Welcome to day four of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion. Are you ready to pop? We certainly are; this week (and next; see below) we’ve been adding hundreds of new songs and artists to our playlist. You’ve been following the fun, so you know: Once you get started, it’s hard to stop!
So we’re not going to. Our New Music Explosion will continue into next week. We’re getting very near 7,000 songs playing in rotation. That’s a whole lot of great music for you to enjoy!
Okay, then–it’s time to roll. Here we go. Here’s a Thursday mini-list of two very special, newly-added-to-our-playlist albums. There’s lots more coming. We’re here to wow you. Let’s go!
Cloud Eleven | Record Collection We started out in melodic pop radio back in 2005. We point this out to demonstrate how far we go back with many artists. In the case of Cloud Eleven’s Rick Gallego, we go back to 1996, when he released a compilation of 14 songs under the name Jiffipop. Thanked in the notes to that CD, called Demolicious, is Zane Drake, who pops up on Rick’s new album, playing guitar on two cuts. Which, in the scheme of all things holy, is interesting and important. Rick has been creating great pop music for a very long time; Record Collection, a superb, career-defining album releasing this coming August, is his best yet and will, if our prognostication skills are keen, be right up there on this year’s best-of lists.
As well it should be. With Record Collection, Rick has further shaped his sound into distinct parts that together form the melodic center of 11 grand constructs that fall under the heading of melodic, not power, pop. The title track, sporting a decidedly Beatley, “Penny Lane”-ish vibe, spiced with Probyn Gregory’s flowing trumpet parts and Nelson Bragg’s drums and joyous sleigh bells, sets the stage and perfectly outlines the job of the songwriter: “I take my time and make them rhyme/Day after day/The melody and the harmony/Come together for your pleasure naturally, sincerely.” Is that the lyric of the moment, one that successfully and succinctly peers into the songwriter’s soul? Indeed it is. (Both Nelson and Probyn appear throughout these songs.)
And is “Too Soon Was Yesterday” the stylistic musical marriage of the moment? Surely, this Burt Bacharach-meets-Paul McCartney-meets-Brian Wilson number is an astounding piece of inspiration, well played. The punctuating piano, topped by Probyn’s flugelhorn and moved along with care by Nelson’s drums, sits comfortably as Rick’s emotional vocal tells the tale of a love lost yesterday. “What If I Found You” marries an opening reminiscent of the Young Rascals’ “A Girl Like You” to a song whose production reminds me of Bones Howe’s work with the Association. The album’s one true power pop nod is the upbeat “A Sadness in Sorry,” which also manages to tip the scales towards the softer side of the pop scale.
Throughout the whole of Record Collection, Rick’s instrumental facility is second to none; there is seemingly no instrument he doesn’t put his hands on and make beautiful sounds with. Electric and acoustic guitars, bass, harmonium, mellotron, tubular bells, organ, pedal steel, and an authentic Indian sitar on the atmospheric “Indian Guru,” which offers up acute Beatles intonations in the intro, only scratch the surface. Also in the spotlight: popster Seth Swirsky, who plays lead guitar on “40 Below,” about a girl who builds an impenetrable wall around herself: “”She’s so cold, she’s 40 below/Turning hearts to ice, tears to snow.”
And there’s more, but we simply can’t cover it all, because then what would be left for you to discover? Turns out there’s plenty of joy to go around. Rick’s missive at the bottom of the inner credits panel of the package ring true: “Find Peace. Find Happiness.” There is a lot of both to be had here. Record Collection is absolutely, positively not to be missed.
(We’ve added the entire album–all 11 songs–to our playlist. Ladies and gentlemen, you’ll be enjoying the title track, “The Mystic’s Mistake,” “Along With You,” “High as the Rising Sun,” “Too Soon Was Yesterday,” “40 Below,” “What If I Found You,” “Indian Guru,” “As You Are,” “A Sadness in Sorry,” and “Let Us All Find Peace.”)
William Duke | The Dark Beautiful Sun William Duke’s new and absolutely wonderful collection of songs, recorded over a five year period, evokes the spirit of the Southern California sound from the 1970s, except these are the ’10s and William makes beautiful music in Northern California. So much for the game of Where Things Come From.
In any case, these songs are among the most effortlessly flowing melodic wonders we’ve heard all year. The toe-tapping opener, “The Golden Ring,” finds William channeling the vocal and instrumental style of early Bob Dylan. Another such toe-tapper is the delicious “Many Years Away,” which features harmony vocals that delight. “The Truth Comes Out at Night” weaves a slower tempo ballad into a faster gallop of a song to more than simply pleasing effect. It’s quite tremendous.
We’re playing nine tracks: “The Golden Ring,” the title song, “Sons and Daughters,” “Many Years Away,” “The Truth Comes Out at Night,” “Just Lookin’ for Some Sleep,” “The Great Escape,” “Summer Side of Life,” and “Your Laughter Fills the Room.” A nice surprise from a talented artist. We’re happy to be spinning these songs in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
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We’ll be back tomorrow with another list of new songs and artists added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Why not click on one of the handy listen links below and join your fellow melodic pop music fans as they (and you) enjoy the greatest pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today! See you tomorrow!