Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio is the premier website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and new-to-you releases. Pure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop in the universe 24 hours a day.
Good spooky day to you! Today is the day that kids and kids-at-heart wait for all year round: It’s Halloween! This is that crazy day when you dress up in wacky costumes, sniff out the best neighborhood houses that give out the best treats, and watch scary monster movies.
Today is the day that you and Frankenstein and Dracula and Alice Cooper spend arm-in-arm, celebrating the thrills and chills of the most goose-bumpy day of the year! Now, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t provide you with the tools you need to make it through this spooky day.
So, here is the official Pure Pop Radio Happy Halloween Survival Kit. Simply print out this page and cut out the various elements and keep them within arm’s reach all day long. This very cool kit was assembled by none other than our Chief Halloween Kit Put Together Guy, Boo Boo: Here some key elements of our kit. First, no self-respecting pop fan could face this day without a way to play music: And speaking of music, here are some scary-good albums you can play when you’re not trick-or-treating:
And, to keep your mind on the task at hand, here’s an image that you can show people at the houses you’re visiting for the sole purpose of planting in their minds the idea of lots and lots of Halloween treats:
If you’re out late, you’ll need something to help light your way. Take this guy along (thanks to Dave Caruso):
And sing his theme song while you’re at it:
Here are some Halloween-friendly tunes you can play when you get home from a long afternoon of trick-or-treating:
After dinner, you can get comfy in your pumpkiny pajamas…
… and brew yourself a witch’s brew to sip in your spooky witch’s tea cup…
Finally, before you turn in for the night, you can listen to a taste of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe by tuning in to Pure Pop Radio (click on our logo to get the music flowing):
There you are…your handy Happy Halloween Survival Kit from your boo-riffic friends at Pure Pop Radio! We hope you have an appropriately spooky and full-of fun day!
Check it out: We’re turning today–day 10–of our ongoing New Music Explosion into a celebration. Well, every day over the past two weeks has been a celebration of the greatest pop in the universe. So let’s shout and dance the night away to some of the latest adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist.
Here’s a half-dozen nuggets now playing in rotation for your listening, dancing and romancing pleasure:
Lannie Flowers | Live in NYC Longtime Pure Pop Radio favorite plugs in and wows patrons at Brooklyn’s Trash Bar with the cool sounds of power pop. What more can we say, other than we’re now spinning nine tracks from this energy-filled album, including Big Star’s “Back of a Car (Radio Remix),” “Give Me a Chance,” “Favorite Song,” “Where Does Love Go,” “Come On Girl,” “Another Weekend,” “Rusty Circles,” “Circles,” and “Turn Up Your Radio.” Power pop in the borough of Brooklyn rocks!
Robert Crenshaw | Friends, Family and Neighbors One of the sweetest surprises of the year is this joyous celebration of the love of the clever, catchy song. In these nine wonderful and witty tunes, Robert Crenshaw looks at the upside of improbability (the lovely, hymn-like “The Night the Detroit Lions Won the Super Bowl”), familiarity in the face of love (the Bill Lloyd co-write, “You’re So Hip to Me”), detachment versus reality (“What if I’m Really Dead?”), and hiding behind the wall of booze (the gospel-tinged “Turn to Booze”). Add in gorgeous covers of Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand” and Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (the latter featuring Marshall, Dean and John Crenshaw), and guest turns from Graham Maby and Don Dixon, and you’ve got a a miraculous entry in this year’s best-of sweepstakes. We’re actually spinning all of the songs on this album–all of the above and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Revisited,” “Everything in its Place,” “In Its Place,” “Down Here in Heaven,” and “Cowgirl in the Sand (Hidden track).” Simply fantastic.
Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club | Nothing to Be Afraid Of From completely out of left field comes this delicious collection of sweet, happy-sounding pop from Kate Stephenson, trading under one of the most delightful band names in like ever. From the delightful, truly musical close background harmony vocals (all Kate) to the genius songs, this will become an instant favorite before the first song is finished playing. You’ll hear a mix of touchstones within these dozen songs, all of which we’re playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. The Roches (especially on the astounding, a cappella “Why Do I Cry?”), the Dream Academy, Prefab Sprout, and so on creep in and out of the mix, but it’s Kate’s incredible talent that shines through strongest of all. Here’s what you will hear in rotation: “Nothing to Be Afraid Of,” “Wonderful You,” “This Kind of Longing,” “Colour the Blue,” “Dancing on My Doorstep,” “Bad News,” “Keep on Dreaming,” “Afternoon Moon,” “Goodnight My Darling,” “Lazy Baby,” and “Widest Smile.”
Jeff Larson | Close Circle We’ve been spinning Jeff Larson’s records since he first burst onto the soft pop scene with Watercolor Sky in 1998. Jeff’s instantly recognizable sound charms listeners each time out. We’re proudly playing four songs from his latest full length, and we can’t wait for you to hear them: “Rescue,” “Following the Echoes,” “Goodbye Ocean Street Beaches,” and “The Lay of the Land.”
George Usher and Lisa Burns | The Last Day of Winter We’ve missed the warmth that George Usher’s timeless music has brought to our airwaves over the years. Color us so happy to have new songs to spin from the duets album he’s recorded with Lisa Burns. Despite not being able to use his hands or play an instrument during the two harsh years he was dealing with a cancer diagnosis and attending neuropathy pain, he was able to craft a set of lyrics which Burns set to music. We’re playing four of these delicate songs: “Wake Me When Tomorrow’s Here,” “My Precious Wisdom,” “Dark Blue Room,” and “Never Ever Land.” Welcome back, George.
Rick Hromadka | Trippin’ Dinosaurs If you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack for the hazy moments that pass between the time you close your eyes and fall asleep, this is your go-to platter. Trippy, hippy, top-notchy and charged with elastic, melodic goodness, Trippin’ Dinosaurs takes psychedelic pop to the outer limits and blasts the dark away with a lively, smiley-faced collection of songs shot full of imagination and a whole lot of fun. Rick Hromadka (Maple Mars), take a bow. We’re playing six of these great songs: “Conversation,” “It’s All in Your Head,” “Dreams of a Hippie Summer,” “Twice a Sunny Day Tomorrow,” “Tough Love Letter Bomb,” and “Listen I’m Waiting to Sleep.”
There ya go! Day 10 is done, but day 11 is just around the corner…next week, in fact, so see you here then for another list of new adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist!
Released in 1994 on East Side Digital, Set to Pop was an important record for Bill Lloyd. He had been successful in a partnership with Radney Foster as Foster and Lloyd, a duo that registered a considerable impact at country radio and a more-than-palpable fan base. Followed by a re-release on CD in 1990 of his 1986 solo debut, Feeling the Elephant, Lloyd set to work on a followup, a career-making album that showed what he could do on the pop side of things. He set about writing for himself, “without thinking about crafting songs for a radio format.” The canvas was blank, so with nothing to lose and everything to gain (and a Ray Davies cover in his pocket), he pulled out his musical paint set and got to creating a scene.
That scene, an hour-long aggregation of songs separated by clever bits of whimsy and swimming in an ocean of talent and confidence, manifested itself as Set to Pop. Many classic albums followed–albums that saw Lloyd work his magic that was continually informed by mounting experience and travels along many musical routes. His 2012 release, Boy King of Tokyo, found him multitasking, playing every instrument not nailed down, including the drums. That album featured one of Lloyd’s best and catchiest songs, the relatable-to-all-music-geeks pop confection, “The Best Record Ever Made.”
On the list of Best Records Ever Made, Set to Pop must sit comfortably alongside similarly great waxings drawn from the catalogs of other great artists. Lloyd must know how important a record he made 20 long years ago is, because he’s taken a fresh look at it, reconfigured and reshaped it into an album he has correctly titled Reset2014. And he must be serious, because he’s mixed it in Stereo-Panic Sound.
Record geeks-as-collectors are more than familiar with the concept of the alternate album–the re-christening of an original, full-length work with new and refurbished parts put in the game so the original parts can sit on the sidelines and take a well-deserved rest. Twenty years is a long time, as just about any person of a certain age will tell you. It’s generally a good regrouping point from which you can gaze back through the hazy shade of a lost winter’s dream, see what worked, why it worked, and whether it still works. The fact is, the original Set to Pop still works fine and dandy, but this new look at the Emperor’s Old Clothes is a good way to gain some perspective, and this new renaissance works like a charm, breathing clear life into an old flame. It’s like a new coat of Turtle Wax after it’s baked an hour or two in the hot sun, all shiny and bright.
Lloyd notes that Reset2014, set for release in early November, came about because he found that “most of the bits and pieces for this project [were] just waiting for me to do something with” them. Elements such as these are frequently as alive as alive can be, so it’s no surprise that they called out to him and drew him to enter them into service to provide an alternate road map to the stars–a new look at an old favorite and a new way for fans to experience the excitement of a classic, heritage recording.
To that end, Lloyd remade nine of the 15 songs on Set to Pop for Reset2014 (the songs are presented in the original running order). Two early mixes, one early recording, and three live takes make up the rest of the re-imaginings. Two bonus cuts–an early recording of “Forget About Us” and a live version of “Niagara Falls” recorded at the Bluebird–round out the selections, none of which are meant to replace the originals. The idea here is to apply 20 years of experience and musical maturity to an old friend, to see how it lives and breathes in the here and now.
It should come as no surprise that Set to Pop-as-Reset2014 lives marvelously, like it’s in the prime of its life. “I Went Electric” is still first out of the gate, still a gentle-to-energetic track, with Lloyd on all instruments, and with perhaps a bit more angst in the chorus vocal and certainly in the bones of the electric guitar solo. “Trampoline,” as perfect a pop confection as Lloyd has ever come up with, is perhaps a bit more muscular in an early mix, as opposed to perhaps a bit brighter and shinier and polished in its original incarnation.
In a live setting, as presented on Reset2014, the medium-burn of “Niagara Falls” in the original version gets jump-started with a bit more rock ‘n’ roll intensity. “In a Perfect World,” 20 years on from Set to Pop, is recast by Bill, who plays all instruments excepting the bass, as an all-acoustic, determined workout (the original, musically populated by such luminaries as Garry Tallent, Al Kooper (playing the Al Kooper Organ, naturally), Rusty Young and Kim Richey, chugs along with percussion). And Ray Davies’ “This is Where I Belong,” the sole cover on Set to Pop, is recast from its original, melodic power pop presentation as another, more ferocious beast entirely, with Lloyd feeding his lead vocal through some kind of electronic vocal cord shredder. The remake ends with 25 seconds of Neil Young-worthy feedback. The remake comes in about 25 seconds longer than the original version.
I wonder whether what Lloyd set out to accomplish with Reset2014–what was in his head–was realized. Or did the path down the road to reinvention take left and right turns into uncharted waters. What is clear is that the overall exercise–was it possible to reinvent the wheel in a way that would shed light on the beating heart of Set to Pop?, or was the wheel as it was preferable–was of great value, because it uncovered the tissue of the heart and set it to beat over, under, sideways, down.
There is a great benefit to celebrating what has come before. In every artist’s catalog sits an album of immense importance–an album that defined, ahead of its future cousins, the path that leads to coming songs, triumphs, experiments and the value of it all. With Reset2014, Bill Lloyd has taken pause to smell the roses from 20 years ago and replant them for future generations. These future generations will celebrate the treasure that is Set to Pop and, at the same time, devour and enjoy and embrace the look back that is Reset2014, one of the year’s best and most important releases.
What’s new, you ask? Why, it’s another list of 10 of the most recent adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. We like diving in, and we bet you do too, so without further ado, here we go!
Dwight Twilley | Always A new Dwight Twilley album is always a cause for celebration and we’re celebrating alright, by adding a dozen songs from this latest platter, titled Always.Always is another solid collection of pop-rockers and gorgeous ballads from one of our most dependable and talented artists. Whether you’re a longtime Twilley fan, or new to Dwight’s legendary sound, you’re going to love this record. We’re playing, in rotation, the title track, “A Million Miles Wide,” “Lovers,” “Into the Flame,” “Everybody’s Crazy,” “Everyday,” “‘Til the Jukebox Dies,” “We Were Scared,” “Happy Birthday,” “I See It in Your Eyes,” “Fools Like Me,” and “Tomorrow.” Pop and rock on with Dwight!
Jamie Hoover | Jamie Two Ever Second in what we hope will be a long-running series, and the sequel of sorts to the much-loved Jamie Hoo-Ever, Jamie Two Ever presents Mr. Hoover hip deep in comfortable pop-rock waters, delivering yet another top-flight collection of timeless melodies and performances. As we always say when Jamie releases a new record, this is a given–a rock solid treat for fans of great songs crafted by pop music’s premiere journeyman. From ace covers of a couple of Beatles tunes and the Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” to a host of originals, including the joyous, almost-completely a cappella “Press Save”; the lovely, gentle Steve Stoeckel co-write, “Lost”; and the bluesy “Oh Darlin’!”-esque “You Took Away the Birds,” Jamie Two Ever practically redefines the word “classic.” We’re playing the entire album in rotation; in addition to the aforementioned songs, we’re spinning “Wait,” “Righteous Side of Love,” “Misery,” “Honest Work,” “Georgia Rose,” “I’m Looking through You,” “The Jim Joanne Massacre,” “Take Care of You,” “Star,” “There’s a Place,” and “Oh Babe Take Me Home.” Truly spectacular. A new Jamie Hoover release means all is right with the world.
Sam RB | Finding Your Way Home Here is a greater-than-great new release from Australia’s Sam RB, who we’ve been playing on Pure Pop Radio for awhile. Finding Your Way Home features Sam’s beautiful, expressive voice and songs with melodies that will melt your heart. We’re playing all of the songs from this spectacular album: “Blue Sky Day,” “No Need to Say,” “Busking,” “The Smile in His Eyes,” “Shooting Star,” “It Rains Down” “Funny Thing That,” “There is a Place,” “Just Say It’s True,” the title track (a hit waiting to zoom up the charts!), “Calloused Fingerprints,” “Don’t Think Twice,” “Thank You” (another hit waiting to break at radio), and “Say Goodbye.” Sam RB just keeps getting better and better.
Brett Harris | Mr. Sunshine Yet another longtime favorite here at Pure Pop Radio, Brett Harris is a masterful songwriter and performer who also keeps getting better and better. His new EP adds more greatness to his classic catalog. We’re playing three songs in rotation, all catchy and sung with lots of heart: the title cut (a hit single if ever there was one), “Out of the Blue,” and “When you Get the Chance.” We’re thrilled to have Brett back with new songs. Dig them all!
Smile Factory | “Man in a Minute” So hot, the wax is still wet on this poppy, mega-catchy, wonderful song from a new group comprised of familiar and perhaps not-so-familar names. The Legal Matters’ Keith Klingensmith (vocals) and the Tor Guides’ Torbjorn Petersson (guitars and vocals), you probably (and should) know. The other players? Atlanta’s own Lee Wiggins on drums, David “Zeus” Henderson on bass, and Bill Shaouy on keys. Brandi Ediss and Karen Basset provide backing vocals. Nothing could be sweeter and finer than this glorious example of why melodic pop music is the best kind of music in the whole wide world. Really infectious and quite joyous and we’re pleased as punch to be bringing it to you in rotation. Beautiful.
The Successful Failures | Captains of Industry, Captains of War A good old-fashioned pop-rock album by a bunch of guys who know their stuff. In the case of these songs, that stuff is bursting with lots of guitars, great harmony vocals, some country tinges, and a bit of what REM would sound like if they were more of a pop, and not a rock, band. We’ve added almost all of the songs on this album: “Stagger Lee and Woodrow Wilson,” “Milwaukee,” “Hit the Ground Running,” “1954,” “Meal Parade (Always Be Around),” “Falling Out,” “Navigation by the Stars,” “Knew Me On Sunday,” “O Carolina,” “Sunny in My Head,” and “John Henry.”
The Satisfactors | The Satisfactors Say hello to your go-to Fall ’14 supergroup, New Jersey’s own Satisfactors. What do you get when you bring together the Doughboys’ Gar Francis (aka Jimmy Target), the Grip Weeds’ Kurt Reil (aka Curtis Roy), the Easy Outs’ Bruce Ferguson, and Kenny Aaronson, who’s played with Bob Dylan, amongst other legends? You get a whole lot of muscle, grrring guitars, and a whole lot of in-your-face songwriting and vocalizing. You get a pop-rock album that pays no apologies for keeping the neighbors up at night. We’re playing nearly the whole album in rotation: “She Got Charm,” “I Love Girls,” “You’re So Crazy,” “Hey Mama,” “Sweet Sunshine,” “Johnny Commando,” “Take Your Troubles Away,” “Hit Me, Hit Me, Hit Me,” “Gimme My Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Girl Just Wants to Dance,” and “Had it With You.” We’re dancing the night away–how about you?
Magic Eight Ball | Last of the Old Romantics UK pop-rock trio Magic Eight Ball’s new album, releasing soon, hits all of the tempting sweet spots, presenting both ballads and up-tempo pop-rockers, always focusing on great melodies and a powerhouse voice in Baz Francis. We’ve added six songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist: “What Happened in ’92,” “Come Get Your Kicks,” “Yeah, I’m Serious,” “California in the Fall,” “Red Hair Wrapped Around Her Neck,” and “On the Days that You Wish You Could End It All…” A round of applause for Baz and the boys!
Loose Pills | Rx We’ve got a taster from Loose Pills’ album that rocks and pops: the upbeat power popping “I Don’t Want It” and the emotional, strong-willed, melodic rock-pop of “Get Drunk, Play Records.” Cool stuff.
The 286 | EP Within our rather large playlist, we have soft spots all over for bands that celebrate the legacy of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. The latest band to fly the flag proudly is this London “rock orchestra,” probably a fitting way to describe the outfit that has turned out quite the wonderful, six-song collection of ELO-tastic sounds. We’re running all six songs through our playlist: “Hello,” “Let the Rain Fall Down,” “Miracle on 286th Street,” “Little Louisa,” “Battalion 286 (Monmouth Minuet),” and “Suite: Beyond the World.”
That’s it for today. We’ll pick things up again on Thursday and Friday of this week, when we will unveil more of the latest artists and songs that have been added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Tomorrow: A hot review for an equally hot album that is without question one of the best of this year. See you then!
We’re having a banner year here at Pure Pop Radio, with the station entertaining people all around the world 24 hours a day with the greatest melodic pop music around, and this very website, which is growing by leaps and bounds with each passing day. We’ve run several, big events this year, during which we’ve added many hundreds of new tracks to our playlist. And we’ve been planning, behind the scenes, to end the year with an enormous, melodious, power poppin’ bang.
The melodic pop stars shine in our first annual Favorite Records of the Year list…Stars of ’14!
Our First Annual Favorite Records of the Year List: Stars of ’14! Set Your Alarm Clocks for Tuesday, November 18!
On October 24, 1963, the Beatles performed an exciting set of seven songs for the Swedish radio program, Pop ’63. The original, ahem, rare CD of that performance was called Stars of ’63. In the spirit of that great radio event, we’re putting on an exciting show of our own: our first ever list of favorite records of the year that we’re calling Stars of ’14 (yes, we used to roll out best-of lists back on the old, weekly Pure Pop Radio shows, but this is the first time we’re doing a list here on the Pure Pop Radio website).
Under the banner of Stars of ’14, we’ll be presenting you with a detailed list of 20 of our favorite records of this year (not a best-of!) and an addendum featuring some of our favorite, random pop moments. Look for Stars of ’14 on Tuesday, November 18. We hope that, as a result of reading our list, you are moved to discover artists and/or albums you may have missed during this year, a year that has produced an even better-than-usual crop of releases. Print out our list and visit your local brick-and-mortar music stores, or your favorite online shops (like the ones on the artists’ websites), to stock up on holiday gifts for yourself and others. Hey, Thanksgiving is a little less than a month away, and pretty soon after that the holiday bells will be ringing!
We’re making beautiful music beginning December 24 with our annual Christmas Popapalooza!
Pure Pop Radio’s Second Annual Holiday Popapalooza!
Speaking of holiday bells… If you were with us last year, you treasured Pure Pop Radio’s 24-hour marathon of melodic pop Christmas songs that began on Christmas Eve and continued through the whole of Christmas Day. This year, we’re serving up another 24 hours of holiday pop music, beginning at 12 noon on December 24 and continuing through 11:59 pm (plus or minus a minute or two!) on Christmas day. That’s actually 30 straight hours of the sweet sounds of the season you know and love! We’ll have all of your old favorites and a few-plus of tunes that will hopefully become your new favorites. It’s all for you on the original 24-hour-a-day online melodic pop radio station, Pure Pop Radio.
Look forward to our second annual Holiday Popapalooza on December 24 and 25, and our first annual list of favorite records of the year, Stars of ’14, on Tuesday November 18! And thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts, for stopping in here at our website and enjoying the year-round sounds of Pure Pop Radio!
Of the approximately 6,429 fifth Beatles that have roamed the planet Earth, only one can really hold that title: George Martin. Sir George Henry Martin is, in fact, in the spotlight tonight at 9 pm ET during Ken Michaels’ always-much-anticipated third, themed segment of his weekly fab meeting place on the radio, 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!
Sir George’s work with the solo Fabs is what fuels tonight’s themed segment. Treasured tracks from Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and John Lennon are featured, including a version of Lennon’s “Grow Old With Me” that Sir George orchestrated in 1998 at the behest of Yoko Ono. You’ll also hear Ringo warbling “Sentimental Journey” and Paul McCartney hoofing a bit of “Ballroom Dancing.” Sounds like a whole lot of fun to us!
Ken kicks off tonight’s show with his usual potpourri of Beatles and solo Beatles tracks, including the Fabs’ “If I Fell” and “Baby You’re a Rich Man.” Then, he rolls up with a “Help!” two-fer. The fun never stops on Every Little Thing!
It’s all for you tonight at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio. Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing, the premiere radio show celebrating the greatest group in the world, is on the air!
Hey! It’s the weekend! The weekend’s here! You know what that means, right? It means that week two of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion is rolling into the weekend and week three, day number nine is merely days away.
Today is day eight, and we’ve got a typically diverse and exciting lineup of new adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist to lay out for you. Let’s get started!
Various Artists | Pop Power from the Garage – Australian Power Pop * 74-86 We’ve been digging the very sweet, new releases from Australia’s Zero Hour Records. This one shares the basic approach that previous compilations of Australian power pop have taken over the last, many years, although this time around the focus is on the years 1974-1986. This mighty fine collection dishes up 22 great tracks. Of course, we’ve chosen the poppier ones to add to our playlist, and they are: Beathoven – “Do You Remember the Time,” The Clones – “Tired of Hiding,” Lee Cutelle – “You’ve Got the Power Over Me,” Heroes – “Baby’s Had a Taste,” Riffs – “I’m Not Just Another Boy,” The Prefects – “Wait Until Midnight,” Young Homebuyers – “Boyfriend,” and the Eighty Eights – “What Would Your Mother Say.” Your mother would say “Spin ’em if you’ve got ’em!” Listen for these very cool tracks now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
The Lost Boys | Answers On a Postcard and Not ‘Arf It’s…The Lost Boys This Southampton, England foursome puts their guitars up front where they belong and turns out track after track of catchy, melodic pop music. We’ve taken tracks from Answers On a Postcard and Not ‘Arf It’s…The Lost Boys and added them to our playlist. Listen for “Broken Story,” “From Love to Hate,” “Flowers,” “In My Sleep,” and “Crazy for You (I Guess that I’m).” Great melodies, singing and playing…what more can you ask for?
Johnny Popstar and the Luv Explosion | Whining and Crying and A Day at the Beach A great pop band, with perhaps a smattering of punk aesthetic and influences from across decades of catchy songs, Johnny Popstar and the Luv Explosion is a real find. We hear the Turtles, the Archies, the Dave Clark Five and a host of other sixties and seventies bands bouncing around in this clever mix of sounds. This is the kind of music you might have heard on the radio way back in the day. Heck, it’s music you should be hearing on the radio today. And you will, because a total of 10 Popstar tunes are now spinning in rotation on Pure Pop Radio, including “Daphne Blake,” “Karen Palangi,” “A Day at the Beach,” “Dr. Wiggley,” “Oh Valerie (I Really Hate Your Boyfriend),” “We Could Get Along,” “Oh Louise,” “Social Status Crisis,” “Fit to Be Tied,” and “Don’t Ban the Wolfman.” And yes, “Daphne Blake” is indeed a shout-out to Scooby Doo’s own. Great stuff.
mylittlebrother | If We Never Came Down As perfect as a beautiful day in the country or a clear, wondrous night under the stars, mylittlebrother is a wonderful British band that specializes in lovely, clever, insanely catchy pop songs that capture the imaginations of listeners. Entrancing melodies, gorgeous harmonies and a sense of humanity makes this album the find of the year. We’ve added seven songs to our playlist: “Lovers of Life, Unite!,” “NoseDive,” “Gold,” “My Hypocritical Friend,” “If We Never Came Down,” “Slow Dance,” and “Profiterolls.” Sort of reminiscent, in spirit, of the Wilson Hospital’s equally lovely, lone album. Truly special and quite magical.
The Solicitors | Blank Check We’re probably the first pop radio entity to have played the Solicitors. Well, we’re at least one of the first. In any case, we were way early spinning tracks from one of Australia’s greatest pop ‘n’ roll bands working today. Lee Jones’ catchy songs, performed with great gusto and made for radio play, are aces all around. The band’s debut album is one of the classic releases of this or any other year. Sounding like a lost act on the Stiff label, the Solicitors make great pop ‘n’ roll music and this album is proof. Several of the tracks here are previously released, and we’ve been playing them for awhile; we’ve now added “If You Let Me Hold You,” “I Need You More,” “For This Evening’s Entertainment,” “(You Should See the) Look On Your Face,” “I Love Your Love,” “My Secret is Safe With Me,” and “Goodbye.” It hardly ever gets better than this.
Kurt Baker – Brand New B-Sides The pop and roll of Kurt Baker is as intoxicating today as it was on his very first release. If anything, Kurt elevates his craft ever higher with each new record. With producer and engineer extraordinaire Wyatt Funderburk at his side, there are no limits to what Kurt can achieve. This latest release, composed of songs that didn’t make 2012’s Brand New Beat album–some of which were released as bonus tracks in France and Japan–is a collection that, quite rightly, sets the bar even higher for future records, so good are the 10 songs included here. We’ve added seven to our playlist: “Emma Stone,” “Since You’ve Been On My Mind,” “What’s that Got to Do with Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “On the Run,” “I’ve Tried Everything,” “Think It Over,” and “So It Goes.” Pure pop with a rockin’ beat, served up by a master.
The Singles | Four Tracks Recorded around 1980 at Unique Recorders in New York City, these four catchy songs pop along like old friends. Great melodies and strong hooks ensure repeat plays. Here’s what we’re now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio:”It’s All My Fault,” “Leave that Girl Alone,” “Off and Running,” and “We’re Not Kids Anymore.” Tony, who sang lead and background vocals and played some bass, was joined in the studio by Les Fradkin, Rich Tuske, Marty Shapiro, JP Patterson and Joe Servello. Fradkin produced “It’s All My Fault” and “Off and Running.” Prepare to smile and tap along with the tunes.
My Brother Woody | Football Musings Set to Music You can now add to the (however slowly) growing pop sports sub-genre begun by The Duckworth Lewis Method, who sing about cricket, My Brother Woody’s album, which concerns itself with football (or, I believe in this case, soccer). We are, as usual, confused about the meaning of sports words in different parts of the world, but we do know our pop music, and this is pop music of the first order. Some fetching melodies and deep hooks propel these great songs into the consciousness. We’re spinning four songs in rotation: “50p Head,” “Panini Sticker Album Blues (1987),” “Bouncebackability,” and “The A-Z of Football.”
The Cry | Dangerous Game (US Edition) This isn’t the Cry’s first dance in the pop music arena, but it is their first full-length release here in the United States. This US version of Dangerous Game 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. “Last Thing that I Do,” along with a host of other great tracks, is now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
Winterpills | Echolalia Nine years on from their first, self-titled album, Winterpills returns with a collection of cover songs. But this is not your father’s cover songs album: This isn’t a collection of versions of chart smashes and wedding band favorites. Nick Drake, Jules Shear, XTC and other lesser-known artists get the call here, along with such new-to-the scene groups as the Beatles, Beck and Buddy Holly. The sum total of Echolalia‘s parts is an album that belongs to Winterpills and plays like a song cycle composed of like-minded compositions. We’re playing six re-imagined, emotional, newly shaped songs: Sharon Van Etten’s “One Day,” Jules Shear’s “Open Your Eyes,” Matthew Sweet’s “We’re the Same,” Damien Jurado’s “Museum of Flight,” XTC’s “Train Running Low on Soul Coal,” and Mark Mulcahy’s “A World Away from this One.” A great record.
And so we come to the end of our second week of postings about new music added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. On tap, we’ve got another week’s worth of very cool releases joining the more than 5,300 other classic tunes on the air; all the fun starts next Tuesday, October 28. We’ve also got a very special review for you, and news of something to look out for here on the Pure Pop Radio website in November. So, stay tuned!
We quite simply can not be stopped! It’s day seven of the Pure Pop Radio New Music Explosion and, yes, you betcha, we’re not even close to being done. We’re now into phase two (it’s top secret!) of our adding frenzy, which will continue tomorrow and into next week and beyond. We couldn’t stop even if we tried!
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion We’ve now added the 19 songs we’ve been playing from this great compilation, sans producer Andrew Curry’s spoken introductions, which may return at a later date. The second British Invasion is alive on Pure Pop Radio! Here’s what you will hear, in rotation: An American Underdog – “Things Can Only Get Better,” Big-Box Store – “Kids in America,” Bleu – “Dont You Forget About Me,” Chris Collingwood – “Life in a Northern Town,” Cliff Hillis – “Wouldn’t it Be Good,” David Mead – “Save a Prayer,” Eric Barao – “Tainted Love,” Eytan Mirsky and Alyson Greenfield – “No One is to Blame,” Jim Boggia and Pete Donnelly – “Good Two Shoes,” Kelly Jones – “Something About You,” Linus of Hollywood – “Every Time You Go Away,” Mike Viola – “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” Minky Starshine – “True,” People on Vacation – “Cruel Summer,” Taylor Locke – Dancing with Myself,” The Corner Laughers – “Our House,” The Davenports – “Freedom,” The Nines – “Life’s What You Make It,” and The Wellingtons – “Only You.” We think it’s safe to say that this nifty package will be under some decorated trees this coming December.
The Jigsaw Seen | Old Man Reverb This veteran band’s latest album is a solid collection of upbeat pop and roll and ballads, heavy on the guitars and emotive vocals. Amongst these classic tunes, you’ll even find a song that could very well serve as the soundtrack to a classic western film! All of these eight songs are now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Idiots with Guitars,” “Die Laughing,” “Understand,” “Madame Whirligig,” “Hercules and Sylvia,” “Your Mind is Like Mine,” “Abide,” and “Grief Rehearsal.” Very cool.
Jeff Thomas’ All-Volunteer Army | “The Devil Wants Your Self Control” This extremely cool song from the great Jeff Thomas and crew opens up with a dead-on, Al Kooper-era Blood, Sweat and Tears vibe and immediately segues into an upbeat rock groove as if it were hitched to a speeding locomotive. Chicago-esque horn stabs lead this energetic slice of pop ‘n’ roll to the finish line. Funky, rocky, poppy and all that, this is more proof, as if more proof were needed, that Jeff Thomas is… cool.
Ron Flynt and the Bluehearts | Big Blue Heart This 2014 reissue of Ron’s 2000 album with the Bluehearts adds two must-have bonus tracks to the mix, making it a must-buy for fans. We’ve been playing a couple of tracks from this album since it was first released, and have taken the opportunity to add a few more this time around. We’ve also added one of the bonus tracks, a great song called “Go to the Window for Kenee.” We’re also playing, in rotation, “Holding On,” “I See Blue,” “Northern Town,” “River Road,” “True Love,” and “Darkness.”
The Above | Waterbury Street From the rockingest borough of New York City come the beat-riffic sounds of the Above, whose second album was released this past June. The dozen nuggets on Waterbury Street evoke the spirit and the sound of early- to mid-sixites British R&B-inflected pop. A swinging time is guaranteed for all. We’ve added six energy-filled tracks to our playlist, including “Coming Around,” “Do You Have a Healthy Mind,” “Goons,” “You Make it Real,” “Do What You Wanna Do,” and “Broken Soul.” Now get on the dance floor and groove!
The Airwaves | Release Sweden’s own Airwaves specializes in original, ABBA-riffic, and catchy, seventies-sounding songs that really get under your skin. We’ve added three tracks to the Pure Pop Radio playlist: the mid-tempo charmer “Famous,” the powerful “Miracle,” and the ABBA tribute, “Hey You Ring Me Tonight,” which includes a fair share of ABBA references in the lyrics. Pretty fun.
Jesse Rimler | Four Songs Drawing on a wide range of influence, from pop standards to Harry Nilsson and, most especially, Randy Newman, California singer-songwriter Jesse Rimler writes and performs beautiful songs full of inspiration and pure joy. He’s released only four so far, but each one of them is a gem and points toward a growing catalog full of similar treasures. We’re playing everything Jesse has released: “Secret Password,” “My Elevator Story,” “How We Lost Her,” and “Sylvia’s Dream.” We can’t wait for the next treasure to surface.
Various Artists | It Was 50 Years Ago Today – A Tribute to the Beatles, Vol. 4 Through his Bullseye Records of Canada imprint, label chief Jaimie Vernon has quietly been releasing a series of tributes to everybody’s favorite Fab Four. We’ve been playing tracks from every volume and now, with volume four in house, we’re continuing the tradition. We’ve added seven versions of classic Beatles songs to our playlist. Here’s how our selections play out: Atomic Tracktor: “Revolution,” Dee Long: “Across the Universe,” Fergus Hambleton: “And I Love Her,” Michael Carpener: “If I Needed Someone,” Steve Lawrenson: “Yes It Is,” the Wackers: “She Loves You,” and Walter Clevenger: “I Will.”
Declan Snowden | Getting My Hopes Up From Galway, Ireland and now based in Dublin, Declan Snowden’s EP–available for free on Bandcamp–revels in the kind of pop we greet with open arms here at Pure Pop Radio. The joyous “Believe in Me” and the gorgeous, heartfelt ballad “I’ll Never Be Your Man” are now playing in rotation. We’re pleased to make your acquaintance, Declan.
With day seven of our New Music Explosion in the books, we have only to look forward to day eight, and that’s happening tomorrow. Be back here around noon ET and see what kind of surprises we’ve cooked up to lead you into your popping weekend!
Welcome to week two, day number six of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion! You already know we’re adding hundreds and hundreds of songs to our playlist, and you probably want to know what’s new today, so here we go. Let’s get right to it!
The Nines | Nine Lives The Nines have always held a treasured spot on our playlist, going back as far as the old, weekly Pure Pop Radio show. We were excited to learn that a new, live release was coming out. Not surprisingly, we were blown away by the songs included, the great vocals and those melodies–those incredible melodies! Steve Eggers and company deliver the goods, as always. We’ve added eight tracks from this top-flight album as proof: “Diana,” “Melanie,” “Falling Down,” “Virginia,” “Queen of the County,” “Marigold,” “Average Joe,” and “Goodnight My Love.”
The Corner Laughers | “Martha (Cincinnati, 1914)” The b-side of the great song “Midsommar,” already playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio, joins its a-side compatriot on the air, which is as it should be. According to the Laughers, “Martha (c.1885—September 1, 1914) was the last known living Passenger Pigeon; she was named “Martha” in honor of the first First Lady Martha Washington.” “Martha” is an upbeat charmer, sung with harmonic gusto by the golden-voiced Karla Kane. And, in answer to your question, this is how it’s done. Now playing in rotation.
Chris Richards and the Subtractions | Decayed–Ten Years of Harmony and Song It would take at least a mile’s worth of real estate to roll out Chris Richards’ credits, so we’ll settle for a reminder that Chris is one-third of the wonderful super group the Legal Matters. And here’s a fact of all matters: He is, for sure, one of pop music’s greatest talents, whose more recent albums are the source for all but two of the tracks on this lively and entertaining look back at what has come before (two tracks are specific to this release, one of which we’re now spinning on Pure Pop Radio). Our picks to click, now playing in rotation, are: “Consolation,” “Don’t Do Anything Tonight,” “And Suddenly,” “Gracefully,” and “In a Sense” (the aforementioned new song we’re spinning). Chris and his kick-you-know-what band make stuff happen. Boom!
Tamas Wells | On the Volatility of the Mind Melbourne, Australia’s Tamas Wells has long been a Pure Pop Radio favorite. We think On the Volatility of the Mind is Tamas’ best album yet. His musical voice, 11 beautiful songs, melodies that make you weak at the knees, a folk-pop stance and immaculate production are collective proof. We’ve added five excellent songs to the playlist, which are now playing in rotation: “A Riddle,” “I Don’t Know Why She Burned Up All Those Greylead Drawings,” “A Snake Bit at the Quarry,” “The Treason at Henderson’s Pier,” and “An Appendix.”
Aerial | Why Don’t They Teach Heartbreak at School From Aberdeen, Scotland comes the trio known as Aerial. Their second album comes a baker’s dozen years after their debut and proves the old adage that good things come to those who wait. Pure pop, power pop, melodic pop–all flavors, in fact, of pop are in full bloom on this glorious album, certainly one of the best of this year. Hooks abound. We’ve added to the playlist 10 of the 12 songs on School, and they are the title cut, “Japanese Dancer,” “Every Word You Say,” “Great Teenager,” “Madeline It’s Me,” “More than Alcohol,” “Dear Anna,” “Go With You,” “Formative Years,” and “Wave Goodbye to Scotland.” Great stuff.
Jeffrey Dean Foster | The Arrow We’ve had songs from Jeffrey Dean Foster’s last album, Million Star Hotel, playing in rotation since it came out nine years ago. Now comes a new album called The Arrow, which is another feather in the cap of this ultra-talented music man. Jeffrey, who put time in with the Right Profile and the Pinetops before setting on a solo path, sings and plays his heart out, overseen by producers including none other than Mitch Easter and Don Dixon. The music might best be described as pop washed with a slightly southern glow. But, mostly, it’s catchy music by a musician who writes catchy songs that sing. We’ve added seven songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist: “When You Break,” “Morningside,” “The Sun Will Shine Again,” “Young Tigers Disappear,” “Jigsaw Man,” “Hang My Head on You,” and the title cut.
The Most | Moderation in Moderation, Auto-Destructive Art, and Resistance is Useless Retro (sixties) pop in a contemporary mood by way of a great band from Sweden is now spinning in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. The Most bring the beat and melodies to every song on their various releases. We’ve added songs from three of the band’s EPs and their full-length, Auto-Destructive Art, from 2013: “Bad Girl,” “I Got You,” “Really Good,” “I Don’t Want it,” “So Wrong,” “Spiderman,” “Little Girl,” “Easy When You’re Down,” and “The Action.” These tracks collectively deliver a rockin’ and poppin’ good time.
Sir Video | Light Years A very cool and fun side project from popster Timmy Sean, whose songs we have been playing on Pure Pop Radio for a while. Light Years is sorta, kinda dance pop with a melodic pop sensibility. What’s more, it’s infectious and it will put a big smile on your face. How do we know? We’re smiling right now! We’ve added to the playlist four songs from this wonderful EP, including two versions of the title cut–one a soulful, light dance number and the other a gentle acoustic remake. We’re also spinning, in rotation, “(Oh No!) They’re on the Radio” and “Take My Breath Away.”
The Simple Carnival | “Tornado” The Simple Carnival’s recent release, a typically-gentle tune with a lovely melody, is another jewel of a song included in the group’s music video movie, Smitten 3D, currently in production. The Simple Carnival’s Jeff Boller has become quite a star in the 3D video movie world. We’re happy to say we knew him when. Listen for “Tornado,” now playing in rotation. Another long time Pure Pop Radio favorite.
Randell Kirsch | “Smoke is Spreading” A typically catchy pop confection from the legendary Randell Kirsch, from 1990. Randell has probably worked with more top-flight artists than most people can count, from the Beach Boys and the Cowsills to Jan and Dean and Papa Doo Run Run and beyond. Randell is a master of melody, and we simply can not wait until he graces us with a new album. Randell? Over to you!
Day six is now complete. We’ve got more New Music Explosion adds for you tomorrow, so don’t forget to check back for the list. Thanks for reading, and thanks, as always, for listening to Pure Pop Radio!