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.
Pop 4 and Tiny Volcano’s musical ringmaster, Scott McPherson, weaves a tantalizing web of hooks and harmony, punctuated by the occasional making of a mirthful aside or two, on his new Pure Pop Radio lunchtime show, The Weird and the Wonderful, debuting next Wednesday afternoon, October 5, at 1 pm ET here on Pure Pop Radio.
Lunch and catchy tunes are served! Set your midday soup and sandwich combo on your tray table (and don’t forget your cutlery, condiments, and napkin) while you listen to the most excellent, weird and wonderful first episode. You’ll virtually chow down with Scott and hear him play some truly outstanding tracks from The Major Labels, Seth Swirsky, Foxtails Brigade, and Jon Brion, among others, and you’ll dig the hipster lingo coming from special guest “Sammy Davis, Jr.,” who visits The Weird and the Wonderful from the great, swinging beyond. It’ll be a gas, maaaan!
Scott McPherson’s The Weird and the Wonderful airs Wednesday afternoons at 1 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio. Each week, expect a wide-ranging selection of hooks and harmony that will put a smile on your face. Weird? Check. Wonderful? Check. Your regular, weekly lunchtime companion? Indeed. Lunchtime never tasted so good!
Vanilla | “Don’t Lose Your Temper”
A Pure Pop Radio Exclusive Through 9/29
A monkey, a horn section, and a temper tantrum waiting to happen walk into a bar… It sounds like the start of one of those stale jokes that pours through a drinking establishment where equally stale pretzels and drunken callouts for another round of on-tap fill-‘er-ups power through the late, pre-last-call hours, but it’s just another of my catchy headline hustles that set the stage for an exclusive look at the latest musical missive from Tacoma, Washington’s favorite magical, musical sons, the men of Vanilla.
“Don’t Lose Your Temper,” a propulsive, horn-fueled, fast paced, four-on-the-floor romp laced with ska stripes, punchy, Brian Setzer-y guitar runs, and a tasty, plugged-into-the-wall side of King Curtis-like saxophone madness, is the latest entry into the pot of songs that will comprise Vanilla’s next album, Mystik Nights of Takoma. It’s a dazzling doozy of a thing.
Scatter and the King run lines, as actors do
And, it’s monkey-fied. Why, it’s monkey-riffic! Seems Elvis Presley, the forever king of rock ‘n’ roll, had a pet chimpanzee named Scatter, whose story is one of those you-can’t-make-this-s**t-up rock ‘n’ roll humdingers (the Animal Planet cable channel has the tale of this rather rambunctious pet, which you can read here). Jayson Jarmon’s song says “Hey!” to Scatter in an anonymous nod in the bridge. It’s all about the details, folks.
You know the point at which a situation comes to a boil right in your face, up close and perilously personal, and you feel like you’re going to blow all over the joint like Mount Vesuvius? “Don’t Lose Your Temper” is about just that sort of moment, about the very second where it’s nothing less than now or never (love you, Elvis!). It’s that very moment where you get the chance to cool down and walk away. It’s that moment of salvation that’s always the better choice. It’s your ticket to thank-God-I-didn’t-punch-that-guy-in-the-kisser, Three Stooges-style.
With a swinging lead vocal from Sean Gaffney, whose guitar and bass lines shine, and chorus warbling from Jayson and Gavin Guss, drum pizazz from Dana Sims, and the Cliff Colon Trio, whose piercing horns take no prisoners, “Don’t Lose Your Temper” is another feather in the cap of the Vanilla collective.
And remember, it’s monkey-riffic! Now playing exclusively in rotation on Pure Pop Radio (9/27-9/29); in regular rotation 9/30 after that
Where to Get It: Beginning Friday, 9/30 on Vanilla’s Bandcamp page
We’re back, and we’ve got something special for you. Actually, we’ve got a bunch of something specials for your ears. We’re practically bursting with all you need to know about this week’s nighttime broadcasts. Plus, and this is a big plus, we’ve got a new show debuting next week that is like nothing we’ve ever broadcast before. Details coming this Wednesday.
Meanwhile, let’s get down to specialty show business. Jammin’ James Riley’s Catching a Wave, Brian Bringelson’s Needle Meets Vinyl, and the weekly Beatles roundtable, Things We Said Today, are all new this week. Get ready for some must-listen-to programming right here on your number one, 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today.
First up, tonight at 8 pm ET, is an all-new episode of Jammin’ James Riley’s Catching a Wave. Jammin’ James spins an hour’s worth of summery tunes from such diverse artists as King Curtis and the Noble Men, the Fantastic Baggys, the Surfaris, Bruce Johnston, and Los Straitjackets. Wax up your surfboard, get the barbeque going, and tune in for a fun time under the virtual sun.
Wednesday night at 8 pm ET, Anchor and Bear’s Brian Bringelson switches on the Vinyl Only sign to bring you the latest entry in his Needle Meets Vinyl series. Gather round your Internet radio receptacle for a triple-play of Monkees sides and classic numbers from the Beatles, the Both, Bob Dylan, ELO, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, the Rolling Stones, and a whole lot more.
Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman, and Allan Kozinn gather round the microphones on Thursday night at 8 pm ET for a timely edition of Things We Said Today. The Beatles’ Eight Days a Week film, now showing in limited release in specialty theaters and spooling daily on Hulu, is the number one topic of conversation for Fab Four fans. Our esteemed panel covers the plusses and minuses of Ron Howard’s look at the Beatles’ touring years in a show you won’t want to miss.
It’s another week’s worth of top-flight specialty shows, right here on Pure Pop Radio. And don’t miss news of a brand new show coming to our airwaves next week; we’ll have all the details for you this Wednesday.
I’m taking a week off to rest, relax, and watch some baseball (on a better TV than the one pictured at left, you betcha). I’ll see you back here the week of September 26th with more reviews, reports on new songs and artists added to our playlist, articles, podcasts of recent Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation shows (and announcements of forthcoming, new episodes), and probably one or two pictures of me, you know, watching baseball.
Have a great week and listen to Pure Pop Radio! Go [insert your favorite team here]!
Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Monkees, the Posies, McPherson Grant, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more.
Here is another example of what’s new on our air, and it’s a great one…
Goggy | Satellites and Saints It was her first spoken word–not a word that anyone would recognize, mind you, but a word nonetheless. It was the first word that came into her head, that she uttered as she looked at her cat. “Goggy,” she said. “Goggy.”
Many years later, a long period of dedication to her craft logged, piano player/songwriter/one-of-a-kind voice Margrit Eichler has written and recorded a solo record, under the name of Goggy, that retains much of the sound of the band she fronts, True Margrit, even as it sounds somewhat different, but not so much as you might notice.
For one thing, and perhaps the most important thing, Margrit plays all of the instruments, including two kitchen implements that you might not ordinarily consider would emit sounds that would complement a melody: cheese grater and spatula. I would imagine that there is no college course or other mode of instruction that would prepare a musician to use such items to enhance a recording, but the world is a very different place nowadays, so who knows?
Margrit’s sense of melody drives Goggy’s songs, well-written constructs that burrow into your subconscious, constructs that come with a virtual replay button which you virtually press when the urge comes, and it will surely come, to hear one or all of them again. The sound of the digital dialing of a phone number, with the last digit left off and no area code noticeable, prefaces the dreamy “Original Voice.” A sweet piano riff is repeated, and other instruments chime in the mix as Margrit’s treated voice comes in; the affect drifts away and the song slides into gear, building as the seconds pass. In the end, this original voice delivers a song that doesn’t let go.
Another song that doesn’t let go, that mixes the proverbial it up and is really an art-pop mix of sly songcraft and production savvy, “Capsule Crush” pushes pop conventions in the same space as wavy topside machinations, as if Kate Bush were fronting early XTC in a bit more of a subdued way. All the while, melody is king, albeit with the wink of an eye. “Goofed Up on Hopballs” is a more mannered melodic affair, punctuated by what sounds like a theremin pushing a slightly spooky agenda that hangs over the proceedings.
And there is the more straightforward of the bunch. Such is the pretty “Someone Else’s Sound,” which is more or less a sweet sounding musical greeting card, at least until the clever mid-section pounds into earshot. “Blameless and Sky Blue” is more or less a showcase for Margrit’s always-expressive voice played atop her equally vital piano, even as the bottom end shakes for dramatic effect.
It’s always a tricky proposition to reel off the influence of singers and songwriters one hears in certain recordings, but I would be remiss in not adding Joni Mitchell to the list I began with Kate Bush. Aimee Mann, too. Also, Margrit Eichler, in her role as the namesake of True You-Know-Who, because there would be no Goggy if it weren’t for the True sounds of the music Margrit makes with bassist Gary Hobish and drummer Andrew Bacon.
It never is a sure thing, the pop music game, practiced by innumerable singers and songwriters and performers the world over; it’s never a sure thing, yet the mass of folks who dip their toes in the water do so because, well, what else would they do if given the chance? Art is a calling, a pure expression of soul-baring truth, and if there’s a person whose truth telling is her calling card, it’s Margrit Eichler. Goggy’s Satellites and Saints is her current form of expression. Experience it today. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Original Voice,” “Satellites and Saints,” “Capsule Crush,” “Blameless and Sky Blue,” “Goofed Up on Hopballs,” “Someone Else’s Sound,” and “Plenty of Proof.” Where to Get It: Watch this space. Coming soon.
We’re rotating more than 9,000 hand-picked songs, including ones from the following melodic pop treats…
Stephen Bishop | Blueprint I don’t know where I would have wound up on the melodic pop scale had I not been introduced to the music of Stephen Bishop in 1976. The classic, and it sounded like a classic upon first listen, “On and On,” with its gorgeous melody and the iconic lyric “So he takes a ladder/Steals the stars from the sky/Puts on Sinatra and starts to cry” still resonates with me, partly because Ol’ Blue Eyes’s records were spun frequently in my house, but also because I was, perhaps not so secretly and like millions of others, in love with the sound of the Chairman of the Board.
From the album Careless that offered “On and On” as its leadoff track, through to 1978’s miraculous Bish, which included the lovely “Losing Myself in You” and “What Can Love Do,” and the still-hard-to-top Red Cab to Manhattan from 1980, teeming with top-flight songs such as “Little Moon,” “Living in the Land of Abe Lincoln,” and the ingenious title track, and, well, on and on, my love affair with Stephen Bishop’s music has carried me through more than a few decades, through events both happy and sad, and, yes, on and on.
Bishop’s latest album, Blueprint, carries on the tradition the artist set in place 40 years ago. Juggling emotional ballads with a quirky classic and other fine numbers, it is a glorious testament that stands tall in Bishop’s deeply-felt catalog of songs.
The treasures on offer here are masterful. The typically beautiful ballads “Little Bird” and “Someone Like You” contrast nicely with the muscular story song “I’ll Sleep on the Plane,” a quirky, upbeat number that sounds like an outtake from Steely Dan’s Aja. It’s a wild 1970s gangster movie romp in song form. The stars? A beautiful, kind of clueless woman (“She looks just like Emma Stone/Posing for Playboy/As she reads Voltaire”) and her even more clueless guy, who tangles with some rather shady characters.
“Holy Mother,” another beautiful ballad, co-written with Eric Clapton, also shines, as does “It Might be You,” originally heard on the soundtrack of the 1982 Dustin Hoffman film Tootsie. Written by Dave Grusin and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the song is recast here, to great effect, as a slightly faster, more beat-driven track.
And on and on. If you’re new to the music of Stephen Bishop, Blueprint, produced by Jon Gilutin, is as fine a place as any to start on your way to acquiring the entire catalog of this much loved, heritage melodic pop artist. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Little Bird,” “I’ll Sleep on the Plane,” “Before Nightfall,” “Holy Mother,” “Someone Like You,” and “It Might Be You.” Where to Get It: Stephen Bishop’s website,CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes.
Cupid’s Carnival | Everything is Love
Led by Thomas Gray and Roland Skilton, Cupid’s Carnival, originally known as Cherrystone, fashion songs and performances that evoke the sound and spirit of the Beatles and like-minded fellow travelers such as Badfinger. The title number, with its beautiful, catchy melody, sumptuous vocals, and electric sitar lines, could easily have been written and produced during the golden era of 1960s British pop. And the bopping “Working Girl” sounds like it could have shot to the top of the charts on 1960s British radio. If you sense a pattern here, you’re not mistaken. This is a find of the highest order, an album that will sit quite nicely within your melodic pop music collection. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Girl,” “Working Girl,” “I Was the Boy,” “Summertime,” “Our Life,” “Everything is Love,” and “Sunny Days.” Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, and iTunes. Find out more about Cupid’s Carnival by clicking here.
Andy Klingensmith | Fantasy Island
Released today on Futureman Records, Andy Klingensmith’s latest is a bit of a departure from his previous releases, this time incorporating his close harmony vocals into an overall pop production style. The effect is quite pleasing in songs like the lively, handclap-powered “Have Some Fun” and the ’80s-sounding “Madeline.” Andy continues to write and produce music that proves he is an important part of the melodic pop movement. He deserves your support. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Have Some Fun,” “Madeline,” “For Ourselves,” and “Fantasy Island.” Where to Get It: Futureman Records
Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Bowl Extra: Bubble Gum Orchestra | Sticky Love Songs
Comprising volumes one and two–20 songs on one CD–of an album chock full of catchy melodic pop love songs, Michael Laine Hildebrandt’s latest is a triumph. A review is forthcoming, but for now, know that 10 songs from Sticky Love Songs are now in hot rotation on our air. Plus, we’ve got the exclusive North America premiere of the new single, “You Gave Up on Love,” which features the great Lannie Flowers on vocals; tune in tonight at 7 pm ET to hear the song and an interview with Michael. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “You Called to Tell Me,” “It Was Gone,” “Peppermint Smile,” “You Gave Up on Love (Exclusive North America premiere), “I’m Not the Man,” “I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t,” “Every Day of the Week,” “You’re Not the One that Got Away,” “No One Ever Told Me,” and “BGO Motel.” Where to Get It: Exclusively at the Bubble Gum Orchestra website (releases September 20).
More reviews of some of the latest songs and artists added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist tomorrow.
Welcome to day one of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Bowl, a celebration of some of the new songs and artists being added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Among the hundreds of additions we’ve made over the past few weeks, all now playing in rotation on our air, a pair of new releases has especially caught my ear. I give you the latest from Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club, and a toe-tapping duet from Michael Carpenter and Allan Caswell.
Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club | Benches
When I included Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club’s last album, Nothing to be Afraid Of, in my list of favorite records of the year in November 2014, I called it “…perhaps the brightest, most inventive, most sincere and happiest-sounding melodic work of the year.” And I was right, too.
I’m right now as well, calling this new release a monumentally towering testament to melodic and harmonic excellence. There is nothing quite like Kate Stephenson’s take on melodic pop music, just as there is nothing like her soaring imagination, her ability to express all manner of emotion, and make the listener feel. There is nothing quite like Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club.
Clever lyrics, winsome melodies, and heaven-sent vocal harmonies abound. Songs like “Sun, Where’ve You Gone,” a plea to the reluctant big daddy of shining stars to stop hiding behind clouds and do its thing (“Face it you’re lazy/At best hazy from what I can see”) and the glorious “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys,” about moving on and distinguishing oneself in the big, waiting world (“Checking out to find my rosebuds/Adios and toodle-oo/Not my circus, not my monkeys”) are just two examples of the level of Kate’s peerless songcraft.
Kate’s three-dimensional harmony vocal stacks especially shine in two of this album’s best songs. “Somebody Called Me an Onion” is a smile-inducing, upbeat, energetic pop song with faux-reggae shadings about peeling back the layers to reveal the full, human package of emotion (“If I’m going to get rumbled down the line/My laundry’s hanging out there to dry”), and the delicious, a cappella “Silent Letter,” a song about inner beauty and the sanctity of thought that doesn’t always have to be laid bare in song (“There’s more real beauty in this/Than my voice could ever reveal”).
These lovely creations, played to perfection by Kate and musical partner John Steel, will enrich your life in all sorts of meaningful ways. In popular art and in these songs played under the Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club banner, there is beauty and there is love. Just as Nothing to be Afraid Of shone brightly in 2014, Benches will shine when this year’s best albums are tallied in just a few months. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys,” “What’s the Worst that Can Happen,” “Benches,” “Sun, Where’ve You Gone,” “Tired,” “Mirroring,” “Somebody Called Me an Onion,” and “Silent Letter.” Where to Get It: Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club’s website
Michael Carpenter and Allan Caswell | “Back When I Was Older”
Pop music’s not-so-secret weapon Michael Carpenter and legendary, award-winning singer-songwriter Allan Caswell team up for a country-rock and pop song about people of a certain age filtering through life experience and using the knowledge gained to live a better, smarter, more productive, and happier life. Caswell is a legend in Australia–more than 600 of his songs have been waxed by artists as diverse as Cilla Black, Patti Page, and the Irish Rovers. This collaboration with Carpenter is a winner in every way; it’s an incredibly catchy earworm, with a solid beat, bass line, lively vocals, and one of those melodies that hugs you tightly. “Back When I Was Older” can’t help but be a smash hit. And to me, it surely is. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. Where to Get It: CD Baby, iTunes.
We’re preparing for tomorrow’s start of our exciting New Music Bowl event (hundreds of new songs and artists added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist), but we’d be remiss if we didn’t deliver to you the rundown of this week’s lineup of specialty shows.
So: Don’t miss this week’s triple play of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation episodes, and all-new editions of Jammin’ James Riley’s Catching a Wave and the weekly Beatles roundtable, Things We Said Today. It’s another great lineup of the best specialty shows on pop music radio.
To get things off and running, Jammin’ James Riley checks in tonight at 8 pm ET with another new mix of summer sun-drenched tunes on Catching a Wave. You’ll hear Duane Eddy talk about how he gets his “twang” sound, and Mike Love will focus in on the Beach Boys’ harmony sound. Plus: dig songs from the Sabres, Atomic Mosquitos, the Hondells, the Bangles, Carole King, Dick Dale and much, much more. Surf’s up!
Tomorrow night, Tuesday, September 13, at a special time–9 pm ET–musician Richard Barone and author Justin Martell sit in with Alan Haber for the first of this week’s two-part In Conversation Tiny Tim spectacular. Richard and Justin talk about the new vinyl release, Tiny Tim’s America, a wonderful recording Mr. Tim made back in 1974.
On Wednesday night, September 14, at 8 pm ET, part two of In Conversation’s Tiny Tim spectacular finds Now Sounds Records’ Steve Stanley and musician Kristian Hoffman talking about Now Sounds’ comprehensive and entertaining release, The Complete Singles Collection (1966-1970). Steve covers the release from a producer’s and record company standpoint; Kristian, a lifelong Mr. Tim devotee, talks about his passionate liner notes for this release, and offers some words of wisdom from Mr. Tim himself.
Also on Wednesday night, Bubble Gum Orchestra’s Michael Laine Hildebrandt joins Alan for a very special conversation at 7 pm ET. BGO’s new album, Sticky Love Songs, will be released on September 20; Michael talks about recording this 20-song collection, and we premiere, North America-style, the group’s new single, “You Gave Up on Love,” which features vocals from Pure Pop Radio favorite Lannie Flowers.
Winding up this week’s run of specialty shows, the regular gang of Beatles experts–Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman, and Allan Kozinn–puts the new Live at the Hollywood Bowl CD under their critical microscope on Things We Said Today. How does this new release compare to the 1977 vinyl album? How does it compare to the various bootleg versions that have been issued over the years? Is it worth a purchase? Ken, Steve, Al and Allan tell you all you need to know to make an informed decision on Thursday, September 15 at 8 pm ET.
It’s another great week of specialty shows right here on your number one source for the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today…Pure Pop Radio.
Join us next Tuesday and Wednesday nights on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation for a festive and wide-ranging celebration of one of the most passionate pop culture performers ever to grace the world stage. Come along with Alan Haber and his guests as they tip-toe through Tiny Tim’s America and discover a world defined by some of the great songs of the early 20th century.
Herbert Khaury, better known as Tiny Tim, may best be remembered by people of a certain age for two milestones: He married Miss Vicki on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on December 17, 1969–in front of an audience of somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 million viewers–and hit big with his top 20 recording of “Tip-toe Thru’ the Tulips with Me” in 1968.
Fact is, Tiny Tim was more than a curiosity–more than just a guy with long hair and an aversion to germs who appeared on Howard Stern’s radio show to talk about his love of cleaning products and other such eccentricities. Tiny was a human jukebox, able to play, on his always-at-hand ukelele, a seemingly unlimited number of songs from the early 20th century and beyond. Tiny was a passionate performer, devoted to keeping the songs he knew in his heart alive.
Next week’s two-night Tiny Tim spectacular on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation is a must-listen for fans of Mr. Tim and music lovers who enjoy beautifully written and performed tunes from the various golden eras of song.
On Tuesday night, September 13 at a special time–9 pm ET, Alan is joined by musician Richard Barone and Mr. Tim biographer Justin Martell for an in-depth look at Tiny Tim’s America, a recent vinyl release of a recording Tiny made in a New York City hotel room back in 1974. Richard teamed up with Tiny’s pianist and arranger cousin, Eddie Rabin, to flesh out the original recording with new instrumentation. The result is a marvelous, totally enjoyable tour of a selection of turn-of-the-century songs as only Mr. Tim could deliver. You’ll hear a few selections from this highly enjoyable, and collectible, release.
Justin Martell is the author of the exhaustive biography, Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life of Tiny Tim. Richard Barone has a long history working with and bringing to market the recordings of Mr. Tim; he has steered the voyage of his group, The Bongos, and produced a rich solo discography; Richard’s latest album, the glorious Sorrows & Promises: Greenwich Village in the 1960s, will be released in October.
On Wednesday night, September 14 at 8 pm ET, producer Steve Stanley, who steers the good ship Now Sounds Records, and musician Kristian Hoffman, join Alan to talk about Now Sounds’ top-flight Tiny Tim: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-1970). A grouping of beautifully remastered, by Alan Brownstein, recordings, including Mr. Tim’s amped-up, rocking version of “Great Balls of Fire,” most famously essayed in explosive style by Jerry Lee Lewis, this is an essential component of any exhaustive collection of pop music.
Steve talks about The Complete Singles Collection from a producer’s and record company standpoint; Kristian, who is a Tiny Tim expert, talks about his passionate liner notes and Mr. Tim’s technicolor history. You’ll hear a selection of songs from this terrific release.
Both of these special In Conversation shows must rank as two of the most entertaining broadcast in a very long time. Don’t miss Richard Barone and Justin Martell talking about Tiny Tim’s America on Tuesday, September 13 at a special time–9 pm ET–and Steve Stanley and Kristian Hoffman talking about Now Sounds’ Tiny Tim: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-1970) on Wednesday, September 14, at 8 pm ET. A splendid Tiny Tim-eriffic time is guaranteed for all.