We offer to you, as November gets ready to morph into December and work of a holiday nature within these hallowed halls continues apace, a trio of our regular specialty shows to keep things of all sorts on track. Your nighttime soundtrack on Pure Pop Radio? Why, we don’t mind if we do.
Oh, and work of a something’s-new-under-the-sun nature is also continuing apace. In fact, this something new should be arriving any time now. Oh, just you wait…!
Tonight at 8 pm ET, Jammin’ James Riley fires off another summer-infused set of sun-drenched tunes on Catching a Wave. Perched in front of your Internet radio receptacle, you will delight in Jammin’ James’ spins from artists such as Keith Sykes, Eddie and the Showmen, Jan and Dean, the Beach Boys, Dick Dale, and many more.
For this week’s The Weird and the Wonderful, hitting the Internet airwaves at 1 pm ET on Wednesday, Scott McPherson’s gathered up quite the catchy lunchtime meal composed of catchy, top-flight songs, including sumptuous specimens from Jellyfish, Aimee Mann, Paul McCartney, KC Bowman, the Semantics, and George Harrison. Much more, too? Certainly, but you’ll have to tune in to find out the score.
Thursday night’s all-new gathering, at 8 pm ET, of our Beatles experts on Things We Said Today sees Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman and Allan Kozinn greet Chip Madinger, co-author of Lennonology, Strange Days Indeed – A Scrapbook of Madness. Chip joins in on an in-depth look at John Lennon’s Imagine album, currently celebrating its 45th anniversary.
That’s this week in specialty shows here on Pure Pop Radio, your original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music in the universe. Dig in…and keep an eye out, because something very cool and explosive is coming soon!
Eight podcast versions of recent Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation shows are now available for listening and downloading from our PodOmatic podcast page.
A mere mouse click or two will open a wonderful world of Alan Haber’s in-depth chats with your favorite melodic pop artists:
* The Legal Matters, whose new Omnivore Records album is the harmony-drenched Conrad
* Steve Eggers from The Nines, whose recently-released album is Alejandro’s Visions
* Glen “Lefty” Weekling and Bob “Zeek” Weekling from New Jersey’s fabulous beat group The Weeklings, whose second smashing collection is the Beatlesque Studio 2
* Dana Countryman, who reveals details of his upcoming tribute to early 1960s girl groups, Dana Countryman’s Girlville! New Songs in the Style of Yesterday’s Hits
* Terry Draper, whose new album is Window on the World: The Lost 80’s Tapes
* Bubble Gum Orchestra’s Michael Laine Hildebrandt, whose latest release is Sticky Love Songs
But that’s not all: The two-part In Conversation tribute to the great entertainer Tiny Tim is also ready to be listened to and downloaded. The first part features Now Sounds Records’ Steve Stanley and musician Kristian Hoffman, who talk about the comprehensive Now Sounds release Tiny Tim: The Complete Singles Collection (1966-1970). The second part features musician Richard Barone and Tiny biographer Justin Martell talking about the recent release, Tiny Tim’s America.
All of the above-noted shows are now available for listening and downloading. Simply click on any of the links and enjoy!
Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere melodic pop interview program hosted by Alan Haber, airs Tuesday nights at 8 pm ET. Archived, podcast versions of interviews are posted on the In Conversation PodOmatic podcast page; click here to listen to shows previously broadcast on Pure Pop Radio.
by Alan Haber
“Cornbread, oysters, water chestnuts, andouille sausage,”says President Josiah Bartlet, in answer to White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler’s question about the kind of stuffing his boss will be serving on Thanksgiving.
“What kind of stuffing are we talking about?” Ziegler asks, knowing full well that if the stuffing falls short, the rest of the offerings sharing table space with it–candied yams topped with tiny, melted marshmallows; cranberry sauce; baked-to-perfection crescent rolls; cole slaw; green beans; gravy; and warm pecan, sweet potato or pumpkin pie–will also curry little favor. To surround the Thanksgiving turkey with heartless, tasteless, unwanted stuffing is to practically guarantee that the holiday gathering will sink like a deeply sorrowful stone.
Fictional though the above question and answer volley may be, having occurred during an episode of television’s The West Wing, the point made is an important one. Like any holiday gathering, every element that powers its engine must not only hold its own weight, but also serve a purpose if Uncle Joe, Aunt Merry, cousin Bob, sister Sue, and Rex the Wonder Dog are to enjoy themselves.
More important than the food on the table, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, or close-quartered football contests in the backyard, is the music that is played in the background, just loud enough to be heard over and above the ongoing bouts of banter stuffed with family gossip and weather predictions ripped from the latest edition of the Farmers’ Almanac.
It may as well be said, and there may even be such a saying–it may as well be said that if the Thanksgiving holiday playlist isn’t secure, the holiday gathering will likely fall. One wrong song, one wrong minuet–one wrong note even, and catastrophe may well ensue. The basic sanctity of the Thanksgiving holiday get-together is always on the line.
Being entrusted with the creation of a credible Thanksgiving day playlist is perhaps the highest honor that can be bestowed on anyone. Therefore, it follows that beyond creating a tantalizing menu, choosing just the right mix of music is of paramount importance. Such a task must never fall to just anyone. Your friend Breezy, for example, has a hard time distinguishing crooner Andy Williams from XTC’s Andy Partridge, so he’s out.
It is important to get a good idea of your guests’ musical likes and dislikes. Which types of music do they enjoy? Pop? Rock? Roll? Middle-of-the-road? The Traveling Wilburys’ “End of the Line”? Ozzy? Dizzy? “Shake, Rattle and Roll”? Which decade do your guests prefer? Forties? Fifties? Sixties? 1989? Do they cringe when they hear the gated reverb sounds favored by record producers in the Eighties? Culture Club or Tom Tom Club? Shirley Manson or Shirley Bassey?
You’ll need at least eight to 10 hours of music separated into sets, a playlist industry technical term, targeting different day parts and, more importantly, moods. More upbeat songs should be played during the daylight hours, with the more subdued, ballad-y numbers relegated to six p.m. or so and later. Avoid playing certain songs that suffer from both listener and airplay burnout, such as Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” because the last thing you need is a relative or next-door neighbor freaking out over the memory of having more times than not experienced a bustle in their hedgerow.
If the preponderance of people gathered around your Thanksgiving dinner table are of a certain age, aka children of the 1960s or those who know the difference between the terms “revolution per minute” and “rapid eye movement,” you will want to be ready to switch between songs by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones at a moment’s notice. If someone poses the question, “Which version of ‘I Want to Be Your Man’ is better?”, you will be wise to have a bottle of seltzer at the ready to hose down the people with the so-called “definitive answers.”
Lastly, you will want to play the perfect song as your guests leave your home at the end of the night. Unfortunately, there is no tried-and-true method to employ in this regard, so you’ll have to go with your gut. Although your gut may tell you to leave them laughing and play a song that celebrates the holiday but not necessarily the turkey, like this one:
you may want to opt for something that celebrates the spirit of the holiday instead. In fact, all kidding aside, what with everything that has gone on in the world of late, playing this song for your guests as they gather their coats and galoshes, if there is a chance of rain or snow, or their umbrellas, as they gather their children and brace themselves for the ride home, this song may be the best way to communicate the spirit of Thanksgiving or any other day during which we gather with friends and family to celebrate the spirit of our humanity.
This being a short week, what with Thanksgiving looming large in our legend (your obligatory George Harrison reference for today), we’ve got just two, tasty specialty shows for you, sure to spice up any festive holiday spread (and let us not forget, our music library is 9,100-plus tunes strong).
Tonight’s all-new episode of Jammin’ James Riley’s Catching a Wave (8 pm ET) serves up a potpourri of summertime sounds from such artists as Dick Dale, Kylie Hughes, the Monkees, Papa Doo Run Run, the Explorers Club, and Dion. Wax up your surfboards and tune in to feel the warmth of the musical summer sun.
Tomorrow night’s first-run Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation (8 pm ET) finds Alan Haber catching up with Beatlefan Executive Editor Al Sussman in a wide-ranging 90-plus minute show during which the topic is songs that hit and should have hit number one in the years 1964-1969. Al looks at each song played during the show from a historical perspective, touching on its popularity and the reasons why it made the chart grade, or almost hit the mark. If you’re a chart history buff, this is a must-listen-to episode.
So that we can get everything ready for our Thanksgiving celebration, we’re giving our other specialty shows a break this week, but don’t fret: they’ll be back swinging next week.
Looking ahead to December (we simply can’t believe the year is only 41 days from becoming 2017), we’ve got our third annual Holiday Popapalooza coming up. We’ll be spinning Christmas pop songs from noon on December 24 through to the last moments of Christmas day. You’ll hear all kinds of pop and roll from across the decades, including new releases such as a sprightly holiday tune from Somerdale, just signed to the Jem Records label. And, of course, your favorite pop artists will check in with custom holiday IDs to help make your season merry.
We’re adding new songs and artists to our playlist all the time, so keep connecting to our 24-hour stream for the latest and classic sounds that have and will continue to form the soundtrack of your lives.
Our 11-day-long Eight Days a Weekling marathon, celebrating the release (today!) of Studio 2, the latest beat-o-riffic album from New Jersey’s fabulous foursome, the Weeklings, has come to a close.
But we’re still celebrating! Every track from both Studio 2 and the Weeklings’ first fab album, lovingly called Monophonic, and select solo tracks from Glen “Lefty” Burtnik and Bob “Zeek” Burger, will continue to spin in rotation on our air.
During the last 11 days, we’ve brought you command performances of Lefty’s 1997 appearance on the old, weekly Pure Pop Radio show, during which he performed live in the studio, and Lefty and Zeek’s appearance on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, during which the duo chronicled their adventures recording Studio 2 in London’s famous Abbey Road studios. And don’t forget those Weeklings Double Shots that were rocking the airwaves every hour during the marathon!
We also ran a contest: Up for grabs were two Weeklings Prize Packs, containing the Studio 2 CD and the cassette version that features three, count ’em, three extra tracks–covers of the Beatles’ “It Won’t Be Long,” “All I’ve Got to Do,” and a screaming version of “I’m Down” that will leave you absolutely, positively breathless!
We’re pleased as Merseybeat punch to announce that James Rosen and Patricia Rossi are the winners of our latest contest. James and Patricia will each be receiving a Weeklings Prize Pack in the mail. Congratulations!
Thanks to everyone who entered. And extra-special thanks to the Weeklings–Glen “Lefty” Burtnik, Bob “Zeek” Burger, John “Rocky” Merjave, and Joe “Smokestack” Bellia–for making such great music. More contests are coming soon. Keep enjoying Pure Pop Radio, your original 24-hour source for the greatest melodic pop music in the universe! Listen online or on the go! And keep coming back to these pages for reviews of the latest and archival releases, articles, columns, and station updates.
by Alan Haber
It seemed to fall from out of the sky, so different was it from everything else, its descent to earth slow and determined and harmony bound, as if protected by angels who knew that it was a gift from heaven. So it was, and on into the marketplace it went.
The Roches, Maggie, Terre and Suzzy, clearly a collective gift so pure and honest and true, recorded their first album as a trio with Robert Fripp, who produced the self-titled collection at New York’s Hit Factory in “audio verité,” with engineer Ed Sprigg at the controls. Instrumentation was spare throughout, with only acoustic guitars, synthesizer, bass, triangle, and shaker supporting the sisters’ lovely lead and harmony close-miked vocals, positioned up front where they clearly belonged. These are intimate performances, beautifully realized.
Released in 1979 on Warner Brothers, The Roches was like nothing that had come before in the rock era. It wasn’t rock and it wasn’t roll; it wasn’t folk or strictly pop but, rather, a meeting of the genre minds with glorious harmony singing and lovely melodies. The 10 songs were pretty and clever and, really, pretty clever. Written by the three sisters both separately and as a trio, they were, and continue to be, powerful specimens.
Maggie and Terre had come into view earlier in the seventies; they sang backup on Paul Simon’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon in 1973, on a wistful song called “Was a Sunny Day,” a lazy kind of summer, slice of life character number. Two years later, the duo released an album called Seductive Reasoning, a collection of astounding songs mostly written by Maggie and with the cleverly-titled “If You Empty Out Your Pockets You Could Not Make the Change,” which was produced by Simon.
And then 1979 beckoned, and The Roches was released. Maggie’s “The Married Men,” a song about women hanging on to the words of cads who promised their secret crushes everything and, in the end, delivered nothing everlasting, was one of the highlights of the album; the song was recorded by Phoebe Snow on her Against the Grain album a year earlier.
But there were other astounding songs on offer. Certainly the opener, “We,” a wry musical introduction to the sisters, was a blast of a melodic calling card, a two-and-a-half minute how-they-got-here song that spelled it all out, including admissions that the Roches didn’t give out their phone numbers, and lived in New York City by way of “deepest New Jersey” (“We better get [outta] there/Before the shit hits the fan”).
Maggie’s glorious “Hammond Song” and “Quitting Time” were highlights, too; the former about keeping from going down the wrong path, and the latter about living the life that makes you happy (“You can go south in winter/Be what you are a goose/Honk all the moon out the ocean/Your clothes can fit you loose”). Clever wordplay was clearly in evidence.
Terre’s “Mr. Sellack” tells the story of a person who pleads with the owner of a restaurant to give her her job back, even though he might not remember her (“O Mr. Sellack/I didn’t think I’d be back/I worked here last year/Remember?”). Melodically strong and full of rich vocal harmony, the lyrical wordplay is clever: “Waiting tables ain’t that bad/Since I’ve seen you last/I’ve waited for some things that you would not believe/To come true.”
Suzzy’s atmospheric, practically Hitchcockian “The Train” charts the travels of a narrator who is trying to make it through, but has to endure obstacles (“I spy on the big guy/Sitting next to me/He’s drinking two beers/And reading the New York Post/Trying not to get in my way/Everybody knows the kind of day that is”).
The Roches was followed by the otherworldly Nurds in 1980, a different kind of album stacked full of classic songs such as Terre’s examination of the inner psyche, “My Sick Mind,” and Suzzy and Terre’s hysterical, tongue-planted-so-firmly-in-cheek-it-hurts “The Death of Suzzy Roche” (in which the battle for top dog in the laundromat is settled with comically violent results). A sterling, a cappella rendition of Cole Porter’s “It’s Bad for Me” provided, perhaps, some much-needed balance.
The Roches’ rich, natural vocal blend is a collective thing of beauty, just as it was on the sisters’ debut album, which sounds as fresh today as it did 37 years ago. The Roches continue to sound pure and honest and true.
A preview by Alan Haber
Al Sussman, Beatlefan executive editor and co-host of the weekly Beatles roundtable Things We Said Today, heard here on Pure Pop Radio, returns to Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation next Tuesday, November 22 at 8 pm ET to talk about classic chart hits and near hits.
During our wide-ranging discussion, Al and I focus on the years 1964-1969, Fab years all. The longtime fan of great music and observer of chart trends chose two songs from each year to talk about–one a number one hit and the other a song that should have been a hit.
The stage is set for each of the songs with a rundown of certain interesting events that occurred during the years in which they charted. Al looks at each song from a historical perspective, touching on its popularity and the reasons why it made the chart grade, or almost hit the mark.
Join Al and I next Tuesday night, November 22 at 8 pm ET for an informative and entertaining look at the stories behind the successes of chart hits and almost-chart hits on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.
(Al Sussman is the author of Changin’ Times: 101 Days that Shaped a Generation, a fascinating, fact-filled and lively work that provides revealing context for a pivotal time in American history. Order from Amazon.)
Spins and Reviews | 11.16.16 | by Alan Haber
Caper Clowns | The Buca Bus Odense is the third-largest city in Denmark, which is important should you or I be traveling to that country with the desire to visit its largest cities. Another reason to visit Odense would be to soak up the atmosphere that undoubtedly inspired this talented quartet to craft this wonderful melodic pop collection. The highlights are too numerous to mention in toto, but here are a few favorites: “A Tale of Romance and Magnetic Trains,” a pure pop delight of the toe-tapping variety; “Mirror Me,” an uptempo driver which wouldn’t be out of place on a Deacon Blue album; “Sleeping on the Edge of the Rainbow,” a beautiful burst of charming balladry, and “The Significance of Teacups,” wholly McCartney-esque (and ELO-esque with a Brian May-type guitar solo)–an earworm that simply won’t let go. Lovely melodies and harmonies and, well, everything, await your ears. Take a well-deserved bow, Rick Kingo, Peter Højgaard, Christian Højgaard and Skipper Storm; you’ve made one of this year’s most assured collections of musical treasures.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: Nearly the entire album: “Pockets,” “A Tale of Romance and Magnetic Trains,” “All We Ever Do is Run,” “The Significance of Teacups,” “Sleeping on the Edge of the Rainbow,” “A Forest of Letters,” “Mirror Me,” “Dressed in Flaws,” “When I’m Alive,” and “Lizard Heart”
When and Where to Get It: iTunes, imusic Amazon UK (mp3 download). Listen on Spotify
McPherson Grant | “Big Picture People” Hot off the presses and just emerged from the so-top-secret-you-need-two-passwords-to-get-in laboratory where magic, naturally, sprouts eternal, comes “Big Picture People,” maybe the catchiest earworm yet from the dynamic duo of Scott McPherson and Jamie Grant. With a determined piano opening topped with percussion effects that manages to sweetly recall two Paul McCartney tunes–“Tomorrow” and “Silly Love Songs”–this is the catchy thing of the moment. The lyrics incorporate allusions to McPherson Grant’s song titles and, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, point to the not-actually-nailed-down release date for their forthcoming album (“The melodies slay/Release date delayed/It’s such a bummer”).
Surprising, lively, catchy, and clever (check out the slightly psychedelic/vaudevillian bridge), you won’t be able to get this song out of your head.
As a special treat, click on the audio transport thingy that follows to hear me discuss this song with Scott, and hear “Big Picture People” in its entirety. Meanwhile, look forward to the forthcoming McPherson Grant album, coming real soon. I know I will.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio
When and Where to Get It: Look for “Big Picture People” to appear on the forthcoming McPherson Grant album
Kurt Baker Combo | In Orbit His combo at his side, bashing out a wicked run of hard-charging riffs and tunes, Kurt Baker is back with his rocking rhythm guitar and committed Elvis Costello-vibing vocals. The results are, as you would expect and, furthermore, require, breathless and immediate, from the seventies Bad Company-by-way-of-Raspberries “Baby’s Gone Bad” to the very Katrina and the Waves bopper, “Rusty Nail.” Co-produced in Spain by Kurt and Jorge Colldan, and released on Little Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records, In Orbit is a pop and roll dream come true.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Baby’s Gone Bad,” “Modern Day Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and “Rusty Nail”
When and Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, iTunes
Pacific Soul Ltd. | The Dance Divine Kind of a melting pot of sounds, incorporating pop, soul, and everything seventies, this trio, bringing together the talents of Cockeyed Ghoster Adam Marsland, Teresa Cowles, who, by the way, played legendary bassist Carol Kaye in the Brian Wilson biopic Love and Mercy, and recording artist Norman Kelsey. The “Sugar, Sugar” vibe of the Cowles-sung “We Go High” sits alongside the dance romp “Sunset Golden Love” and the Box Tops-y rocker “Pacific Soul Time”on an album that not only makes you feel the groove, it practically turns it on its catchy head.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Pacific Soul Time,” “Road Trip,” “Sunset Golden Love,” “Tomorrow Brings Tonight,” and “We Go High”
When and Where to Get It: Karma Frog Records
Rob Martinez | New Love Environment Pure, catchy pop crafted in Reseda, California at Adam Marsland’s Karma Frog Studios. Albuquerque, New Mexico popster Martinez works through tasty nuggets that promote replayability and will undoubtedly put smiles on the faces of listeners. There are many highlights, but pushing for the top spot is “Love Life,” a musical love letter to the Partridge Family. Sweet.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Hangin’ On the Line,” Hard to Take,” “Love Life,” “and “When She Comes to Town,” another Partridge in the pop tree
When and Where to Get It: Karma Frog Records
TUNS | TUNS What happens when Sloan’s Chris Murphy, Super Friendz and Flashing Light’s Matt Murphy, and the Inbreds’ Mike O’Neill trio it up and let loose their pop smarts? Pop and roll ensues on a driving collection of snappy, upbeat songs that burrow into your subconscious. Top-flight collection bodes well for future releases.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Back Among Friends,” “Lonely Life,” “Mind Your Manners,” and “I Can’t Wait Forever”
When and Where to Get It: Amazon, Kool Kat Musik, iTunes
Spins and Reviews | 11.15.16 | by Alan Haber
Lovingly crafted and full of heart, Alejandro’s Visions is Steve Eggers’ masterpiece
The Nines | Alejandro’s Visions | 2016
After incorporating a variety of styles into a stream of releases spanning a nearly-20-year-long career, the Nines’ Steve Eggers has delivered perhaps his most heartfelt musical statement—a love letter to the classic song structures that populated the output of artists in the pre-1962 era and the more contemporary sounds that have influenced him.
Rolling and then filtering the influence of the music of writers such as George Gershwin and Rodgers and Hart into a mix peppered with the harmony styles of the Beach Boys, the Four Freshmen and even doo-wop, and then topping the resulting flow with his love of artists such as the Electric Light Orchestra and XTC, Eggers has delivered a harmony- and melody-drenched soundtrack to an imaginary film, somewhat of a sequel to the last Nines album, Night Surfer and the Cassette Kids.
In the story that drives the songs on Alejandro’s Visions, Alejandro, one of the main characters of the garage-rock-centered Night Surfer, travels back in time to an alternate version of the late 1950s, where he falls in love with a girl named Marie. Unfortunately, it’s a love that doesn’t last.
The songs on Alejandro’s Visions bring Eggers’ ideas to life. Witness such lovingly crafted creations as the beautiful, bittersweet, old-fashioned “When Our Love Was in Bloom,” stacked deep with gorgeous harmonies and an irresistible melody; and the early rock and roll/pop hybrid “Operator (Coming Home to You),” which sports a meaty, catchy, percussive piano riff, opens with an aural allusion to the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” and lays out a delectable Jeff Lynne-ish bridge that will make you smile.
A student of popular songs created across the decades, Eggers continues to write and record music that moves him and, as evidenced by his ongoing popularity, his ever-growing audience. Alejandro’s Visions, while perhaps a collection of songs that is unexpected, is moreover a sterling addition to a body of work that stands tall among pop music’s greatest achievements. This is Eggers’ best and most assured work yet, an immensely satisfying work that belongs in every melodic pop music fan’s collection.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “And Suddenly,” “Beachfront in New York,” “Can’t Go Back to Ocean Town,” “Darling I Adore You,” “Escape from a Small Town,” “Everybody Knows Me,” “I Have Found You,” “I’m an Old Soul and You’re Old Fashioned,” and “Operator (Coming Home to You)”
When and Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, CD Baby, and Amazon (mp3)
Here are four more recent additions to the Pure Pop Radio playlist:
Chris Murphy with Michael Carpenter | “Real Love” This absolutely gorgeous ballad recasting of John Lennon’s song, released in 1996 on the Beatles Anthology 2 as the second new group track after “Free as a Bird,” is one of this year’s major triumphs in melodic pop music. For one thing, the tempo has been slowed, allowing Murphy to lovingly communicate the depth of the emotional lyric. Murphy’s vocal may well be the best vocal performance of the year. His ability to hold a melody line’s final note in such an artful way, to sustain its resonance and maximize its impact on the listener, is something to behold.
Recorded with precision and heart by Carpenter on the occasion of singer Kylie Whitney’s wedding (Whitney also sang background vocals), this new version of this wonderful song is proof positive that covers can reveal new layers of emotion not previously brought to the surface. Murphy, whose superb solo work can also be heard on Pure Pop Radio, proves, in the space of four minutes and ten seconds, all this and much more. Carpenter plays all of the instruments. Essential listening.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio
When and Where to Get It: iTunes. Hear it on Spotify, and see the lovely video on YouTube
Lisa Mychols | “I’ve Run All Out of Tears (To Cry Over You)” I had the great pleasure and distinct honor of premiering this lovely retro-charmer, the first single from the forthcoming labor of love, Dana Countryman’s Girlville! New Songs in the Style of Yesterday’s Hits, on November 10. The occasion was an exclusive interview with Dana on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, during which he talked publicly for the first time about this album, which I predict will be one of the most talked-about long players of 2017.
Close your eyes while listening to this three-minute-long, lovingly-crafted number, built on a genuine love for the girl group and Brill Building sounds of the early 1960s, and you will find yourself transported back to a much simpler time, perhaps, when melody and joy were king. Lisa Mychols’ authentic, warm-hearted vocal is a blast of musical love. Dana paints his soundscape with colorful, period brushstrokes, even as he tops his creation off with a Brian May-like guitar solo from Klaatu’s Dee Long.
You will hear more, much more, about the girl group sounds lovingly celebrated on Dana Countryman’s Girlville! New Songs in the Style of Yesterday’s Hits closer to the album’s January 13, 2017 release by Australia’s Teensville Records. Until then, savor this lead track and smile.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio (exclusively through November 15)
When and Where to Get It: Bandcamp
The Flat Five | It’s a World of Love and Hope From out Chicago way comes this group of harmony-centric harmony hounds. A supergroup of sorts due to the member’s affiliation with artists such as Neko Case and the New Pornographers, the Flat Five took a long road toward making this, their first album, playing a growing number of gigs during which they performed songs written by group member Scott Ligon’s brother Chris. Intent on getting a wide audience for Chris’s songs, they set about recording them. The result is a deliciously wondrous assortment of luscious pop dressed in a variety of comfortable musical clothing that runs the gamut from the Manhattan Transfer-meets-hep cat vibe of the delightful “Buglight” to the Paul McCartney retro-sway of “I Could Fall in Love with You” and the pretty back porch balladry of Roches-like “Bottom Buck.” Records like this one don’t come along every day, which makes It’s a World of Love and Hope pretty special.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Florida,” “Buglight,” “Bottom Buck,” I Could Fall in Love with You,” “Birmingham,” and “This is Your Night,” which sounds like a cross between the Free Design and the Association, an unlikely combination perhaps, but oh so tasty.
When and Where to Get It: Bloodshot Records, Amazon, and Bandcamp
Cult of Wedge | Loch Ness Monsters and Motherships This latest musical missive from UK parish Rowley Regis’s Pete Hackett notches a best-album-yet nod for its top-notch selection of catchy songs, all performed with gusto. Hackett’s obvious love of the pop form glistens on the half-dozen songs from this album now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. Earworms all.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “That Song Last Summer,” “When I Was Young,” “Miss America,” “Oh Lindsay,” “Wish Ourselves Away,” and “Shine on Me”
When and Where to Get It: Bandcamp
Carl Funk | Black Horizon Vanilla fans will be familiar with Carl Funk from his widescreen lead vocal on “The Angel of Swain’s Lane” from the group’s 2.0 album (also appearing here), sung, as I said in my October 15, 2014 review of the song, “with deep emotion and old world style.” Carl’s committed, soulful voice drives these songs, carved with (and yes, I am coining a new word) an Amerisoulfulcana blade which fit perfectly among the various pop colors in our on-air mix. Wonderful stuff.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Time and Time,” “Resolution,” and “The Angel of Swain’s Lane”
When and Where to Get It: carlfunk.com