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.
Tricia Countryman with John Hunter Phillips “Goin’ On” from the forthcoming album Sometimes When I’m Dreaming
Review by Alan Haber
First, there is the song, a nearly perfect expression of love, as Brian Wilson might put it, getting to the heart of it; a joyous celebration of melody and harmony and the ability that one or two or three people have to summon that joyousness from their collective core and build something that will live within us always.
The melody comes from that place. It’s the melody that draws us into the song, and then there are the harmonies, the harmonies that make the hairs on the backs of our necks stand on end and push that button. You know the one–the one that makes you smile, which is payment enough, I suppose, for a musical job so very well done.
Tricia Countryman and singer John Hunter Phillips show their love for melody and harmony with their transcendent version of Brian Wilson and Mike Love’s “Goin’ On,” which originally appeared as the opening track on the Beach Boys’ Keepin’ the Summer Alive, an album teeming with delights, in 1980. Produced by Dana Countryman, these nearly four minutes of bliss stop everything around it in their tracks.
There are the voices, intertwined and perfectly matched, singing ever so sweetly together, and there are the instruments, all played by Dana, save for Mike Marinig’s muscular saxophone, and there is the arrangement, faithful to the original track but tweaked with that certain something that only an artist can bring to the table. As the song plays, you are transported to that place where all around you is still and serene. All you have to do is listen.
I love the sound of this version of “Goin’ On,” and you will too: Listen to Tricia Countryman, with John Hunter Phillips, sing this wonderful song tonight, premiering exclusively on Pure Pop Radio at 9 pm ET (6 pm PT). And listen to it after that, playing in rotation as part of our playlist of 8,500 handpicked melodic pop songs from the ’60s to today. You’ll be glad you did.
This is one of those behind-the-scenes weeks we love to be immersed within. We’d tell you about our super secret projects, but then they wouldn’t be secret, would they? (They won’t be super secret for long!)
Further on from last week’s mega-huge Springtime New Music Explosion, we’re working behind the curtain on some mighty fun stuff for the air and this here website. New interviews! More new music! And other stuff, too! We’re connecting this to that and so on and so forth. It’s crazy in here! So if you don’t hear from us all that often this week, fret not; all will be revealed soonest. We’re building new stuff–fun stuff… fun stuff that you will love to hear and read about. Soon, you’ll know it all!
Keep listening to Pure Pop Radio and enjoy the songs that make up our hand-selected playlist of 8,500 songs and counting. More new songs and artists are being added to our playlist all the time. Click on one of the listen links below and dig the sounds!
Well, back to the laboratory, where things–secret things–are happening, baby! But they won’t be secret for long!
We’ve just finished up our festive Springtime New Music Explosion here at Pure Pop Radio. With hundreds of new songs and artists now playing in rotation on our air alongside our library of 8,500 classic numbers from the ’60s to today, you’re sure to find more than a few favorite sounds that you haven’t heard before.
In case you missed this week’s daily reviews of the latest adds to our playlist, you can immerse yourself in all the fun by clicking here. And even if you did see our reviews this week, you might want to relive the excitement!
We’ve got lots of exciting surprises in store for you. Stay tuned!
The days are bulging with great new songs and albums and artists, so here’s another list of what’s spinning for the first time on Pure Pop Radio–days four and five of our Springtime New Music Explosion combined into one. Let’s start with another incredible long player that’s sure to be a favorite of yours, and yours too. Here is Alan’s review.
Radio Days | Back in the Day You know how it was when you were younger, when the mere hint of a new album from one of your favorite bands put a smile on your face that stayed there until you held the album in your hands, and then stayed there still? That’s how we feel about Radio Days. The band’s new album, set for release on April 23, is their best yet, a great collection of pop and rock and roll that is nothing less than their crowning achievement thus far, and that’s really saying something.
The band’s first record as a trio, Back in the Day was basically recorded live in their sound man’s basement; you can feel the energy dripping off the walls, as if the songs were being played in the original Cavern Club in Liverpool. There is an immediacy to the playing and an emotional intensity in the vocal delivery and instrumental backing. The harmonies are grand. Most of all, there is a strong sense of commitment to making a great album, which is what Radio Days has done.
The sprightly, decidedly Merseybeat-styled opener, “Why Don’t You Love Me Anymore,” conjures images of fans gathered close to the stage, moving this way and that to the beat, almost crying for the joy of the song as wild guitar figures and percussion play to the groove. It’s a spectacular opening number.
There is so much to love here. The energetic, beat-driven “I’m in Love With You”shows off the group’s mastery of the melodic pop form while incorporating both upbeat and somewhat subdued passages. “Back in the Day,” another top-notch upbeat pop song, celebrates the spirit of Badfinger, Raspberries, the Who, and the Knack, and wedges in a sly little key change about two-thirds of the way through. “Smash this Party,” a smart pop-rocker, actually sounds like it could have been recorded by late-period Klaatu.
More wonders abound on this album, like “Subway Station Girl,” with its bopping rhythm and rocking guitar solos played in the early rock ‘n’ roll style (think Buddy Holly); and a mid-tempo ballad, “Betta (Are You Feeling Better?),” that wouldn’t have felt out of place on the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night album. The rest, well, we’ll leave for you to discover for yourselves.
On April 1, we’ll be adding all of the songs on Back in the Day to our playlist: “Why Don’t You Love Me Anymore,” “Rock and Roll Night,” “You Won’t Fool Me Twice,” “Back in the Day,” “Your Words,” “I’m in Love with You,” “You Bring Me Down,” “Out of the Shade,” “Subway Station Girl,” “Best Friend,” “Deep Blue Eyes,” “Smash this Party,” “Never Gonna Make It,” and “Betta.” Prepare to smile.
– Alan Haber
The Jangle Band | Edge of a Dream The band members (Pure Pop Radio favorite Joe Algeri among them) may be spread across Australia, but they come together to forge a solid pop sound on their debut album. Whether they’re dressed in pure pop clothes for the lovely and catchy mid-tempo title song, Byrds-ing it up in the Roger McGuinn-ish “Love You Too” (which includes a beautiful, rubbery vocal line in the chorus and kicks off with a “Be My Baby” drum beat, which seems to be the thing in pop this year), or slowing down to ballad pace with the pretty “Exile on Murray Street,” the Jangle Band is on the case with an album’s worth of catchy delights, beautifully sung and played. We’re playing the aforementioned songs, plus “282,” “It Won’t Break,” “Let Me Breathe,” “This Soul is Not for Sale,” and “Kill the Lovers.” Nice going, guys.
Damien Binder – A New World Sydney, Australia’s Damien Binder is today’s second artist in the spotlight from down under. He fits in well here at Pure Pop Radio, seeing as how his album is co-produced by Michael Carpenter and features Kylie Whitney on backing vocals. Binder’s vocals are strong and expressive, and the playing is exquisite. There is a Byrds-ian edge to “A New World” and “Breaking Beyond Me” (and there you have today’s second Byrds reference); “I Won’t Let You Down Again” has an Abbey Road-period Lennon quality about it; and “What You Call Your Own” is an upbeat pop song with a country sheen. We’re playing these songs in rotation. Welcome, Damien Binder, to Pure Pop Radio.
Solarflairs | “Spirit of Johnny” Memphis, Tennessee’s Solarflairs, fronted by bass player Elisabeth Eickhoff, who also handles lead vocals, hits big right out of the gate with this powerful mid-tempo ballad, a catchy number with great vocal harmonies in the choruses. An understated U2 guitar approach (really) adds an interesting and effective layer to the proceedings. Good work; we look forward to the next release.
Cait Brennan | Debutante This stylistically-diverse debut has been greeted with open arms for good reason–it’s remarkably assured and full of life. “Once Upon a Nevermind” and “Madame Pompadour” are pure pop delights, and “I Want You Back” hits with an amped-up mix of Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello nods and Brennan’s urgent, spitfire lead vocal. The torch song vibe of “Showman” is driven by slightly ghost-like keyboards and churchly organ. We’re playing these songs, and “All in Love is Fair” and “Underworld.” Great stuff.
Stereo Tiger | Performing Songs Stereo Tiger’s latest release, an EP containing five covers of favorite tunes, hits the proverbial bullseye, which is not a surprise around these parts. The band pays tribute to the mighty Beach Boys classic, “Don’t Worry Baby”; bows to the majesty of Badfinger’s “No Matter What”; swoons to Elliot Smith’s “Pretty Ugly (Before)”; and pops out, Paul McCartney-esque style, with Sloan’s “C’mon C’mon (We’re Gonna Get it Started).” Silky smooth pop vocals and ace musicianship abound. This is free at Bandcamp. Snap it up, would be our suggestion. And, of course, listen to these songs here on Pure Pop Radio.
Red Cabin | White Morning Hailing from New York’s Long Island, Jonathan Foster turns in a fine album full of beautiful songs, including the somber, melodic “Fade into You,” the dreamlike “The Look,” and the straight-ahead soft poppy “Dead Man’s Stare.” Like the aforementioned Stereo Tiger release, it’s free at Bandcamp. Enjoy, in rotation, here.
The Alloy Six | “Each Night” These Stockholm, Sweden-based popsters play through a beat-driven, energy-filled number, now playing in rotation. We’re happy to join Jonas, Johan, Staffan, Ola, Per and Mathias on their musical journey.
Jeff Larson | “February Passing Through” We continue to bow to the talents of Jeff Larson, who we’ve been playing for around 18 years on the various incarnations of Pure Pop Radio. This pretty song, with Jeff’s plaintive vocal up front and close, is another feather in his cap, a lovely number that will stay with you through frequent listens. Now playing in rotation.
Michael Kroll | Clamourous This veteran musician plays in a bluesy rock style, singing with a hint of a softened growl in his voice. “Allegiance” is one such number, but the artist paints with other colors, too, as someone who studied the songs of the Beatles might do. “The Light” is a catchy pop song with one foot in the ’60s folk movement; “Young” is the kind of considered ballad ’70s singer-songwriters would have included in the repertoires. “Blue” is a lively, upbeat, catchy song that more than hints at what Kroll would sound like in concert. Now playing in rotation.
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That’s five days of our Springtime New Music Explosion rolled into four–a pretty neat trick, don’t you think? Now, it’s your turn to listen to the above-mentioned songs and 8,500 more playing in rotation on your home for the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today…Pure Pop Radio. Enjoy!
Day three of Pure Pop Radio’s Springtime New Music Explosion is here, and it’s another day to savor. It’s a special day, with a special record to talk about, from Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones. Alan’s review follows; more reviews of music added to our playlist will follow tomorrow.
Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones Little Windows
The release of a new Kelly Jones recording is cause for celebration all by itself. When you find that Teddy Thompson, son of famed singer-songwriters Richard and Linda Thompson, is her performing and writing partner, and singer-songwriter Bill DeMain, a favorite at Pure Pop Radio, has co-written all of the songs, the level of anticipation you experience even before the first note comes out of the speakers is exponentially high.
The rewards you get from experiencing these lovely songs, crafted with care and heart, are many and deeply felt. There is a lot of love in these grooves, and we are playing all of them in rotation.
The sound of this record is pleasingly retro, if retro, at its core, means classically-styled melodies and deep hooks contained within songs that conduct their business and clear the decks for the next numbers. There is a decidedly romantic notion at play on a long player that slips in and out of hand holding echoes of the Everly Brothers at Cadence, Roy Orbison, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, Buck Owens and a thousand other country-pop artists and their golden recordings.
You can feel the connection that Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones have to these songs and, as performers, to each other. Their vocals, silky smooth and in love with every note, sail on through almost, but not quite, effortlessly, but because you know that making music come alive takes commitment and precious time, effortless is not quite the right word. It only seems that way, and, of course, it really isn’t.
Each song here is a treasure, best experienced with total attention paid. This is an emotional record–a record you feel in your bones, that rattles each one in a pleasing way. The playful shuffle of “You Can’t Call Me Baby” tells its tale with precious economy, keeping the beat going with a pounding bass line and kitchen sink drums. “I Thought that We Said Goodbye,” about a couple that just can’t break their bond, is a lovely song that marries Teddy and Kelly’s gorgeous harmony vocals to some nimble, committed acoustic guitar picking. “Wondering” tells the tale of that little twinge that suggests a romantic pairing against a lively four on the floor beat.
Perhaps the quintessential song on Little Windows is “You Took My Future,” a tearjerker of a ballad that chronicles the end of a love affair, at which point all that is left are the memories that anchor the past. Perched atop acoustic guitar accompaniment, the song breathes relentlessly; you can practically feel the air flowing around the vocals. Fittingly, the song closes the album, leaving you wanting more…leaving you wanting to know what happens next.
Produced by Mike Viola, and executive produced by Linda Thompson, Little Windows is like a bright lighthouse shining in the sea, drawing you in. These are songs that stay with you, that continue to resonate inside your soul after they have played–the ones that mean the most. The beating of hearts that is clearly evident as they play is as true as true can be. These songs do not ever wear out their welcome; the record, in fact, isn’t even 24 minutes long. It is just as long as it should be. It is perfect, and we are blessed to be its audience.
– Alan Haber
(Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: All of the songs on Little Windows: “I Never Knew You Loved Me Too,” “Make a Wish on Me,” “Better at Lying,” “Wondering,” “I Thought that We Said Goodbye,” “Don’t Remind Me,” “As You Were,” “Only Fooling,” “You Can’t Call Me Baby,” and “You Took My Future”)
Day two of Pure Pop Radio’s Springtime New Music Explosion (and thank you for joining us, melodic popsters!) kicks off with the explosive new album from the Dowling Poole, this time comprising not only Willie Dowling and Jon Poole, but also Givvi Flynn.
Let’s get started, shall we?
The Dowling Poole | One Hyde Park We’ve long been huge fans of Willie Dowling’s work with Jackdaw 4, which slid upon their disbanding into the Dowling Poole, which found Willie hooking up with Jon Poole from Cardiacs and the Wildhearts. The duo is now a trio, with third member status being bestowed on vocalist Givvi Flynn.
One Hyde Park, the sterling follow-up to the Dowling Poole’s Bleak Strategies, is a clear winner and a virtual tour de force and, if that weren’t enough, it’s an album influenced by sounds from across the pop landscape that doesn’t actually sound like its influences. In other words, it sounds like the Dowling Poole, which is a very good thing.
Three songs stand out especially amongst the dozen on offer. “Willing to Change,” about trying to adopt a positive outlook in the face of so much negativity, is a poppy number with wonderfully-realized moving parts from within which a lovely melody and charmingly rich background harmonies thrive. In the title song, an imagined scenario finds a real London address in the Knightsbridge section of London that caters to the extremely, positively well-to-do getting its comeuppance. Art-pop conventions make for a gripping musical experience. And in the scorching, upbeat, Poole-sung “Fight, Fight, Fight,” the always-endearing pop convention–“ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba”–is actually the prize one gets for fighting for what’s right. Genius.
We’re playing the aforementioned three songs in rotation, plus three more: “Vox Pops,” which incorporates a very Partridge Family-sounding keyboard line and a very Brian May-sounding guitar solo; “Hope and Glory,” an upbeat pop song; and “Bring Back the Glow,” a smooth, rolling ’70s number.
We welcome back the Dowling Poole and, without question, look forward to album number three, hopefully coming not that very long from now to a stereo system near you.
The Sonic Executive Sessions | “Welcome to the Circus” It’s quite possible that this is the only song being written about today that needs no commentary whatsoever. Another just-about-perfect song from the great Christian Phillips, “Welcome to the Circus” is stocked full of Christian’s gorgeous trademark harmony stacks. Oh, and the melody is pretty spectacular. We look forward to the next album of wonders from the Sonic Executive Sessions. Until then, we have this golden nugget, which makes us, and you, about the luckiest people on the planet.
Maxi Dunn | “Apple Blossom” and “Full Circle” Liverpool’s own Maxi Dunn will soon release her new album, Operation Bubble. We’ve added two songs that will appear there–the beautiful, majestic ballad “Apple Blossom,” and the upbeat, toe-tapping pop-rocker “Full Circle.” Operation Bubble promises to be a big winner. We can’t wait.
Alice Bierhorst | The Beacon Produced with great care and compassion by the supremely talented Greta Gertler Gold and her husband Adam D. Gold, known collectively as the Universal Thump, The Beacon is the welcome arrival of a truly lovely album by a truly talented artist. Alice’s pretty songs and her tender, expressive vocals, which recall such titans as Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell and Carole King, are wonderful constructs. Whether delivering a tender ballad (“Better Angels”) or an upbeat pop tune (“Airborne”), Alice is tops of the pops.
We’re playing four songs in rotation: “Our Work is Never Done,” “Better Angels,” “Airborne,” and “Forever You Go.” Top points for the live strings and horns, and the included lyrics. The trifold digipak is particularly welcome. And thanks, Alice, for the lovely music…and the wonderful feather. ♥
Paperhearts | “Laurel Hill” and “A Girl Like That” Here’s a real treat: two songs from a band new to our ears. The pure popper “Laurel Hill” was recorded this past January and produced by Pure Pop Radio favorite Andy Bopp, whose new album we reviewed (read: raved about) and added songs from yesterday; the energetic “A Girl Like That,” with a hint of Byrdsian honey, was produced by the group’s bass player Jim Grice. Both songs were written by Mike Smith and will be featured on Paperhearts’ forthcoming album, Candygram. Something to look forward to, for sure. Thanks to Trax on Wax’s Gary Gebler for turning this group onto us.
Deep Six | “No I Haven’t a Clue” and “Heading for a Fall” Another group new to our ears, Heavy Soul Records’ Deep Six is composed of musicians from ’80s mod bands the Threads, the Upper Fifth, and Makin’ Time. “No I Haven’t a Clue” is a pure pop stomper with a great melody and, as you might expect, a great hook. “Heading for a Fall” comes to us in demo form; it’s a catchy upbeat tune you might expect to hear around the campfire, if you’re so inclined. Great stuff, and a four-song EP will be on its way in June.
The Carousels | “Lord Speed My Hurricane” and “Like a Loaded Gun” Look no further than the Byrds and like-minded artists for at least a few of the influences on this band whose home is the distillery town of Keith in northeast Scotland, where Chivas Regal whiskey hangs its bottles. Melody fans will savor these songs which constitute the two sides of a new single. Joyous.
Gillian Nicola | “Oh Marie” From Hamilton, Ontario, Canada comes Gillian Nicola, a classically-trained vocalist whose “Oh Marie” is a taster track from her forthcoming EP, No Place to Call. The mid-tempo song is a melodic triumph; Gillian’s commanding vocal takes center stage with an affecting performance. We think you’ll be as enthralled with this song and performer as we are. Now playing in rotation.
Loop Line | Wakes “Luke lives in Phoenix,” we find out by perusing Loop Line’s Bandcamp page.”Paul lives in Minneapolis. We make music together with the help of the Internet.” And with that information in our pocket, we play Loop Line’s music and we like what we hear. “Nothing About You” and “Parts Unknown” are terrific, upbeat pop songs with solid hooks, and what more could you realistically want?
Samantha Tieger | “I’m in Love” Cincinnati, Ohio’s own Samantha Tieger turns in a catchy pop song with an affecting vocal and a really nice melody. This one would sound pretty good on the radio–hey, we can do something about that! We’re eager to hear more from this singer-songwriter who scribes musically in English, Spanish, and French. Now playing.
Don Dixon and Dave Caruso | New Pure Pop Radio IDs Pure Pop Radio favorites Don and Dave work their vocal magic (separately) for our humble station, turning in new IDs that are sure to please. Magic? Indeed.
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Day two of Pure Pop Radio’s Springtime New Music Explosion is in the books. Time for day three of our festivities, kicking off tomorrow. See you then. While you wait, why not click on one of the listen links below and hear the above-mentioned new adds to our playlist and more than 8,500 other handpicked songs. Pure Pop Radio is taking care of your melodic pop needs!
Can it really be spring? Certainly, the calendar says it is, and so does the merry mood in place here at the always harmony-filled Pure Pop Radio headquarters. Here on the first of five days of our Springtime New Music Explosion, we’ve got a ton of new songs and artists to tell you about; we’ve added hundreds of new tracks to our playlist, all of them currently spinning in rotation.
So without further ado, let’s get to the business at hand. Beginning today, and continuing through this Friday, we’ll be telling you all about the new sounds sizzling on our air. We kick off today’s list with our exclusive airing of tracks from what is surely one of the great albums being released this year.
Andy Bopp | Blisters and Thorns Leave it to longtime pop patriot Andy Bopp to put together one of the finest collections of catchy songs that will likely see release this year. Blisters and Thorns shines from first song to last. Like Andy’s great recordings released under the band name Myracle Brah, these songs place their melodies and hooks center stage, right where they should be. It’s an exciting collection, and we’re the first radio station to play them.
Where to start with a collection that more than makes the grade with each song? The lovely, mid-tempo “Hello” scores with gorgeous, fluid pedal steel lines (also heard on the catchy “Every Word”) and Andy’s emotional vocal. A strong drum track shines on the upbeat “Every Word” (the thrashing cymbals add an extra measure of zing). The pretty ballad, “Lowe,” rides with understated banjo and pedal steel parts and Andy’s committed vocal.
Through two decades, Andy Bopp has graced pop fans with 15-plus albums and countless, thrilling musical moments that have stood the test of time. The songs that make up Blisters and Thorns, a quite great and important album–one of the very best of this still young year–are equally superlative. We’re the first radio station to be playing these songs ahead of their release (not yet scheduled). Seven of them are now playing in rotation: “Lowe,” “Minneapolis,” “Hello,” “Every Word,” “Simple Things,” “Broken Ties,” and “Red Eye.”
Supported by an ace group of talented players, including Pure Pop Radio favorite Nick Bertling, Warren Boes, Andrew Grimm, Brian Simms, and J Robins, who co-produced this album with Andy and mixed the songs, Andy has made a truly wonderful long player. Awesome.
Pop 4 | “Help is On its Way” Everything this quartet of pop magicians touches turns to gold, as evidenced by their exciting cover of Little River Band’s “Help is On its Way,” one of the songs collected on radio station WFMU’s Super Hits of the Seventies: Hit Explosion!, which is tied into the station’s 2016 fundraiser.
Recorded exclusively for this compilation, Pop 4’s spirited take on “Help is On its Way,” a top 15 tune on the Billboard chart back in 1977, nearly eclipses the original’s lovability factor (we totally dig the chug-a, chug-a, percussive guitar hits, the groovy guitar solo, and the sly little key change leading into the instrumental playout). The group’s Scott McPherson, Andrea Perry, KC Bowman and Kirk Adams take this classic song at a bit of a faster pace and with a little more panache (yes, we said panache). Why cover such a favorite tune? The following text is presented in the liner notes for Super Hits of the Seventies: Hit Explosion!:
“We nominated KC to be producer of our cover song and he chose this song because he loved it as a kid, partly because it was unusual subject matter for a pop hit in the 70s. Other songs were about boogie, pina coladas, werewolves, skeezy romance. This song was about being totally inside your own head. And it has an undeniable chorus hook. Sounds like a commercial jingle. Plus we wanted [to] do something that hasn’t been covered to death and isn’t in heavy rotation in karaoke bars and classic rock/oldies radio. And, it was the fourth biggest selling single in Australia in 1977, which makes it a legitimate lost classic.” Word, right? Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio, where the members of Pop 4 have open seats at “the table.” Place settings included.
Miami Dan and the Hayes Street Band | The Days Ahead Speaking of superlative, Miami Dan’s latest release, a terrific and too-short EP, should find pride of place in melodic pop collections worldwide. Exhibiting a sharp melodic sense, these songs, beautifully arranged and full of deep hooks, are among the best this artist has delivered. The title song rolls through with a somewhat relaxed “Be My Baby” vibe; “Broken Shells,” similarly relaxed and tuneful, sings with lovely harmony vocals; and the absolutely gorgeous ballad, “We Tried to Take Love All the Way,” dreamy and sounding like nothing less than a standard that should be covered by the great, popular crooners of all time, is this record’s shining star. We’re honored to be playing these songs in rotation.
The Floor Models | Letter from Liverpool The first new song from the Floor Models in 30 years is an instantly memorable, melodic gem, now playing on our air, that sports a catchy melody and jangly guitars (and allusions to the Byrds and Don McLean (trust us on this one)).
The Letter from Liverpool EP is also represented on Pure Pop Radio by the upbeat, rhythmic and catchy “Sittin’ Tight”; a live take of the very Roger McGuinn-esque “The Hand that’s Strong”; and the original acoustic demo of “Letter from Liverpool.”
In 2013, the Floor Models were given a tasty retrospective resurrection by Australia’s Zero Hour Records (the terrific Floor Your Love–highly recommended). Seek it, and this top-flight EP, out. How this group, which comprised Gerry Devine, Andrew Pasternack, Steve Simels and Glen Robert Allen, didn’t top the charts three decades ago is a mystery. Time for that to change now, we think.
Tommy Sistak | “If I Only Knew” And now, something pretty much completely different from the great Tommy Sistak–a song that would have sat comfortably on AM radio playlists back in the golden ’60s alongside the old-timey pop of the New Vaudeville Band. The ukelele and the washboard–certainly the first instance of this colorful instrument in Pure Pop Radio history–propel Tommy’s tune, which he classifies as “skiffle pop,” into the charming track hall of fame. As catchy and wonderful as his previous songs have been, this one may well be our favorite. It might wind up being yours, too. Quite groovy in so very many ways.
The Hour Zero | “See You Again” and “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone” Elsie (aka Lisa) Mychols and Tom Richards thrill with a pair of classic-sounding (think a cross between Blondie and the Ramones), charming and breathless pop ‘n’ roll numbers that feature Elsie’s smooth-as-silk, yet forceful, vocals and a powerful rhythm section. These catchy songs may well peel the paint off of your walls! Both songs are now playing in rotation. More, please!
Pezband | Women and Politics Nearly four full decades after the release of Pezband’s first, self-titled LP, the band is back with a sparkling new EP, recorded more than 30 years ago. Women and Politics remained unreleased until recently, when Frodis Records remastered it and brought it to market. Pezband fans, and power pop fans in general, should rejoice. We know we are. We’re playing two songs from this great release: the ultra-catchy, upbeat slice of power pop, “Waiting in Line,” and the propulsive, rocking, provocatively-titled “Fab Girlfriends.” Powerful? Check. Great harmonies? Check. Wonderful and welcome? Check and check. A truly great release.
Randy Franklin with Jamie Hoover | “Constellation Prize” This Franklin/Hoover co-write, produced and recorded by Jamie, about not being the one the girl wants (the constellation prize), proves instead that nice people finish first, for it is the nice people, in love with great pop music, who benefit from this very Hoover-sounding recording. Catchy as catchy can be, with great vocals and instrumentation, this is a clear winner. Would there be more on the way, we wonder?
The Optic Nerve | “Penelope Tuesday” and “Here to Stay” The Optic Nerve created pure pop music while the 1980s garage rock scene stormed around them. The band released two singles and fizzled. An album was recorded in 2005, but not released. Thankfully, there is a happy ending to this all-familiar story: State Records has put out two of the best songs from that album, both of which are now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. “Penelope Tuesday” is a catchy slice of buoyant melodic pop that surely would have been a mid-’60s chart topper; the soft-pop charmer “Here to Stay” sounds for all the world like a song that Harpers Bizarre might have recorded in the ’60s when they were called the Tikis. A great, important discovery.
Fallon Cush | Bee in Your Bonnet If Bob Dylan were an out and out pop artist while still playing with rock conventions, he would trade his songs under the name Fallon Cush and he’d be called Steve Smith, a Sydney, Australia musician with three-decades of experience under his belt. Bee in Your Bonnet is a top-flight collection of engaging songs that features Smith’s commanding vocals and engaging instrumentation. We’ve added six songs to our playlist, including the poppy, mid-tempo title ballad, and the aluring “There’s a Dark Side to that Moon.” We’re also playing “Less You’re Near,” “Kings Ransom,” “Dorothy,” and “Haunting.” A great long player.
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And so it goes: Day one of Pure Pop Radio’s Springtime New Music Explosion comes to a close. Day two is only a day away, so make it a point to come back here tomorrow for another tour through our latest song and artist adds. Until then, why not click on one of the listen links below to hear the above-mentioned songs and 8,500 more, playing in rotation on your home for the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today…Pure Pop Radio. It’s all happening here!
March Madness® has nothing on Pure Pop Radio’s five-day bounty of new music that kicks off this Monday, March 21st at 6 am ET. You want excitement? Our thrilling, five-day-long Springtime New Music Explosion is stocked full of songs from both new and heritage artists. It’s a melodic slam dunk on or off the court!
Join our Facebook event page and keep up with the latest information on this exciting event by clicking here.
New music, just added to our playlist, will be swirling around our airwaves beginning this Monday at 6 am ET. Each day this week, we’ll be posting our usual, detailed slew of reviews, adorned with colorful thumbnails, of each and every add to our rotation. Need information on the latest and greatest melodic pop music in the universe? Look no further than right here!
We’ve got a ton of new music to tell you about–all of it stored lovingly in our deep library. This is music that comes from just about every corner of the world of melodic pop. We’ve got you covered: power pop, sweet pop, soulful pop, art pop and much more. As usual, we’re playing the soundtrack of your lives!
Be here this Monday, March 21st, beginning at 6 am ET, for Pure Pop Radio’s Springtime New Music Explosion. Stay with us through the rest of the week and beyond for nothing less than the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. Pure Pop Radio is happening!
We’ve got a lot of new music to report to you this week–we’ve added a ton of new songs and artists to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. To kick off our bounty of delights, we present Alan’s feature review of a fantastic EP from one of pop music’s greatest talents.
Cliff Hillis | Love Not War Artists like Cliff Hillis make my job easy by always delivering top-flight releases. Love Not War’s seven musical pearls constitute nothing less than the writing of the book on the pop EP as high art; every song is a dream construct, a marvel of melody and harmony.
From the single-worthy, should-be-hitbound “A Boy Downtown” and “Suicide Doors,” a meeting of the minds that recalls the spirit and sound of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecelia,” to the pop-rocking, Dave Edmunds-meets-Paul Simon “Buddha’s Belly” and the pretty, shuffling “Don’t Drown the Wind,” which satisfies with an entrancing and beguiling wordless harmony section that will make you drop to your knees, Love Not War is another great, early 2016 release that will undoubtedly earn top marks from all concerned at year’s end.
As you might expect, and because it’s the right thing to do, we’ve added the entire lot of these songs to our playlist. So, in addition to the above-mentioned songs, we’re playing “Mayor of Midnight,” “Too Many Songs,” which ends with a lovely, orchestration that absolutely satisfies, and the title track, which has been in our rotation for awhile. Simply fanstastic through and through.
– Alan Haber
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More tomorrow. While you watch the clock tick and tock until then, why not click on one of the listen links below to enjoy the more than 8,400 handpicked songs we have playing on our air? You’ll love them all!
It’s all about the new around here this week. Here in the world of catchy melodic pop music from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s (that’s a whole lot of new!), we’re swimming in a sea of delicious new songs and artists just added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist, including a first-time airing of a major new album by one of your favorite artists.
Yes, it’s all about the new this week here at Pure Pop Radio. There’s so much new music making its way through the airwaves that we’re giving our regular specialty programs a bit of a breather. But don’t worry–Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing, Brian Bringelson’s Needle Meets Vinyl, and the weekly Beatles roundtable, Things We Said Today, will be back before you can say “How was your vacay?”
And yes, we’ve got brand-new editions of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on tap–three brand-new shows as it stands, including a return appearance by one of your favorite heritage artists. But it’s all hush-hush for now…all will soon be revealed. (Just wait until you hear!)
So get ready to feast your ears on some too-cool-for-school new music, and get ready to feast your eyes on our lively reviews, all coming this week to a computer screen near you!
Get ready to enjoy the greatest melodic pop in the universe, right here on Pure Pop Radio!