Lefty and Zeek Weekling’s Beatlesque Backbeat Powers this Week’s Lineup of Pure Pop Radio Specialty Shows

mic-small 10This week’s lineup of Pure Pop Radio specialty shows provides the swinging backbeat for your evening entertainment.

What’s shaking? Lefty and Zeek Weekling provide the Beatlesque backbeat for this week’s all-new edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, Scott McPherson spins some underappreciated sides on the latest edition of his lunchtime smash, The Weird and the Wonderful, Jammin’ James Riley talks to Pure Pop Radio favorite Randell Kirsch on a first-run Catching a Wave, and our regular panel of Beatles experts, along with Dr. Kit O’Toole, looks at the reinvention of George Harrison in the 1980s on the weekly Beatles roundtable, Things We Said Today.

the-weeklings-studio-2-smallBthe weeklings at abbey roadig Event
This week’s big event, airing at 8 pm ET this Tuesday, October 18 on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, finds Lefty and Zeek Weekling (aka Glen Burtnik and Bob Burger) talking to Alan Haber about The Weeklings’ upcoming second album, Studio 2, being released by Jem Records. Recorded in Abbey Road’s Studio 2, the exciting long player features eight Weeklings originals and four rare Lennon and McCartney compositions, three of which even dedicated Beatles fans might not even know about. You’ll hear three songs from Studio 2 and listen to Lefty and Zeek recount their London, England adventures and the stories behind their new recordings. It’s a Fab hour-and-a-smidge you won’t want to miss.

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Tonight at 8 pm ET, Jammin’ James Riley kicks off our specialty show week with an all-new trip to the sun-soaked land of summer-drenched tunes on Catching a Wave. Jammin’ James talks to Pure Pop Radio favorite Randell Kirsch and spins some of his songs, plus classics from Al Jardine and Friends, The Legendary Masked Surfers, Papa Doo Run Run, and many more of your favorite artists.

ww-logo-longTscott-mcpherson-15he Weird and the Wonderful
Scott McPherson checks in this Wednesday, October 19 at 1 pm ET, with another all-new edition of his lunchtime hit, The Weird and the Wonderful. Scott’s playlist is chock full of songs that have been underappreciated by the masses; cuts from Millard Powers, Kevin Moore, and Andy Thompson are the order of the day. Join Scott for the musical accompaniment to your weekly soup and sandwich combo. A splendid time, etc.

Tthe-beatles-things-we-said-todayhe 1980s Reinvention of George Harrison
This Thursday night, October 20 at 8 pm ET, the weekly Beatles roundtable, Things We Said Today, takes a look at George Harrison’s reinvention in the 1980s with Dr. Kit O’Toole, who makes a return appearance on the show. The panel also talks about the new film, The Lennon Report, a fictional look at that fateful night, December 8, 1980. Steve Marinucci has seen the film, and gives his on-the-spot report.

Look forward to this coming week’s worth of top-flight specialty shows here on Pure Pop Radio. We’ve got your evening entertainment covered!

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The Weeklings’ Second Album Spins Gold on Next Week’s All-New Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation

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the-weeklings-studio-2-smallRoll over, Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news: The world’s most popular Beatlesque foursome, slinging their guitars over their Merseybeat shoulders and bringing the swinging backbeat to the front lines of today’s melodic pop universe, will be spinning and talking about tracks from their forthcoming new album, Studio 2, next Tuesday night, October 18, at 8 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.

the weeklings at abbey roadLefty and Zeek Weekling (aka Glen Burtnik and Bob Burger, respectively), the collective heartbeat of The Weeklings, will be in conversation with me to talk about this amazing long player, presented in glorious monophonic sound, to be released by Jem Records on November 18. Studio 2 is a rocking collection of electrifying big-beat recordings from New Jersey’s fabulous foursome, which also features the pumping performances of Rocky (John Merjave) and Smokestack Weekling (Joe Bellia). Twelve vibrant tracks–seven Lefty and Zeek originals, one Rocky and Zeek co-write, and four rare Lennon-McCartney songs never released by the Beatles–take center stage on this classic platter, one of the very best releases of the year.

Chief songwriters Lefty and Zeek go deep inside the making of Studio 2 with me, giving listeners a virtual backstage tour of their time spent making Beatlesque magic while recording in Abbey Road’s Studio Two; talking about loading their new songs up with Fab “easter eggs,” and telling me how they see The Weeklings’ future unfolding. Plus, I make a rather strong case that I am indeed The Fifth Weekling, despite the possible objections of Little Nicola.

You’ll hear three songs from Studio 2, presented in glorious monophonic sound, including one of the previously unreleased Lennon-McCartney numbers, a smashing uptempo bopper called “You Must Write,” and you’ll hear from Lefty and Zeek about some of the rather ingenious lengths they went to, thereby ensuring that this second album was the very best it could be.

jem-recordsAnd it is, of course; look for my review soon, and get ready to win a copy of Studio 2. In the meantime, roll up, roll up for a tour of The Weeklings’ new album, being released on November 18 by Jem Records. Join Lefty, Zeek and yours truly for an electrifying hour pounding out the infectious beat on an all-new, rocking edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation. The Beatlesque hits just keep on coming right here on your 24-hour-a-day home for the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. See you on the radio next Tuesday, October 18 at 8 pm ET!

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David Myhr Channels ELO in Soundtrack Smash

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Spins and Reviews | 10.11.16 | by Alan Haber

David Myhr | “Spellbound” (From the upcoming film Flykten till Framtiden (My Future Love))

Update (10.14.16): “Spellbound” can be purchased at iTunes and Amazon, and heard on Spotify.

David Myhr and Jimmy Lagnefors, whose soundtrack graces the time travel-themed film Flykten till Framtiden, co-wrote this rather authentic sounding and eminently catchy Jeff Lynne/Electric Light Orchestra homage that plays over the film’s credits and is due to be released as a single in Sweden and the rest of Europe on Lojinx this Thursday, October 14.

Ddavid-myhr-head-shotavid, handling acoustic guitar, piano, bass, and lead and backing vocal duties, works with Jimmy, who plays guitar and sings, and drummer Andreas Dahlbäck to pack all of the hallmarks of an ELO-sounding track into the joyous “Spellbound.” It’s all here: the sweeping melody, strings (arranged by Hans Hjortek and David), horns (sounding as if they’d come straight from ELO’s “Livin’ Thing”), and sweet harmonies. It’s quite marvelous, and we’re honored to bring it to you on the radio.

david-myhr-and-bill-demainDavid and Jimmy collaborated on “Vänta inte på mig” (“Don’t wait for me”), which appeared in last year’s film, Micke and Veronica, and is also playing in rotation here on Pure Pop Radio. David has been recording songs for his next album; we’re looking forward to hearing them soon (for a report on David’s trip to Los Angeles, Nashville and New York, during which he wrote a good number of songs with pop visionaries such as Brad Jones, Blue, Swan Dive’s Bill DeMain (pictured with David at right), and The Davenports’ Scott Klass, click here).

Meanwhile, enjoy David Myhr’s latest smash, flavored and savored with ELO goodness.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
black box When and Where to Get It: iTunes and Amazon. Listen on Spotify.

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Paul McCartney Startles Desert Trip Crowd with First-Ever Live Performance of “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?”. I Think I Know Why!

the-beatles-white-albumPaul McCartney stunned and delighted the crowd at this past weekend’s Desert Trip classic rock festival in California by playing live, for the first time, the Beatles’ legendary track “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?” Aiding and abetting Paul was classic rocker Neil Young, who seemed to be overjoyed at essaying this beloved track from the Fabs’ 1968 self-titled double-album.

Here is the dynamic duo, pounding out a beat-heavy rock take on “Road”:

The only thing that surprises me about this performance is that it took so long to happen. I have long loved this track. In fact, I wrote about it extensively in January 2015; it was the seventh entry in our ongoing series, I Love that Song!. Check it out for the first time, or revisit it, by clicking here.

I’m keeping a close eye on any surprise performances Paul might include in future live shows. I’m fairly certain that a wild and woolly take on “Wild Honey Pie”is just around the corner!

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Delight Your Senses with This Week’s Pure Pop Radio Specialty Shows

mic-small 10All-new episodes of Jammin’ James Riley’s Catching a Wave, Scott McPherson’s The Weird and the Wonderful, and the weekly Beatles roundtable, Things We Said Today, will delight your senses this week on Pure Pop Radio.

waveYou’d better wax your surfboard in anticipation of tonight’s hour in the surf and sun with Jammin’ James Riley’s Catching a Wave. Jammin’ James talks to legendary Los Straitjackets guitarist Eddie Angel, and spins sumptuous sides from Dick Dale, The Martin Denny Orchestra, The Neanderthals, The Chantays, Glen Campbell, and many more of your favorites. Tune in at 8 pm ET. Surf’s up!

ww-logo-longThis Wednesday afternoon, October 12 at 1 pm ET, Pop 4 and Tiny Volcano’s master of melody Scott McPherson brings you another pop-filled episode of The Weird and the Wonderful. Scott gets nostalgic from the sounds of not-too-long-ago as he plays songs from Colorworks, The Corner Laughers, Sondre Lerche, and The Blood Sugars. Plus, you’ll find out how to sing like the great Doobie Brother Michael McDonald, baby!

the-beatles-things-we-said-todayWrapping up this week’s slate of specialty shows on Pure Pop Radio, Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman, and Allan Kozinn look back on some of their favorite moments from past Things We Said Today shows. Celebrating 200 information-filled roundtables, Allan remembers the panel’s conversation with Wings guitarist Laurence Juber; Steve remembers a conversation with Paul McCartney guitar player Rusty Anderson; Ken revisits Allan’s look at the progression of “Strawberry Fields Forever” from a show that concerned itself with The Beatles’ greatest studio miracles, and Al fondly talks about Beatlefan senior editor Rick Glover, whose Fans on the Run designation refers to the many, many Paul McCartney shows he has been to. It’s a show you won’t want to miss.

That’s this week’s specialty show rundown. Keep listening to Pure Pop Radio, all day and all of the night. We play the best melodic pop in the universe!

All Sorts of Stuff on the Horizon, You Betcha!

mystery guestAnd real soon, too. Like a week from this coming Tuesday. Tuesday, October 18 to be exact, at 8 pm ET. An all-new episode of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation that’s going to knock your socks off–the ones with guitars and drumsticks and slabs of vinyl free-falling. The ones you like to wear because it’s cool. Who’s the guest that night? Or, who are the guests? Oh, wouldn’t you like to know! And you will, in just a few days from now.

Our mystery guest, or guests as the case may be, on the October 18 edition of In Conversation will help kick off a number of new shows airing one after the other in the coming weeks. Big names! Big songs! You won’t want to miss a second!

Factor in all of the new music we’re continuing to add to our playlist, and a couple of surprises on the cusp of being announced, and you’ve got some pretty great things happening here at Pure Pop Radio, including yet another new specialty show which we’re pretty excited about. But mum’s the word for now.

happy holidaysLooking fairly far ahead, but not too far, we’ve got the holidays in our sights: As we’ve done the past few years, we’ll be bringing you 30-plus hours of holiday tunes beginning this Christmas Eve day. And just after the start of 2017, which isn’t all that far away, we’ll be presenting our Stars of ’16: our favorite records of the year. You certainly won’t want to miss that.

Rwow-2eally, the only thing you’ll want to say about all of this is “Wow!” It’s okay. We know how you feel.

More info next week and during the weeks ahead. We’ve got all sorts of stuff on the horizon here at your original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today…Pure Pop Radio!

“…and the Human Voice”

The Legal Matters set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music.

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Spins and Reviews | 10.4.16 | by Alan Haber

The Legal Matters | Conrad (Omnivore, 2016)

the-legal-matters-conradOn the inside left panel of the gatefold sleeve of The Association’s 1970 double album “Live”, a list of the band members, titled The Players, fed into a section titled And Their Instruments, which named usual suspects such as guitars, drums and bass guitar along with suspects that were perhaps not so usual for a rock ‘n’ roll album: soprano recorder, tenor recorder, and pocket trumpet.

And, in the manner that cast credits for a film or television show might spotlight a particular actor–and Kiefer Sutherland, for example–the following was noted, perhaps as an afterthought to some: “and the human voice.” As a 15-year-old, music obsessed boy whose world turned around rich vocal harmonies, this was the most important piece of information on offer for an album that was, for me, a monumental achievement.

My young world, as informed as it was by my favorite comic book artists–Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson–my stamp collection, my dedication to the television shows that defined my generation–The Twilight Zone, The Flintstones, I Dream of Jeannie–and my transistor radio, which connected me to broadcasts both local and far away, was moreover defined by the sound of the human voice singing the songs that were written by my favorite recording artists.

The Beach Boys were certainly important to me for that very reason, as were The Four Seasons and The Association, whose records I cherished (no pun intended) and played probably more than those of any other artists in my collection (don’t tell John, Paul, George or Ringo). A committed vocal, with just the right amount of heart and soul, could stop me in my tracks, but a two- or three- or four-or-more-part rich harmony was something else again; it was something magical, something quite amazing.

Thankfully, the melodic pop music I have devoted my life to championing these past 21 years, in reviews and on the radio, very often continues to put the spotlight on the vocal harmonies that I so cherish. Bands like Kate Stephenson’s Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club carry on that vocal harmony tradition in a way that mirrors the many hours I spent as a child listening to music playing on my stereo and coming out of my transistor radio.

the legal matters photoAnother band that carries on the vocal harmony tradition and, indeed, practically redefines it, is The Legal Matters out of Detroit, Michigan, a long-standing, storied music town whose favorite musical sons are many and varied and legendary. It wouldn’t be out of line to include Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith in that group, such has been the level of acceptance of their wares on the part of fans of melodic pop music.

Their list of credits, spanning more years than probably any of them would care to acknowledge, is long and celebrated and includes a variety of solo and group releases. Just mention The Reed Brothers, An American Underdog, Chris Richards and the Subtractions, The Pantookas, and The Phenomenal Cats to those in the know and see what kind of a reaction you get.

As often happens in storied partnerships, the coming together of Andy, Chris, and Keith ignited a fertile spark that resulted in them recording together. 2014’s self-titled Legal Matters album was a warm, 10-song affair that was crafted in the dead of winter inside Andy’s Reed Recording Company studio in Bay City, Michigan, with drummer Cody Marecek and guitarist Nick Piunti, a top-flight pop artist in his own right, in tow.

Their musical sensibilities clicked from the start as the cold weather whipped around them, and songs such as the melody-rich, uptempo “The Legend of Walter Wright” and the pretty ballad “Mary Anne” were born. “Mary Anne,” in particular, was something of a triumph, in that its rich vocal harmonies showed the heights that Andy, Chris, and Keith could reach as a unit.

the-legal-matters-conrad-buttonA second album was inevitable. Its name is Conrad; the cover art depicts a mouthless, seemingly silent, colorfully shirted koala bear. The 11 songs are a natural progression from the 10 on the first release, taken at a slower, but not slow, pace; the harmonies are more intricate and deeply felt. The vocal harmonies are more up front and alive. This is the sound of a band that has come into its own, that has benefitted from time spent feeling each other out, turning complex vocal structures into seemingly simpler constructs that aren’t at all simple.

The rich, finely detailed vocal harmonies are the collective star of Conrad’s show, but by no means the only performer; the instrumentation, supplied by Andy, Chris, and Keith, with Donny Brown and Andy Dalton handling drum duties, is peerless, and the songs are sweetly realized, from the opener “Anything,” not the first track on this album tipping its hat to the much-loved Beach Boys vocal vibe, to the upbeat, single-worthy “Short Term Memory,” which tips its drumsticks to Ringo Starr in a delightful fill and puts forth some top-notch electric guitar playing.

But it’s the rich vocal harmonies that set Conrad apart from a slew of other, recent melodic pop music releases. Nowhere is this more evident and true than on the short, coda-like, penultimate track “Lull and Bye,” a virtually a cappella, powerful slice of emotion-filled vocalese that is a thrilling testament to the power of the human voice that The Association so aptly included in the list of instruments played on their “Live” album. Other than the beautiful harmonies, the only instrument in evidence is a ghostly, spare piano, barely heard, that acts as really nothing more than a light, percussive underpinning. This track is so powerful that it recalls Brian Wilson’s “One for the Boys,” a majestic cut included on his first, self-titled solo album.

In order to truly appreciate the power of “Lull and Bye,” one must listen to the vocals-only mix available to purchasers of Conrad as a download bonus. For this experience, the piano part is gone and only the lovely vocal harmonies remain. To listen to it is a thrilling experience, along the lines of listening to the most vibrant of The Beach Boys’ recordings, stripped of instrumentation.

The vocals-only mix of Conrad should be considered an important part of the total listening experience, especially for musicians and students of how-it-is-done, although, of course, you can and will enjoy the album proper without ever setting the bonus tracks into motion. In fact, forget I said anything; Conrad is just fine–perfect, really–as it is.

the-legal-matters-band-photoThis year has been particularly rich–there is that word again–with strong albums released by both heritage artists and artists new to the melodic pop world stage. As always, artists who stress vocal harmony as a key element of their musical makeup rise to the top of the heap for me. In just 11 lovely songs, The Legal Matters have set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music. Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith are the players, and their human voices are their instruments.

black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Anything,” “I’m Sorry Love,” and “Hip Hooray”; more tracks coming soon.
black box When and Where to Get It: Anywhere and everywhere on October 28.