-reedAndy Reed:

brendan-benson“Tiny Spark,” by Brendan Benson | I was very lucky during the beginning of my musical career. My first official album was recorded and produced by Brendan Benson in his home studio in Detroit. I had been a huge fan of Brendan’s first record, One Mississippi. I was a sponge during those sessions, as I realized I was in the presence of a true genius. Then the moment came about half way through the record. Brendan turned on his tape machine and played me a track he had been working on. The song was “Tiny Spark.” I was blown away instantly. The song had everything I loved about music wrapped up in three minutes. When we finished recording and mixing, Brendan gave us our CD. He also gave us a CD of what would later be released as his album Lapalco. This was the first album I had ever made and my CD never made it into the car CD player on the way home.

harry-nilsson“One,” by Harry Nilsson | Nilsson will always be my favorite vocalist of all time. He could sing just about anything and transform his voice to fit the tune perfectly. There is a lot of beauty in the lyrics and the melody of this tune. If you are going to write a sad song, this is a great one to take notes on.

chris-bell“I Am the Cosmos,” by Chris Bell | I am a huge Big Star fan but I may be an even bigger Chris Bell fan. The song itself is gut-wrenching in the best sort of way. The vocal performance is even more so. You can hear and feel Chris’ pain. It also sums up what I love about Big Star. The guitar tones are huge and warm. The production is flawless.

xo“Waltz #2 (XO),” by Elliott Smith | I caught on to Elliott Smith late in the game. The first record I bought was XO; it was referred to me by a friend. I was instantly drawn in. I will still say that Elliott is the closest we would get if Lennon and McCartney were one guy. He had Lennon’s desperation and McCartney’s melodic sense and musicianship. This became my favorite track early on and still is to this day. The imagery of the lyric is very trademark Elliott. This haunting track still gives me chills when I listen.

chris-richardsChris Richards:

sloan“The Good in Everyone,” by Sloan | Picking a favorite Sloan album would be hard enough…but a favorite track? Please. That being said, for this exercise I shall choose “The Good In Everyone,” the leadoff track from the brilliant 1996 release, One Chord to Another. After spending big Geffen money on their first two records, Sloan found themselves looking to flip the script in a sense and record their third record minus big label funds (their first two records had 100K budgets; this masterpiece was recorded for 10K). This song is really Sloan at their core–it has an enormous hook elevated by harmonies that will resonate in your memory for what should be a lifetime. And if you really want to feel the power of this song, watch the video–it’s a majestic piece that reenacts a scene from the movie Easy Rider in its intro. This is a band that couldn’t be stopped.

nick-lowe“Marie Provost,” by Nick Lowe | Nick Lowe was more important to the secondary British Invasion than sales would indicate. His imprint on what was coming out of the UK in the late ’70s through the 1980s was undeniable; consider the countless records he produced by such artists as Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, and the Damned. Nick Lowe’s records were charming, witty and rocked, despite the overt poppy overtones. “Marie Provost” perfectly molds all that is Nick in one song. You get incredibly funny lyrics based on a very true and tragic story of a Canadian silent film actress who died alone in her apartment amongst countless liquor bottles, a $10 promissory note to Joan Crawford, and a barking dog that  may or may not have tried to take matters into its own paws, as far as food goes.

kinks-village-green“Big Sky,” by the Kinks | I suppose I could’ve selected any track off the Kinks’ exemplary 1968 release, The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society. This is truly a mind-blowing record as a whole, but when you take a track out of the original mix,  you see how these little English classics can live on their own. “Big Sky” may be the perfect Ray Davies composition, in my opinion, as it has the key elements that make a great Kinks song, such as the immediate, yet simple melodic hook married to an introspective lyric. This song is delivered as a heavier rock piece, a style that the very proper Kinks were clearly moving away from.

the-who-magic-bus“Pictures of Lily,” by the Who | At one point I hope the world realizes the brilliance of Pete Townshend as a holistic composer; his ability to wax poetic on an array of simplistic, yet direct subjects and write complex, truly diabolic songs about introspective demons made him the genius that we have today. “Pictures of Lily” will always be a favorite of mine. I especially love the key change in the second half of each chorus that takes you to the breakdown, at which point Keith Moon brings you to the best part of the song: the ba-da- da-dum-dum–“Pictures of Lily!” This is followed by an amazing French horn “solo” by John. Lyrically and in two minutes and 35 seconds, Pete tells a full story of an individual with insomnia who is given a picture of a pin-up girl (the eponymous Lily) from his father. The individual falls in love with the pin-up girl, which leads to sleep and the realization that the girl has been dead since 1929.

keith-klingensmithKeith Klingensmith:

pet-sounds“Please Let Me Wonder,” by the Beach Boys | I’m firmly in the Pet-Sounds-is-the-greatest-record-ever-made club, but side two of The Beach Boys Today contains every bit of that same magic. “Please Let Me Wonder” starts the side off with a perfect dose of Brian Wilson longing. I’m a harmony guy and as heartbreaking as this song is, the Beach Boys’ harmonies are mixed so loud they could almost be considered the second lead voice. I wish every song was mixed this way! I could happily spend the rest of my life listening to Beach Boys vocals-only mixes; you need to do yourself a favor and check out the “Please Let Me Wonder” vocals-only outtakes, if you haven’t already.

the-byrds-lady-friend“Lady Friend,” by the Byrds | There are times when I think this amazing David Crosby song is my fave song of all time. If I could ever manage to make a favorite songs list, this would be near the top for sure. Everything I still love about pop music is entirely contained in this song–an inspired melody, giant harmonies, driving guitars and horns. Some top-notch girl lyrics can never hurt, either. There’s mystery to this song. I can never fully get to the bottom of why all these pieces are able to combine in a way that destroys me every single time. If I ever had to play a single song to define myself musically, I’d be comfortable playing this one.

the-undertones“Teenage Kicks,” by the Undertones | That sound! The sound of this record kills me. This song sends electricity directly from the speakers to my nervous system. Something about that opening riff is pure magic. Feargal Sharkey never sounded better or more alive, and the solo just ruins me every time. I didn’t hear the Undertones’ first record until the Ryko re-release in the mid-’90s, but it’s been in regular revisit rotation ever since.

del-amitri“Keepers,” by Del Amitri | Somehow, Del Amitri’s self-titled, first LP gets ignored and belittled by every Del fan that came after this record. No single LP made more of an impression on me than this one; I seriously love every single note contained within. “Keepers” has always been a fave song on the record. It’s an absolute epic with multiple peaks, told from the point of view of a man who only appears to only be interested in owning females. But like all great pop music, this song is wrapped up in gorgeous paper so that the lyrics take a few listens to sink in. Always an appreciated bonus. Go find this record!

(Read the first entry in the Musician’s Opinion series by clicking here!)

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Vocal Trios Sing Like Songbirds on Tonight’s Every Little Thing

Ken Michaels' Every Little Thing...For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing…For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

A single voice can sing and two voices can blend in perfect harmony, but three voices can sing and blend in perfect harmony, raising the aural stakes as they reach for the stars and never let go. In tonight’s third, themed segment on your favorite, weekly Beatles radio get-together, Every Little Thing, Ken Michaels spins a quartet of songs spotlighting vocal trios that will both surprise and delight. The fun begins at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio.

But first, Ken let loose the sounds of the Beatles, in both group and solo turns. Paul McCartney rolls out a live version of “Got to Get You Into My Life,” George Harrison cries over some “Teardrops,” and the Fabs tell the story of “Sexy Sadie.”

Tonight’s second segment finds Ken talking to storied record company promo man and teller of Beatles tales Dave Morrell. Two Beatles BBC tracks are played: “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You)” and “Don’t Ever Change.”

And finally, in segment three, Ken presents songs performed by classic vocal trios such as Ringo Starr, Tom Petty and Alanis Morissette; Carl Perkins, George Harrison and Dave Edmunds; and George Benson, Al Jarreau and Paul McCartney. It’s another great set, curated with care and heart.

It’s all for you on tonight’s Every Little Thing, airing in its usual slot: 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio. Enjoy!

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Timmy Sean Channels the Sound of Jeff Lynne and ELO in Week Eight of Timmy’s Songs of the Week Project

timmy-sean-song-of-the-weekThe one thing that is truer than most things is that every week during the yearlong rollout of Timmy Sean’s Songs of the Week project, you never know what you’re going to get: all genres and song types are fair game for one of pop music’s most gifted artists.

Week eight’s one-man-band entry is a delightful, spot-on tribute to the classic sounds of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. To these ears, “One Dimensional Man,” which is now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio, sounds like a song that would have been perfect company for the other tunes on ELO’s Time album. Lynne fans will have a grand “Time” listening to this song, one that Timmy says is his “…personal favorite of the Songs of the Week so far.

“It’s unabashedly an homage to Jeff Lynne and ELO, and seemed perfectly appropriate to release this week following their triumphant return last weekend at the Grammys. This was also one of the first songs following the release of Noisewater that I had set aside for a possible Noisewater Part 2 album…” We hope that album will one day become a reality.

Here, at the headquarters of Pure Pop Radio, we look forward with great anticipation to each and every new song of the week. We’ll be back here next week with another terrific entry. Join us, won’t you? And please don’t forget to add this song to your Timmy Sean collection. Simply click here to purchase “One Dimensional Man.” And click here to subscribe to get all of Timmy’s music that you will be proud and happy to call your own.

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Let them All Talk! Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation Returns with Terry Draper, the Dowling Poole and More!

Attention, fans of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere melodic pop music talk show on the Internet: Your favorite program is back! In Conversation returns next Tuesday, February 24 and Wednesday, February 25 with brand-new, never-before-heard shows. And that’s not all: More new episodes, featuring the best and brightest in conversation with Alan Haber, talking about their careers and much, much more, will follow very soon.

when-the-world-was-youngComing up next Tuesday, February 24 at 8 pm ET, Terry Draper, groovy solo artist and former member of Klaatu, will be behind the microphone to talk about his most recent album, When the World was Young. Terry will also chat with Alan about his studio, Swamp Manor; black and white movies; and how he writes songs, among other topics. Plus, you’ll hear three tunes from When the World was Young. It’s a very cool hour you won’t want to miss.

dowling-poole-2Tune in Wednesday, February 25 at 8 pm ET for a chat with Willie Dowling and Jon Poole, who collectively form the Dowling Poole. The group’s smashing album, Bleak Strategies, is at the center of this discussion, but many more topics will be discussed, including how Willie and Jon got together and much, much more. You’ll also hear three songs from Bleak Strategies.

Note that both interviews were recorded last May and, due to a number of difficulties, we are airing them for the first time next week. Look forward to many more interviews with your favorite artists coming soon to Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation! We’re very excited about all of this, and we hope you are too!

Remember that past interviews can be heard any time, day or night, at Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation’s PodOMatic podcast page. Click here to be magically transported!

See you on the radio!

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

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I Love that Song! #10: “Grouch of the Day,” by Squeeze

squeeze-ridiculous

“Grouch of the Day,” from Squeeze’s Ridiculous (IRS, 1995)

If life does indeed imitate art, and Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook’s “Grouch of the Day” represents truth, then all in the world who stress themselves over needless worry should start a club, elect a president, and sing this song to open all of their meetings.

Listening to “Grouch of the Day,” as catchy a pop song as exists in the Squeeze catalog, and appreciating and adopting its wisdom seems the least one should do when the numbing of one’s nerves over what-ifs and what-could-have-beens has taken root and gotten in the way of a positive outlook. “What if the boss raises hell over that report?” “How can I relax when the fate of the world rests on my shoulders?” He probably won’t, and yes, you can and no, it doesn’t.

Needless worry continues to be the least potent notion one can adopt during the carrying out of a life. What does it get you, other than prickly horseshoes and flat soda pop? I wonder if Difford and Tilbrook contemplated this notion, or even considered it at all, while they were writing this song. Perhaps it was just serendipity, or at the very least a fated matching of lyrics and melody during the act of crafting another catchy pop song.

It’s all about the state of one’s nerves and whether they’re butting heads or getting some sun in at poolside, so to speak. The narrator here is overcome by even the idea of a bad day ahead. But there’s this, regarding the woman lying beside him: “As I roll on my side there’s a smile on her face that says much more than words ever will,” he sings, and therein lies the secret of life. Words are empty promises; actions speak louder than words, and this woman speaks with motion: “She’ll have something to say,” he notes.

And she does, when all is said and done, but her words are silent: “Her beauty erodes the desperate loads of pressure that fills up my day/With one smile all the stress melts away.” There can’t possibly be a thing that is more powerful than the declaration that everything is going to be okay regardless of what you think, and here is the proof: a smile. There is nothing more powerful than a smile.

Although, come to think of it, even the idea that a smile can wipe away tears is just as moving and reliable: “When I’ve drifted away and I’m moping around in a sulk, she’ll have something to say and I usually obey/Then I get my resentments in bulk,” the narrator sings, and adds, as he figures it all out, “That’s the price that you pay for being grouch of the day.”

Blended voices harmonize “Uh oh,” perhaps mockingly but maybe not, and the chorus sings “Better watch out,” as if that were possible for the shaky amongst us! Well, it should be, at least in the face of possible uh-ohs and I-told-you-that-was-going-to-happens.

“I feel butterflies wing as she starts to sling music on/As she rolls on her back with her smile full of charm that says much more than words ever will,” the narrator delights; he really does know that smile will put things right and prepare him for the could-well-be kind of scary day ahead.

Otherwise, you’re the grouch of the day and, well, uh oh. - Alan Haber

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A Little Goes a Long Way on Tonight’s Edition of Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing

Ken Michaels' Every Little Thing...For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing…For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

There’s nothing little about tonight’s third, themed segment on the latest edition of Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing. In fact, it’s a big set of songs with the word “little” in the title. You’ll hear Paul McCartney’s “Sweetest Little Show,” the Beatles’ version of “Little Child,” and John Lennon’s “(Forgive Me) My Little Flower Princess,” among other tunes guaranteed to get a big reaction from you.

The fun begins at 9 pm ET this evening on Pure Pop Radio. The show kicks off with the usual varied set of Beatles and solo Beatles tracks. On tonight’s docket are tunes from Paul McCartney and Wings (“Helen Wheels”), John Lennon’s “Only People,” and Beck’s “Love” (Beck just scored big at the recent Grammy awards ceremony).

In tonight’s second segment, Ken presents a tribute to George Harrison. You’ll hear the Fabs doing George’s “Savoy Truffle,” Ringo Starr singing “You’ve Got a Nice Way,” and the Beach Boys’ Mike Love with “Pisces Brothers.”

Any way you look at it, tonight’s Every Little Thing is a big, can’t miss show. See you on the radio at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

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It’s Win Something Friday! The Hangabouts and the Cry are Up For Grabs!

winTo celebrate yet another great, albeit young, year for melodic pop music, we’re giving away an autographed copy of the Hangabouts’ CD, Illustrated Bird, and downloads of the Cry’s album, Dangerous Game.

hangaboutsAbout the Hangabouts’ Illustrated Bird, we said, back in December, “Remixed and remastered from a previous digital-only release, and sporting a previously-unheard song recorded at the original album sessions, the Hangabouts’ Illustrated Bird delivers some truly catchy songs…” And of the Cry’s Dangerous Game, we wrote last October that the album “cobbles together 13 songs that have previously been released in Europe and Asia, plus a new track, ‘Last Thing that I Do,’ a relatively sensitive, mid-tempo ballad with great guitar work that is rather unlike their usual upbeat, more rocking material. Fast or slow, this is a great band that deserves your time and attention.”

the-cry-dangerous-gameBoth of these great long players would sound, well, great amidst your coveted melodic pop music collection.

It’s easy to win. Just fill in the form below and, in the Comments box, say which band’s album you want (please choose one or the other). Don’t forget to fill in your email address so that we can send you your prize. Deadline for entries is Friday, February 20 at noon ET.

Good luck!


Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes