Spins and Reviews | 08.29.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio
NRBQ | Happy Talk (Omnivore, 2017)
Entertaining adoring audiences for five decades, the undeniably versatile and forever-sure-to-please band shows no signs of hanging up their rather extensive repertoire. Happy Talk, a joyous five-song EP that was cut during a touring break, follows the well-received, mammoth and comprehensive five-CD box set, High Noon: A 50-Year Retrospective, which was released last November to great acclaim. Two catchy originals join three choice covers in a must-get collection that screams “Full length, please!” I love the Hee-Hawish toe-tapper “Yes, I Have a Banana,” the succinct take on Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely,” and the sprightly, loving and heartfelt version of “Happy Talk,” from South Pacific. Charming through and through, this is a mini-masterpiece.
Bubble Gum Orchestra | “The Beatles Made Me” (from the forthcoming album, Sixthoverture)
The first single from Bubble Gum Orchestra’s forthcoming long player, Sixthoverture, is a bit of a stylistic departure from Michael Hildebrandt’s creative outlet. The usual overt nods to all things Electric Light Orchestra are tempered in this sweet yet somewhat edgy slice of musical gratitude.
The bulk of the lyric is a thank-you to the Fab Four for inspiration rendered, but there is this quizzical verse: “Abbey Road/Abbey Road nearly ruined me/Just like the love/Just like the love that you stole from me.” Michael says that the Abbey Road bit “is referencing that [the] Abbey Road album was so great to me that anything I would ever listen to after that by any other band would never compare.” And as for the part about love: it “is a relationship thing comparing lost love to also being ruined.” An interesting left turn, indeed.
We are proudly premiering “The Beatles Made Me” on tonight’s edition of the Pop Tunes Deejay Show on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio. We are, in fact, the first North American radio show to play this great song, so thank you, MH.
Where to Get It: The BGO Store
Neil Finn | “Second Nature” and “More than One of You” (from the forthcoming album, Out of Silence) | (2017)
Just on the basis of the spirited, orchestrated mid-tempo ballad “Second Nature” and the quite lovely “More than One of You,” this is a return to the Crowded House-era side of Neil Finn’s craft, which to my mind has been missing from much of his solo output. Recording live with his band, Finn aimed to record the whole of Out of Silence in a three-hour session on August 25 with a quick release date, now looking like September 22. Neil Finn has delivered to the world some of the most melodic songs heard since his time in Split Enz and on through the Crowded House years and beyond. These two new songs are more-than-worthy additions to his catalog.
Winterpills | “Colorblind” (2017)
A new release from Winterpills, one of my favorite bands of those I’ve discovered in recent years, is always welcome. A typically catchy, widescreen recording of a typically catchy song, “Colorblind” is another notch in the Northampton, Massachusetts band’s win column. How do I describe this song? I couldn’t possibly do better than the description posted on the band’s Bandcamp page, so here goes: “‘Colorblind’ features an infectious wall-of-sound vocal hook, samples recorded into an iPhone in a DC parking lot, out-of-tune pianos colliding over a burned-out city, a fat R&B beat, all poured through the alchemy of producer Justin Pizzoferrato’s overdrive brain.” That about sums it up. Now go get it.
Where to Get It: Bandcamp
Crime Scene | Alter Life (2017)
Three members of Swedish pop-rockers Crime Scene were players in the much-missed Longplayer Orchestra (Ulf Holmberg, Jon Sundberg, and Göran Holmberg). Their new songs may hit harder than the poppier Longplayer output, but they are no less catchy and appealing. Crime Scene’s crafted ingredients, cooked up with fourth member Per Östling, top the pops with songs like power ballad “No Gravity,” the pretty “I Tend to Shy Away,” and album closer “Almost Spring,” a gorgeous number that features a lovely vocal turn from guest singer Trish Sheldon and just a hint of banjo accent. A can’t-miss collection.
Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, playing the latest and greatest melodic pop songs from today and across the decades, and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere Internet melodic pop talk show, air weekly on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.
Listen to the Pop Tunes Deejay Show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET (two different shows every week); In Conversation airs every Wednesday night at 9 pm ET. Don’t miss a minute!