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.
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!
You just never know what Ken Michaels has up his sleeve for the third, themed segment of his weekly Beatles extravaganza, Every Little Thing.
On tonight’s show, coming up at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio, Ken travels back to the year 1976, when the Steadicam was first used in Sylvester Stallone’s groundbreaking film Rocky, Alex Haley published Roots, The Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” was Record of the Year at the Grammy awards, and, oh yes, America celebrated its Bicentennial on the fourth of July. Also in 1976: Wings Over America, a power-packed triple-record set documenting Wings’ American tour from earlier that year, was released to thunderous applause from fans.
Ken not only plays a track from Wings Over America, he plays three more Beatles solo songs that were released that year, including Wings’ “Beware My Love,” George Harrison’s “It’s What You Value,” and Ringo Starr’s “I’ll Still Love You.” A very special set chronicling a very special year, all for you tonight.
But that’s just the capper on a show full of great offerings! Ken puts John Lennon’s album Mind Games in the spotlight and rolls out an opening set that blasts the Beatles’ “Dr. Robert” and “Slow Down” through your speakers.
It’s another Every Little Thing for the ages, folks, and you won’t want to miss it. Tonight. 9 pm ET. Enjoy!
We hope you’ve been enjoying our daily updates regarding the new songs and artists that have been added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. We’re now spinning more than 5,200 songs in rotation–more than likely, the largest melodic pop library of any radio station anywhere. And, as we’ve said many times this week, we’re just getting started!
Here’s another sampling of the new music we’re now playing in rotation on our airwaves on day four of our New Music Explosion, kicking off with…
Zero Hour Records’ Power Pop Unplugged Vol. One The fine folks at Australia’s Zero Hour Records have been proudly flying the power pop flag with the goal of spreading the word worldwide about the music they love. Most recently, a tribute to Dwight Twilley has kept the conversation going, and soon a tribute to Cheap Trick will make its debut. Now, a wonderfully rich collection of acoustic versions of great power pop songs has been released, anchored by familiar and perhaps not so familiar artists. We’ve added a baker’s dozen tracks to our playlist from the 22 featured on the CD. You can’t go wrong with our picks, great versions of great songs by great artists: Lisa Mychols’ “Go All the Way,” Russell C. Shaddox’s “Girl of My Dreams,” Rob Bonfiglio’s “Earn Enough for Us,” Stephen Lawrenson’s “Feel,” Jeff Shelton’s “Life is Right,” Paul Costanza’s “No Matter What,” Jonathan Rundman’s “One World,” Bill Lloyd’s “Surrender,” Jeremy’s “I Can’t Hide It” and “Your Very Eyes,” Marc Platt’s “What I Like about You,” The Ringles’ “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo,” and the Takers’ “Timeless Melody.” They’re all playing now, in rotation. Dig ’em all.
The Well Wishers | A Shattering Sky Jeff Shelton, an old hand at great power pop, always puts on a good show. For proof of this, tune in to Pure Pop Radio to hear any of the seven songs we’ve added to our playlist from the Well Wishers’ fantastic new album: “Vincennes,” “Sheila Shake,” “Right Here at Last,” “Goodbye,” “Bring it Back,” “The Last to Fall in Love,” and “When the Time Comes.” You look power pop up in the dictionary, you ought to see Jeff’s picture next to the definition. It’s that simple.
Rob Bonfiglio | Freeway And, next to Jeff Shelton’s picture in the dictionary there should be one for Rob Bonfiglio, who’s been releasing wonderfully catchy pure pop songs for a good long while. Radio, are you listening? Every station worth its salt should be playing songs like the five we’ve added to the Pure Pop radio playlist–singable, hummable music that makes you feel good. Pure pop for the masses. Here is what is now playing in rotation from Freeway: “Lonely World,” “I am Tomorrow,” “Throw Me a Line,” “Best Plans Never Made,” and “Golden State.”
The Forz | The Forz These Boston boys, who take their cue from 1960s pop and rock conventions, grind out 15 catchy tunes on their debut album. It’s quite the corker and very well done. We especially love the manic, Merseybeat-styled “Sleep Deprived” and the equally Mersey-esque, mid-tempo, clapalongable “Today.” Both are now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio, along with “Back to You,” “Meant for Me,” “Night and Day,” and “What Can I Say.” We love this kind of stuff, and we’re thrilled to have this band on our air.
Greta Gertler and the Extroverts | Edible Restaurant Before Greta and her husband Adam formed the Universal Thump (songs from that self-titled album are now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio), she was making records of her own, including this one, which was released in 2010. Greta writes beautiful songs; her piano and lovely, expressive voice bring them to brilliant life. Think Laura Nyro, if you need a comparison. Maybe wedge in a bit of Kate Bush, if you feel so inclined. This is great melodic pop music, and we’re pleased as punch to be featuring it on the air. We’ve added six songs from Edible Restaurant to the playlist: the title cut, “Bessie,” “Good and Simple,” “Bergen Street,” “If Bob was God,” and “Uniform.” They will melt your heart, in a good way.
Kylie Whitney | Something About Ghosts Soulful, true and heartfelt, Kylie Whitney arrives on the pop music scene in a big and glorious way with a dozen songs that speak to the soul. From the ’60s vibe of girl-group-esque, hit-song-worthy “Bad News Baby” to the emotionally charged “On Hold,” this album makes the grade, and then some. This woman has a voice that can convey any emotion with authority. She does a great job of painting a brave, tender wash on Don McLean’s classic “Vincent.” Produced by Michael Carpenter, who plays at least a boatload of instruments on this album and co-wrote most of the songs with Kylie, Something About Ghosts shines the right amount of light on the world this talented singer conveys. A great record, and we’re playing all of it in rotation: “Heretic,” “Bad News Baby,” “Saturn,” “I Can Make You,” “Vincent,” “On Hold,” “Mermaids,” “You’re Just the Blues,” “Tealight,” “We Can’t be Friends,” “Heartbreak Heaven,” and “You Won’t Change.” Top-notch all the way.
The Staffords | It Kills Me Hailing from Australia, the Staffords are a wonderful band that specializes in tuneful pop and roll, all of it catchy and very cool. Their debut album is a must-listen for all pop music fans; we’re now playing, in rotation, five songs from it: “Nobody Home,” “Passing Ships in the Night,” “It’s Not Funny,” “Hollow to the Core,” and “Poor Me.” It Kills Me drops on October 27–don’t miss it.
Javier Escovedo | City Lights This 2012 release, the first solo album from Javier Escovedo, follows his stints in the Zeros and True Believers. There’s a nice mixture of upbeat pop and roll and slower, melodic mid-tempo ballads, all with deep hooks, catchy melodies and a distinctive sound that draws listeners in. We’ve added five songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist: “Tonight is Gonna Be Better,” “See You Around,” “The Music Keeps on Playing,” “As Another Day Passes By,” and “Just a Dream.”
Also added this week:
The New Pornographers | Brill Bruisers Four great songs from the latest release from everybody’s favorite supergroup have been added to our playlist: “Brill Bruisers,” “Champions of Red Wine,” “Marching Orders,” and “Another Drug Deal of the Heart.” Wonderful.
Music Go Music | Impressions We’re spinning a couple of tastes from this recently-released album, the band’s first after a long layoff. “Love is All I Can Hear” and “People All Over the World” are blessed with a cool, retro feel and sound like a million bucks. We’re happy to have them spinning in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
And so, day four of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion comes to an end. We hope you enjoyed this week’s additions to our playlist. Much, much, much more coming next week and on into the weeks that will follow. Thank you for reading and for listening to our 24-hour-a-day mix of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe!
Pure Pop Radio is committed to bringing you the latest and greatest melodic pop music from your favorite recording artists and artists who will quickly become your favorite recording artists. We scour the globe for the coolest sounds around.
This week, and in the weeks to come, we’re adding many hundreds of new songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. We’ve already told you about a good number of songs and artist’s we’ve introduced to our airwaves. Here’s a bunch more:
Brandon Schott | Verdugo Park Brandon Schott’s latest taster for his upcoming album, provisionally titled Crayons and Angels, is a phenomenal three-song collection featuring two songs that will be unavailable elsewhere. That alone is reason enough to jump on this masterful creation. These two tracks–a lightly-psychedelic instrumental called “Lapiz Lazuli” that takes its inspiration from the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” and runs wild with it; and a delightful cover of Robert and Richard Sherman’s lovely 1962 soundtrack song, “Castaway”–are classics in their own right. But the main draw here is the title cut, a delectable mix of Brian Wilson and Harry Nilsson-esque melody and inspiration that is beyond the heights that inspiration usually takes you. We’re playing all three of these songs in rotation. We can’t wait for you to hear them.
Dave Caruso (Part One) | Cardboard Vegas Roundabout We raved about Dave’s miracle of an album a few weeks ago, and rightly so: it’s one of the best releases of this or any year. This is what you get when a talented multi-instrumentalist puts pen to paper and crafts songs that not only pay homage to his musical heroes but also incorporate his own, unique way of drawing out a melody and topping it off with words that tell a commanding story. From the Beach Boys homage (also sporting a dash of Carpenters spice), “Champion,” to the astounding, tight harmony singing that kicks off and populates the beautiful “I’ve Tried to Write You,” this is an album that, as Paul McCartney once sang, is warm and beautiful. We’re playing five songs in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: the aforementioned “Champion” and “I’ve Tried to Write You,” “The Art of Erica,” “It’s a Great Day for the Angels,” and “Shelter.”
Dave Caruso (Part Two) | Elizabeth Parker Before releasing Cardboard Vegas Roundabout, Dave recorded an EP that is just as captivating. We’re playing four songs in rotation: the title track, “I Can’t Be On Time,” “If I Died Today,” and “Letter to My Ex.” A double dose of Dave Caruso will do you good!
Swan Dive | Soundtrack to Me and You The art of song that sweeps you off your feet with marvelous melody and peerless songwriting is practiced on Swan Dive’s 10th album, Soundtrack to Me and You. Molly Felder’s sent-from-heaven-above vocals bring Bill DeMain’s wonderful songs (co-written with Kelly Jones and Mike Viola, amongst others) to life, and what a great life it is. From the Buddy Holly-meets-Everly Brothers vibe of “Good Things” to the breezy, free and easy mid-tempo ballad “Sweet Summer Fling,” this is as good as pop music gets. We love this album so much that we’ve added all of the songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist: “Sweet Summer Fling,” “Flipside of Loving You,” “Soundtrack to Me and You,” “Star Crossed Lover,” “Missing,” “I Can See What’s Coming,” “Brief Interlude,” “Slim Willie Dunn and the Gin Bottle Four,” “Wrong Number” and “Good Things.” Wonderful stuff.
Andy Reed | Oddities and Entities Much-loved musician, producer and engineer Andy Reed, who moonlights as one-third of the much-loved band the Legal Matters and records under the band name An American Underdog, has a long history as a maker of fine records. This history is reflected in the grooves of this enticing, catchall collection of 22 previously-released and unreleased gems. From the pure pop pleasures of “Smile, Look and Listen” and “The Ballad of…” to the gorgeous, beautifully sung and played “Crazy Things,” there’s no end to the pleasures on offer. We’re happily playing the aforementioned songs, plus “Make Up Your Mind,” “Always on the Run,” “Summertime,” “The Criminal,” “Novacaine,” “Your Reign is Over,” “Extraordinary Boy” and “Beautiful Dreamer,” in rotation.
Lisa Mychols 3 | Lisa Mychols 3 Resting comfortably somewhere between the sound of her last record, Above, Beyond and In Between, and, say, an early Who album, Lisa Mychols 3 blasts a half-dozen sweaty workouts in just over 17 power-punched minutes. As is always the case with Lisa, melody is king, but so too are the ace riffs and killer guitar work. We’re playing the entire EP in rotation: “Back to the Truth,” “Bruce Foxton,” “Ready for Action,” “Right on Time,” “Story in Your Mind,” and “The Fool.” This collection will not be denied!
Party Boat | “Little Fish” and “Don’t Stress” Charming, melodic pop music is a big part of Pure Pop Radio’s broadcast day. We’re proud to bring you these two songs from the four-piece band Party Boat. With echoes of sixties and seventies song conventions, and a strong sense of melody, these guys are a collective to watch.
Pat Walsh | Three Ukelele Songs Pat Walsh is a longtime favorite of Pure Pop Radio. We eagerly wait for and play something from just about everything he records. When we found out that Pat had waxed some songs based around one of our favorite instruments, the ukelele, we did that dance that one does when one is deliriously happy. We’ve got three uke tunes playing in rotation that Pat recorded with the help of his co-producer and musical cohort, Billy Gewin: “Blackberry Morning,” “Right Time,” and “Someone’s Waiting.” We’re on Team Pat and we’re working along with his other fans to make him a household name. Join us, won’t you?
The Sunchymes | Through My Eyes Recording as the Sunchymes, Aaron Hemmington’s music is, according to his Facebook page, a “summery fusion of power pop and psychedelia.” We concur, and we bring you a pair of recent tracks to hear in rotation: the “Summer 2014 mix” of “Through My Eyes,” and a cool version of the Beatles classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Wonderful!
Ali Ingle | The Good for Nothing Demos We’ve been following this young British singer-songwriter for some time, and we like what we hear. Here are four demos that point to even bigger, melodic work to come: “First Punch,” “Paris,” “Leaving Home,” and “Sit this One Out.” This lovely quartet of tunes can be downloaded for free on Ali’s Soundcloud page.
So that’s day three of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion. We’ve got so much more new music to report to you–stay tuned to the Pure Pop Radio website and, of course, Pure Pop Radio for much, much more. Happy listening!
Welcome to Day Two of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion, or, as it’s also known, Another Day in the Life of the Ever-Growing Playlist!
We’ve already added hundreds of new songs to Internet radio’s biggest, deepest and most varied collection of melodic pop songs, and we’re not done. We will, in fact, be adding even more tunes over the coming weeks. We’ve got lots of surprises in store, so keep checking back for the latest rundown.
Let’s put the spotlight on some of the latest and greatest songs and artists to be added to our playlist. Today’s gallery? Glad you asked. Here we go:
Maxi Dunn | “Perfect Sorrow” We literally just got this song in last night. A quick spin, and another spin after that, and we were moved to get this on the air right away. We’ve loved Maxi’s music so much (her last album was a hit on the air) and we’re always thrilled to hear something new from her. The first fruit of her recent recording labors is this fantastic song and production, an imaginative burst of creativity that has more than a bit of Kate Bush in its DNA. Add in a great melody and vocal interplay that is really quite impressive and you’ve got another classic from one of pop music’s brightest stars. It’s now playing in rotation. You’re going to love it.
Vegas with Randolph | “The Girl Holding Out for Me.” The first song from our local, Washington D.C. musical cousins’ upcoming album is a typically catchy, power popping number blessed with an intoxicating melody, superior musicianship (loud guitars, plugged-into-the-wall drums and other really cool stuff), sumptuous harmonies and that certain something that always makes Vegas with Randolph’s songs pop. We’re thrilled to have this tune in rotation. Tune in for it and keep an ear out while listening to Pure Pop Radio for lots of other songs from Vegas with Randolph’s ever-growing catalog.
Dana Countryman | Pop 2! The Exploding Musical Mind of Dana Countryman Even if we weren’t in love with the sweet pop sounds of the early 1970s–even if our hearts weren’t married to such classic, melodic songs as Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes),” the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You,” and Gallery’s “Nice to Be with You”–we would be in love, love, love with Dana Countryman’s music. If 2014 were 1972, all would be right with the world. All is right with Dana’s wonderful, just-released album. We’ve added seven songs to our playlist: “Baby, I’ll Be Your Star,” “The Summer I Turned Seventeen,” “Good Radio Day,” “And Suddenly, Love Just Happened,” “Just Look into My Eyes,” “How to Make It In Hollywood,” and “You’re My Heart and Soul.” They’re now spinning in rotation, and Pure Pop Radio sounds all the better for it.
Mothboxer | Sand and the Rain This British band, led by the wonderful songwriter and performer Dave Ody, continues to amaze with pop songs crafted with care, heart and a boatload of talent. This fourth long-player–Mothboxer’s best yet–is overflowing with great songs. We liked them so much that we decided to add all of them to the playlist. And they are: “One and Only,” “Looking Out for Summer,” “In the Morning,” “We’re All Out of Our Minds,” “Everything’s Changed,” “Stop,” “Sand and the Rain,” “Take Me Down,” “On Your Side,” and “All that I Want.” One of the best releases of 2014, for sure. [Bonus: We’ve also added terrific covers of two songs that Mothboxer has recorded. They’ve put their considerable stamp on two classic pop songs: Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows” and Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels.” Beautiful.]
Vanilla | “The Angel of Swain’s Lane” The sixth song from Vanilla’s upcoming, musically diverse album 2.0 (one song a month (give or take) will be released until the record is complete) is, according to head flavor Jayson Jarmon, “a 19th-Century style waltz about a famously overgrown, haunted cemetery in London. Nice early autumn Halloween fare.” And this being mid-October, well, pretty timely. Sung with deep emotion and old world style by Carl Funk, the song’s first verse sets the stage: “The Angel of Swain’s Lane is calling me again/She shines through the railings/And sycamores wailing/ A figure of pity and pain/The Angel is crying again.” Short and sweet and full of three-dimensional atmosphere, this is quite unlike anything you’ve heard in pop music this year. Or years, even. Truly outstanding all around, and now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
The Difficult Stranger | “Fall in Love with You” Direct from Cebu City in the Philippines comes this quite accomplished three-piece band fronted by the talented Michael Anthony Curran, who wrote and sings this classically-styled slice of power pop. Melodically rich and quite singalongable, we think you’ll look forward to this band’s next release. We know we will.
Nick Piunti | “Time Machine” Nick Piunti, who just this past May released a great pop album called 13 in My Head, has already released a new song destined for his next album, which he decrees will not be called 14 in My Head. Sort of an anti-walking-down-memory-lane song, “Time Machine” is a humdinger of an upbeat power pop number with loud guitars, an awesome riff, great harmonies and an intoxicating melody. Now playing in rotation, this is another great song from a great talent.
Michael Oliver and the Sacred Band | “Sabina” This song, which we reviewed here on the Pure Pop Radio website, is “an expertly crafted, lovely, mid-tempo ballad–a heartstring tugger about loss, about sensory memory, about love, about life.” That’s what we said in our review. We also said this: “Michael says the song is about a cat or life. Yes and yes.” All of these words are still true. Slated to appear on Michael’s upcoming album, now being recorded, “Sabina” is one of those must-hear songs…meaning you must hear it one thousand times. It’s that good. Listen for it playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
Grahame Steinberg | “Mr. Pitchfork” A bonus track associated with the third collaboration between pop music stalwarts David Grahame and Lane Steinberg, “Mr. Pitchfork” is a relatively short, catchy song about the perils of getting involved with the Devil. Don’t, would be the operative suggestion. A cool little number.
The Bobbleheads | Make Yourself Happy On the group’s website, it is stated that the Bobbleheads “have been delighting audiences with their songs of playful yet adult elementary-school infused pop.” We rather think that this is pop music for all ages–music that is fun to listen to and enjoy. But, go on, bring the kids along. We’ve added to the playlist five lively songs from the band’s latest album: “Prove Yourself,” “Mean Girls,” “Get That,” “Turn the Radio On (The Perfect Song),” and “Sofa.” They’re pretty cool, even for adult elementary school.
Secret Friend | Sleeper | “Orbital” Coming up on two years ago, Steven Fox released a gorgeous collection of melodic pop songs on a most wonderful album called Time Machine. The first song from Secret Friend’s early 2015 album, Sleeper, is a quite different beast, about as 360-degree a turn as you might think possible. A seductive arrangement, anchored in a sea of electronic instrumentation a la OMD, gives way to a Pink Floydian sad, yet hopeful, piano riff, a serene melody and a deftly-played acoustic guitar. It’s not really pop, per se, but it’s awfully intriguing and quite memorable and anything from Steven Fox is a must-listen in our book. Different? Yes. Pure Pop Radio worthy? Definitely. And it’s now playing in rotation.
That’s it for day two of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion. And we’re just getting started! Tune in to this site tomorrow for more adds to our playlist. And thanks, as always, for listening!
It’s time to get Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion off to a rousing start! Stand back, folks… here we go…
Kaboom! The music’s everywhere…as it should be! We’ve added hundreds of songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist, and we’d like to introduce you to them. So, with that in mind, just about every day from now through November we’re going to list a healthy number of tunes new to our air. Let’s get it all off and running, shall we? Here are some of the exciting tunes that, as of today, are new to our humble station:
Jamie Hoover | “Honest Work” and “There’s a Place” We’ve been playing Jamie Hoover’s fantastic music on the various versions of Pure Pop Radio for 18 glorious years. So, as you might imagine, when we get word that melodic pop music’s true Renaissance Man is ready to release a new album, we are so there. Jamie is about to release a new collection entitled Jamie Two-Ever and, in advance of that eventuality, we’ve got two songs from it to spin for you in rotation. “Honest Work” is a playful, typically catchy song from Jamie and his Spongetones pal Pat Walters; “There’s a Place” is a tender, emotionally-charged version of the Beatles’ classic. You’ll love them both.
Michael Carpenter | “Too Late” and “I’ve Been Lovin’ You” Pop music auteur Michael Carpenter’s first new release in a very long time is a genius pairing of tunes that help to define power pop in the fall of 2014. We go way back with Michael to 1998, when he was trading by the name Stagefright. We’ve played songs from all of Michael’s releases over the years. We’re thrilled to be able to bring you one of the great thrills of this wonderful pop music year. Welcome back, Michael.
A Band Called Mithras | Genero In a year full of great musical discoveries and exciting music from established artists comes two surprising, head-spinning examples of how to do it. “Monkeyman” is dance pop with a decidedly ’60s mod flavor; “Pretty Cherry Custard” marries a light dance groove with elements of ’60s psych and lovely harmonies. Both songs are aces high and bode well for what’s to come from this great band in the future.
The Del Zorros | Summer Fields A mix of influences as far and wide as the Everly Brothers and the Smothers Brothers (the folk side) helps shape the recordings of these twin brothers who make their home in North Carolina. Their light pop sound is perfect for Pure Pop Radio. We think you’ll fall in love with the nine numbers we’ve chosen from their latest album, Summer Fields, and added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. The songs you’ll hear are “Heading North,” “Lanesville Rag,” “My Old Hometown,” “On the Pond,” “Our Little World,” “Some Days,” “Summer Fields,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Til I See You Again.”
Dermot | Drink Some Water Dermot’s previous collection, 2013’s Pilot, was released under the name Michael Dermot. Now, the name is shorter but just as sweet and the upbeat pop songs are just as wonderful on this glorious EP. We’re now playing all five songs in rotation: “If We Had Never Met,” “I am a Map,” “This Moment,” “Wade,” and “Heaven Help Me (Water Song).”
Robin Gibb | 50 St. Catherine’s DriveThis wonderful, posthumous collection is a warm and fitting tribute to one of pop music’s greatest, most heartfelt voices. Don’t be surprised if tears well up in your eyes while listening to any of the eight songs we’ve added to the Pure Pop Radio rotation: “Days of Wine and Roses,” “Alan Freeman Days,” “Wherever You Go,” “I am the World,” “Anniversary,” “Sorry,” “All We Have is Now,” and “Sydney.” A truly special album and highly recommended to all.
Star Collector | Collected Stars: Live, Demo and Unreleased 1997-1999 The songs of Joe Giddings’ great band from the late ’90s were favorite spins on the early, weekly Pure Pop Radio shows on WEBR. We were sad to say goodbye to the band’s extremely catchy brand of melodic power pop, always featuring great vocals and deep, three-dimensional harmonies. We were thrilled to hear about this just-released collection of new-to-all-of-us tracks and we are just as thrilled to bring you six sterling examples of the greatness that was Star Collector. Now playing in rotation are “Desperate (I’d Do Anything),” “Pet Rock,” “King,” “Lost and Lonesome,” “Already There,” and “Angels Cry.” This great album is now available on Keith Klingensmith’s vital Futureman Records label.
Esa Linna and Milla Maria | “Tonight” Finland’s own Esa Linna, along with Milla Maria, recorded an acoustic version of the Raspberries’ iconic song “Tonight” for Zero Hour Records’ just-released Power Pop Unplugged, Vol. One. There is much more to come on Pure Pop Radio from this compilation, but for now enjoy this wonderful take on one of Eric Carmen’s greatest tunes, a classic power pop nugget.
Sproutless | “Hannah, Are You Out There (Zodiac Mix)” Scott McPherson, from the much-loved band Liar’ s Club, came up with the genius idea to record two Prefab Sprout tribute albums, about which we’ve written previously on this site. This song, originally part of the Insights from Retrospect album, has been reborn as, for lack of a better term, a dance mix (because we have to call it something), but it’s really just a clever, fun re-imagining of a great song. And, boy howdy, does it sound Sprout-esque. It’s now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
Identical Suns | “The Turn” This 10-minute epic exhibits all the colors of the musical rainbow…and then some. A dazzling array of stylistic turns and instrumentation almost demands headphone listening, but we’re pretty sure Todd Stanton and crew will say it’s okay to listen with your speakers. A wide range of influences has gone into this opus–there’s more than a dab of Abbey Road-era Beatles here–but ultimately this is the result of a lifetime of listening to the right records. We’re proud to be spinning this tune in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
That’s it for today. Pretty cool, huh? More is coming tomorrow–every day this week and throughout the coming weeks, in fact, so stay tuned to the Pure Pop Radio website and Pure Pop Radio for the latest adds to our ever-growing playlist. Thanks for reading…and listening!
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!
Tonight at 9 pm ET, Ken Michaels pulls out all of the stops on the 34th edition of his weekly Beatles extravaganza, Every Little Thing.
After kicking off the proceedings with a set featuring the Fabs and an alternate take of “I Don’t Want to Be a Soldier” from John Lennon’s Imagine album, Ken goes microphone-to-microphone with celebrated Beatles author Bruce Spizer and spins a trio of Beatles and solo Beatles tracks, including the still-gear-after-all-these-years “Love Me Do.” And then, in the weekly, third theme set, Ken puts the spotlight on the Beatles and Tom Petty with various Fabs tracks featuring Petty’s musical presence. You’ll hear a song from Ringo Starr’s Vertical Man album, a wonderful take on George Harrison’s “Taxman” from the Concert for George, and other cool cuts.
It’s all for you tonight at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio. Don’t miss it! Show number 25 is right around the bend!
Start practicing your la-la-las and tra-la las, because hundreds of new melodic pop tunes are coming to Pure Pop Radio beginning next Tuesday, October 14. Get ready to step up to the microphone and sing along! Join our explosive event by visiting our Facebook event page. Click here to be magically transported!
We’re adding to the Pure Pop Radio playlist a treasure trove of lovely, melodic pop tunes bursting with catchy melodies and choruses that will make you want to sing along the first time you hear them. Your favorite artists? Check. Newly-discovered gems? Check. Good stuff all around? Check! It’s all coming to your ears beginning next Tuesday.
Get ready for a boatload of new melodic pop tunes that will become your new favorites! It’s all for you on your original, 24-hour-a-day melodic pop music radio station, Pure Pop Radio!
Brandon Schott | Verdugo Park EP | Golden State Music | 2014
A Review by Alan Haber
(Win an autographed copy by filling out the form below)
On this taster for his upcoming album, provisionally titled Crayons and Angels, Brandon Schott again refines and expands on themes he has explored on previous releases, most notably last December’s glorious A/B EP, a split seven-incher anchored by two of his songs (including the wonderful “Henry,” which will appear on the album) and two from his friend and musical compatriot, Andy Reed, who mixed two of the songs here and mastered the EP.
One of the songs on the A/B EP was entitled “Verdugo Park (Part Two).” A beautiful mix of baroque and chamber balladry, sweet psychedelia, and melodic pop conventions, the song introduced its various elements carefully and built to a lovely crescendo with swirling backing vocals, filling the sound stage with warmth and begging the question, “Is there a ‘Verdugo Park (Part One)'”?
Verdugo Park on CD (Gnome not included)
The song “Verdugo Park,” now a reality and the first of three songs here, begins innocently enough with the sound of children playing and living life that collides with a quick cacophony cut off in short order by a lively keyboard and the opening lines, “Verdugo Park is in our backyard, under a clear blue day.” While the weight of a down day may hang in the balance, in Verdugo Park one can find a hideaway where trouble and problems and all of that stuff are secondary to light and love. “Love will lead the way,” Brandon sings on top of a delectable mix of Brian Wilson and Harry Nilsson-esque melody and inspiration.
Two additional songs, neither of which will be on Crayons and Angels, are sterling examples of the power of Schott’s craft. The lightly-psychedelic instrumental “Lapiz Lazuli,” incorporating a healthy dose of inspiration from the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” pairs aural surprises coming from the left and right with a lovely melody realized by three-dimensional background vocals. The track surprises and delights as it drives forward, capturing the listener’s imagination. There is almost an album’s worth of ideas in this transcendent creation, and they’re all alive. Lapiz, or Lapis, Lazuli is a semiprecious stone that is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “probably the sapphire of the ancients.” Really, so like this song.
Brandon Schott wallpaper, new for 2014
Closing with Robert and Richard Sherman’s “Castaway” is a lovely idea, executed with care and compassion. The song, from Disney’s 1962 film In Search of the Castaways, was originally sung by actress Hayley Mills as a slow ballad, anchored by Mills’ hopeful vocal, acoustic guitar, light orchestration, and a decidedly Randy Newman-esque arrangement (before there was such a thing). Schott’s version takes the same tempo but adds a lovely xylophone sound to the original orchestration. His emotional vocal draws the listener in and makes quite an imprint in only a minute and 38 seconds. This is a brave choice for a cover that should be thought of as the definitive version of one of the greatest songs produced by one of our greatest songwriting duos.
The cover art for this EP (seen above) sports a cartoon illustration of a trio of homing pigeons seemingly connected by just one pair of legs. Attached to the ankle of the pigeon in the foreground is a tag that quite rightly says and points to “Home.” That third pigeon, his head cocked to his left side, knows the score: Brandon Schott has hit it out of the park, “it” being another way of describing the realization of so much talent and heart emanating from a single soul.
That the Verdugo Park EP should be a part of your core pop music collection is a truth that is assured. Travel here to order. Alternatively, you can win a copy by filling out the following form. Entries must be received by midnight ET (the witching hour) on October 31. Only one entry per person. Good luck!
If I could turn back the hands of time to, say, the panoramic 1970s, and do it all again, I would take Dana Countryman with me. After a nutritious lunch consisting of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (crusts intact), Ring Dings or Ding Dongs, and plenty of cherry and grape Hawaiian Punch, we would set out our portable record players and one-up each other with the happy, infectious sounds of the decade–the sounds that brought the catchy and peppy melodies to our ears.
In the melody-charged seventies, AM radio blasted pure pop delights out to the masses–great songs like Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)”; Vanity Fare’s “Hitchin’ a Ride”; the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You”; Lobo’s “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo”; Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds’ “Don’t Pull Your Love”; and Gallery’s “Nice to be with You” populated powerhouse music radio stations from coast to coast. These were the days of melody and joyous, hook-filled tunes and they’re back, courtesy of the self-described “neat guy” Dana Countryman. His new album, echoing the sounds of the melodic seventies, is called Pop 2!, and it’s a pure pop delight.
Some day, someone’s going to write a book about this colorful, larger-than-life, state of Washington-based musical mastermind, who, among other things, was in the eighties a member of the popular musical comedy group, the Amazing Pink Things, but until then all you need to know is that Pop 2! The Exploding Musical Mind of Dana Countryman follows in the infectious spirit of the equally wonderful Pop! The Incredible Fantastic Retro Pop World of Dana Countryman in its celebration of the great, hooky songs of days gone by–except Countryman doesn’t do covers. His songs are all original, picks to click, and rising up the charts with a bullet traveling at the speed of sound (well, in a perfect world, anyway!).
Adept at all manner of instrumentation and possessing a golden set of musical pipes, Countryman lays his cards out on the CD player: He’s here to celebrate the kinds of songs they just don’t write and record anymore. His influences, from Gilbert O’Sullivan and Eric Carmen to the Beatles and beyond, are worn on his sleeves and bathed in his own, unique approach to songwriting and production. You can see, on the back of the CD, a sly depiction of Countryman’s “workbench,” with 45s by O’Sullivan and Carmen, and one by the Beatles sporting the warmly-nostalgic old Capitol Records orange and yellow swirl label, in plain view. Also on this “workbench” is a tin of Carpenters gunpowder of the “finest quality.” Seems about right.
Pop 2’s “explosive ingredients” are also listed on the back cover–a dozen songs from the album proper and a pair of bonus tracks. These are the upbeat elements of one of the most addictive albums of 2014. Songs like the dynamic opener, “Baby, I’ll be Your Star,” which comes at you with the speed of a musical locomotive–drums barrel in and a honkin’ hot saxophone takes over–tells the story of a guy who may not come adorned with awards or an entourage but can certainly be “your star.” Containing one of the most seductive middle-eights in memory, this is a heck of a way to open an album.
The lovely mid-tempo ballad “The Summer I Turned Seventeen” showcases and mixes peerless pop balladry with doo-wop and Beach Boys vocalizing to tell the story of love lost to time–love that began and blossomed at such a glorious age and was pulled apart when the girl moved away. Wistful and enchanting at the same time, this is a classic waxing–a song for the ages, for all ages, wrapped in a gorgeous and flawless melody.
Since I’m a sucker for songs about radio, I was immediately drawn to the joyous and pitch-perfect “Good Radio Day,” which describes the appeal of the soundtrack of summer that used to come out of portable transistor radios back in the day. Sporting a lively Carpenters-styled trumpet part played by one Bill Johnson, the song makes the days of blue skies, warm temperatures and radio’s part in it all come alive. “There’s a lifetime left until September rolls around,” Countryman sings, “so crank it up and everybody party down.” Ah, memories!
Dana O’Sullivan, perhaps?
From start to finish, Pop 2! is a wonderful collection of original songs evoking the way it used to be and the way it should be. Guest musicians include Klaatu’s Dee Long, who plays the expressive electric guitar solo on the mid-tempo love number, “And Suddenly, Love Just Happened,” and Countryman’s wife, Tricia, who sings co-lead vocals on the touching celebration of their life together, “You’re My Heart and Soul.”
Dana Countryman is a special kind of wizard, whipping up enticing melodies and producing songs that will stand the test of time whether you’re in a nostalgic mood or looking to the stars in the here and now. Pop 2! is a classic platter that, in some alternate universe, is being spun by two kids sharing their love of music that makes them smile and contributes to the soundtrack of their lives.
Connect with Dana Countryman to bathe yourself in all things Pop 2!Click here to be magically transported!
Now reviewed here at the Pure Pop Radio website is Dana Countryman’s new album, the exquisite Pop 2! The Exploding Musical Mind of Dana Countryman.
Dana’s supplied us with nine autographed copies of this must-have album, which you can read about by clicking here. Nine winners will each receive a Pop 2! CD by U.S. mail. Simply fill in the form below, making sure to type “Dana!” in the Comments box, and send your entry our way.
Entries must be received by Wednesday, October 29 at 11 am ET. Only one entry per person. Good luck!