New on Pure Pop Radio 07.11.17: Terry Draper’s “She’s All Mine,” Cliff Hillis, Carpenter Caswell, Vegas With Randolph featuring Lannie Flowers, and More

new on pp banner hybrid 2-use this one, it's fixedSpins and Reviews | 07.11.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

terry draper she's all mineTerry Draper | “She’s All Mine” (from the album Remarkable Women) (2017)
Written this past May, recorded in June, and released just days ago, this freshly-plucked, catchy tune, a love song about Terry’s wife Anna, celebrates her charm in a rather charming way. It’s from Terry’s album Remarkable Women, releasing this Friday, and it’s the perfect summer song, a bouncy, singalongable, and quirky creation. In other words, it’s a keeper. Bonus coolness factor: Dig the key change (a semi-tone modulation) about three-quarters of the way through.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Terry Draper’s website’s digital store, iTunes

cliff hillis many happy returns coverCliff Hillis |Many Happy Returns (Tallboy, 2017)
Always a reliable writer and performer, Cliff returns with arguably his finest release, an EP’s worth of pop songs that sing. Even the bouncy popper “Time an Evangelist,” a hopeful look at today’s fractured political landscape, is a catchy treat whose heart beats proudly (“Poor musician/Sings a protest song/All he wants is the world to sing along”). The title number is a pure poppy delight with a fun, vocally percussive underpinning; the four-on-the-floor “Never in a Million Years,” a co-write with Robbie Rist, rocks with a determined guitar attack as it pops; and the lovely mid-tempo ballad “With All the World,” written with Pure Pop Radio favorite Bill DeMain, is alight with Burt Bacharach-y horns. Wonderful.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Time an Evangelist,” “Many Happy Returns,” “With All the World,” “Hey Pretty Face,” and “Never in a Million Years”
black box Where to Get It: Tallboy Records on Facebook, iTunes

elliot schneider singleElliot Schneider | “The Moon Has Flown Away” (2017)
This catchy, upbeat pop-rocker, the first track released from Elliot’s upcoming album, Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basketcase, ticks all the boxes for listeners and ups the ante with luscious background vocals supplied by the Italian band Cirrone, whose new EP is currently spinning on Pure Pop Radio. Eminently catchy and an earworm, to boot.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: CD Baby, Amazon

carpenter caswell high hopesCarpenter Caswell | “High Hopes” (Big Radio Records, 2017)
The third single from superstar duo Michael Carpenter and fellow Australian Allan Caswell is ostensibly country, but as soon as you hear it, you will see why I say it’s pop, dressed in country outer gear. Buoyed by strong percussion, tears-in-your-eyes slide guitar, and a melody to stop your ears in their tracks, “High Hopes” is a hopeful slice of country-pop. The upcoming Carpenter Caswell album seems a cinch for high marks.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes

the ronson hangup hickok's curseThe Ronson Hangup | “Hickok’s Curse” (2017)
The first single from the Hangup’s forthcoming and long-awaited second album is an engaging, dynamic, upbeat pop song that raises the stakes from the band’s terrific first collection. A great melody draws ears to a great tune. Don’t miss the brief carnival-like tempo change about halfway in. In fact, don’t miss this song.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Amazon, iTunes

vegas with randolph photo smalllannie flowers photoVegas With Randolph featuring Lannie Flowers | “The Weekend’s Coming” (2017)
Another sizzling track, wearing its power pop heart on its energetic sleeve, from the much-anticipated, forthcoming This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Volume 4 compilation (we’re also playing Ray Paul’s terrific “I Need Your Love Tonight”). “The Weekend’s Coming” mixes the considerable talents of Washington, D.C.’s Vegas With Randolph and Texas pop powerhouse Lannie Flowers for an enticing, toe-tapper that features strong vocals, a particularly enticing bridge, and that magical hook.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Coming soon

nicky fingersNicky Fingers and the Motor City Lobsters | “One More Chance” (2017)
Band names are everything, or at least they used to be, and they still are, if you look long enough. Back in the glory days of the 1960s, for example, when you came upon a band calledsay, the Hollies, you had a pretty good idea of what you were going to get. With a band name such as Nicky Fingers and the Motor City Lobsters, you’re really not sure what’s in store before you play their one and only song. Nicky Fingers could be a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who’s spent time with a guy of questionable repute, and the Motor City Lobsters could be guys with, you know, claws of some sort, in whose grip you would not want to wind up.

Turns out, however, that Nicky and his Lobsters are perfectly acceptable to bring home to the parents on date night. Nicky and the Motor City Lobsters are the collective nom de plume of New Trocaderos keys man Kris “Fingers” Rodgers, driving popster Nick Piunti, Andy Reed, Donny Brown, and Michael Chaney (who co-wrote “One More Chance” with Nick), attorney-at-law and writer-of-catchy-tunes, about whose work much has been written rather glowingly as toes all over the land are tapping down into the floorboards with a certain panache. Therein lies the pedigree, true as true can be, but still the question remains: Do Nicky and his Lobsters, hailing from the Motor City, thrash and crash their way through some kind of speed metal arrangement of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” or, you know, what?

Nothing of the sort, it turns out. In fact, “One More Chance” is nothing less than a celebration of pure pop, an old-fashioned kind of energetic four-beat after four-beat thumper with the kind of melody and hook construct that begs repeat plays. It’s catchy, too, and it’s kind of reminiscent of the poppier side of Bruce Springsteen (of “Where the Bands Are” fame). There’s a little Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in there, and there’s some Bob Dylan too, which you can detect from Nick’s as-usual affecting vocal.

One even quick-and-gone look at the artwork for “One More Chance”–a mix-and-match, leave-them-where-they-fall smattering of faux psyched-out skulls and old-fashioned-from-back-in-the-day, push-the-button-and-out-come-some-raised-letter-labels that spell out the band name and song title–and you’d likely exit stage left or even right and run for the hills. But you’re more likely to smile and hit the repeat button on your music player of choice.

Nicky Fingers and the Motor City Lobsters are coming to your town–not actually coming there, but making a sounds-like-a-hit appearance from out of your speakers–and it’s okay to make them right at home. Skulls are optional.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

populuxe band photoPopuluxe | “Garage Sale” (2017)
Seeded in Brooklyn in the late 1990s, this trio, comprised of Mike Mallory, Mark Pardy, and Rob Shapiro (listed in alphabetical order because Mike, Mark and then Rob sounds sort of musical, I guess), open up their new song with pounding, purposeful drums that segue into an XTC kind of song, charged with melody and guitars and all kinds of changes, and you will likely like it as I do. The trio is joined by Gracie Wall, who sings background vocals. The tune was recorded in California, which is the other coast, depending on where you live. This song is great wherever you live.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Amazon

More reviews coming…before you know it!

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New on Pure Pop Radio 6.29.17: Richard X. Heyman and Bill DeMain

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Spins and Reviews | 06.29.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

We’ve added hundreds of new and new-to-you songs and artists to our playlist; here are reviews of two of our favorite new albums from two of our favorite melodic pop artists…

A Richard X. Heyman Spectacular:
Incognito (Turn-Up, 2017) and seven songs left off the album and now playing in rotation on an exclusive permission-granted basis

The music of Richard X. Heyman has been a steady presence during the 22-year history of Pure Pop Radio. I picked up on Richard’s wonderful songs just prior to the release of Cornerstone, his third album. Thanks to a suggestion from the Spongtones’ Jamie Hoover, I contacted Richard’s wife, Nancy, who began sending me cassettes of the work-in-progress. Nine albums later, Incognito arrives, Richard’s 12th long player, and his best work by far.

It is hard to fathom exactly what drives an artist to produce such good work so far into his career, other than the simple desire to create and the presence of a never-depleting well of inspiration and innate talent. It is evident at every step that Incognito’s 14 songs are proof positive that Richard’s mission has been and continues to be fulfilled.

Dazzling songs and equally dazzling performances greet you at every turn. In the pure popper “A Fool’s Errand,” the narrator tells the world that his love for his partner is solid and for the ages. “Her Garden Path” is a muscular track with a grandly attractive riff that chronicles a man’s escape from a woman’s web. And the horn-infused, soulful pop number, “So What,” finds Richard sounding as though he’s channeling the Rascals’ Felix Cavaliere.

Richard’s playing is stellar. Incognito is stellar, a monumental achievement from an artist who never disappoints. Richard recorded seven additional songs for this album that wound up on the cutting room floor. Each one is a pearl in a sea full of them (particularly “Advantage Girl,” an speedy, upbeat pop song with expressive guitar lines, Richard’s trademark three-dimensional harmonies, and those incredible drums). While not for sale, they are playing in rotation on our air on an exclusive permission-granted basis, so thanks to Richard and Nancy for being so gracious.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: From Incognito: “Incognito,” “A Fool’s Errand,” “And Then,” “Gleam,” “So What,” “In Our Best Interest,” “Her Garden Path,” “Lift,” “Miss Shenandoah Martin,” “All You Can Do,” “Terry Two Timer,” and “These Troubled Times”
Plus: Seven Incognito outtakes: “Advantage Girl,” “And Now It’s All This,” “Follow Me Down,” “If I Didn’t Know Her Better,” “No One Left to Blame,” “Pocket Full of Holes,” and “The Golden Coast”
black box Where to Get Incognito: Richard X. Heyman’s website

transatlantic romanitc cover-smallBill DeMain | Transatlantic Romantic (2017)
As one-half of the transcendent duo Swan Dive and the artist behind 2012’s wonderfully melodic EP, Extended Stay, Bill DeMain is, like Richard X. Heyman, a familiar presence on our airwaves. Bill’s new album, a delicious, wonderfully arranged song cycle stacked high with sweet, beautifully written and performed classic-sounding songs in the style of Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, and Harpers Bizarre, is as perfect a record as could be offered to earthlings in 2017.

Built around Bill’s piano and lovely vocals, and co-producer Jim Hoke’s tasteful string and horn arrangements, which ought to get some kind of arranger’s award (someone get on that right away), these songs will absolutely, positively stay with you for all eternity. I’ve written about a few of the songs that’s we’ve been playing on the air exclusively for awhile (read about “Honey Bear” and “Leroy Boy” here) but there are others worthy of more than a mere mention.

“Lemon Yellow” is a lovely waltz blessed by Van Dyke Parks-meets-George Martin strings, Randy Newman-esque piano, and a charming story about the love of a car that came “all the way from Germany.” The life of a boy growing up with the world snuggled up around him takes place in and around that lemon yellow automobile. Witness: true love, near yet far (“I was too shy to kiss her”); driving through the summer sun with a cassette of Genesis’s Selling England by the Pound album playing; going off to college and missing the four wheels every day; and pledging affection despite some really rather tiny imperfections (“If she was a little quirky/Water pooled beneath the seat/Wash me on a window dirty/And the dimples on fenders.”) You, as do I, will wish you had written this gem.

back cover bill-smallThe cinematic midtempo ballad “Brewster, Illinois (April 3rd, 1952)” is a sweet musical snapshot of the day-to-day goings-on in a small town as the calendar pages turn and days turn into nights and nights turn back into days. The song was sparked when Bill was looking through newspapers from where he grew up in New Jersey. Charmed by the everyday events chronicled, he was moved to write this number, which builds to a bridge from which a measure of sunny-day town square-like bursts of ebullience emerge. It’s a masterful creation.

Honestly, this is the kind of album that hardly anyone makes anymore, which is a shame. In these often trying days, we search valiantly for some sunlight, for some melodies to hum to ourselves to cheer ourselves up. Bill DeMain’s brilliant, heartfelt album (with nary a guitar present), bursting softly with charm to spare, ought to do the trick.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Begin,” “Leroy Boy,” “Honey Bear,” “Lemon Yellow,” “Brewster, Illinois (April 3rd, 1952),” “Boffo and Beans,” “Dori,” “Alaska,” “Wendy” (Beach Boys cover), and “The Golden Age” (The entire album)
black box Where to Get It: Contact Bill at billdemain@gmail.com to order a CD for $12.00 (includes postage)

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Cherry Parkes’ Basement Tapes: A Pure Pop Radio World Premiere

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* Listen to the world radio premiere of Cherry Parkes’ previously-unheard ’60s classic, “The Man of the Moment,” tonight at both 8 and 9 pm ET!
Thanks to the Charlatan Record Cartel. *

cherry parkes man of the moment cover-small

Cherry Parkes | “The Man of the Moment”
(Charlatan Record Cartel, 2017)

“These were in my basement.  Maybe you can do something with them.”

They were words one might expect to hear at a yard sale from a been-in-the-neighborhood-for-decades resident who had finally cleaned out his basement, littered with bric-a-brac and mementos from a life lived generously. “These were in my basement. Maybe you can do something with them.” “How much for this chest of drawers?” “Five dollars. A bargain, if you ask me.” A deal made in the blink of an eye, a treasure successfully transferred to a new home.

Except in this case, “these” were a set of master tapes found abandoned in a basement in Tacoma, Washington that were sent to the progressive Charlatan Record Cartel. All eyes and ears, for that matter, have been transfixed on Jayson Jarmon’s outfit since this past March, when Charlatan began releasing heretofore unheard recordings made by Pacific Northwest practitioners of the pop music art.

charlatan records logoWhereas previous Charlatan releases have come from contemporary artists such as the Sunday Brothers, this latest release is a blast from an unknown past. The treasures received were “badly deteriorated four-track master tapes marked simply as ‘Cherry Parkes, October 1966’ and were accompanied by several photos, a handkerchief marked ‘AP,’ and a gig poster describing a Friday night show at Federal Way’s long defunct Spanish Castle club,” according to the label. And what of the significance of the personalized handkerchief? A mystery likely to remain unsolved, sadly.

After baking the 50-year-old tapes in what we can only assume is the Charlatan lab rats’ version of  the famous childhood kitchen appliance known as the Easy-Bake Oven, and mixing and mastering to improve sonic clarity, Charlatan staff auditioned the four Parkes tracks. What they heard was nothing less than magical. What happened next literally and figuratively knocked the socks off their feet, clear across the floor, until they ran smack into Charlatan’s cherry wood-paneled walls.

cherry parkes-smallAmanda “Cherry” Parkes’ introduction to the world is the first song released from Charlatan’s momentous find. “The Man of the Moment” is reminiscent of the best of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s output, but also calls to mind various James Bond movie theme songs and classic sides waxed by female vocalists of the 1960s, such as Vicki Carr and Eydie Gorme. One listen to the melody-infused track, about a woman who chooses a spouse who is, perhaps, less than savory and maybe not the right catch (“And do you think she’ll ever wonder how it came to this?/And will she willingly exchange a wedding vow/With such a piece of work as this?”) is all it takes to understand how much gold has been dropped into Charlatan’s considerable lap.

Pure Pop Radio is proud to be presenting the world radio premiere of Amanda “Cherry” Parkes’ “The Man of the Moment” tonight at 8 and 9 pm ET. The track will be available for purchase this Friday, June 30, on Charlatan’s Bandcamp page (check back for the link). It’s not often that a track of such import is imported into our playlist; we urge you to drop everything this evening and hear for yourself this magical musical missive.

Cherry Parkes’ “The Man of the Moment” is but one of hundreds of new and new-to-you songs that have recently been added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a slew of reviews of just-released classic recordings from such artists of the moment as Richard X. Heyman, Bill DeMain, The Naturals, Carpenter Caswell, and The Junipers’ Robyn Gibson.

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Still Whimsical After All These Years: Ray Paul’s “I Need Your Love Tonight” is Top of the Pops

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Ray Paul | “I Need Your Love Tonight” | This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Volume 4
(Kool Kat Musik) 2017

ray paul i need your lovveJust one month shy of a year since the release of Whimsicality, Ray Paul’s glorious, rock ’em, sock ’em return to recording, which in July of 2016 we called “one of this year’s best albums… a delicious mix of originals and well-chosen covers,” Ray returns with another, so-very-catchy slice of pop, and it’s a doozy.

“I Need Your Love Tonight” mines both the sweet and crunchy sides of the Raspberries sound (with just a hint of The Grass Roots) for four minutes of indisputable proof that this heritage artist, whose work passionately promoting indie pop artists is well-known and treasured, is top of the pops.

Ray’s signature, booming bass and strong vocals (stronger than ever, actually), Terry Draper’s drums, tambourine and piano, and Bill Nadeau’s crunchy guitars distinguish “I Need Your Love Tonight,” co-produced in grand style last month by Ray and Terry at Terry’s Swamp Manor studio in Oak Ridges, ON, Canada. The track is certain to be one of the highlights of the much-anticipated This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Volume 4 compilation, being released by Ray Gianchetti’s Kool Kat Musik label.

Pure Pop Radio is proud to be the first independent radio outlet to play “I Need Your Love Tonight” outside of Dana and Carl’s This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio show. The song is now gracing our air and playing in hot rotation. We dig us some new Ray.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Coming soon

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New on Pure Pop Radio 05.18.17: Songs, Bond Songs: The Music of 007; Chris Price; Fun of the Pier, and More

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Spins and Reviews | 05.18.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Various Artists | Songs, Bond Songs: The Music of 007 (2017)
cover
Curry Cuts’ third release, after swimming with lite rockers and second British Invasioneers, continues the label’s successful run of specially-curated themed compilations with this gathering of 26 covers of all of the songs featured in James Bond films.

This merry mix of moods invites repeat listens: standouts include Popdudes’ straight-ahead, rocking take on Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Live and Let Die”; Lannie Flowers’ Merseybeat-ish “James Bond Theme,” which glistens with power pop polish and a pair of nifty nods to Fab notions; and Zach Jones’ brightly-lit, soulful run through “All-Time High.” The Corner Laughers’ sprightly, jazzy version of “Diamonds are Forever” is a keeper, and don’t count out Big-Box Store, aka The New Pornographers’ Joe Seiders, who turns in a commanding, moody performance of “Die Another Day.”

Grab a martini–shaken, stirred, or otherwise appointed–and know how it feels to have an all-time high. (If you missed out on Curry Cuts’ first two releases, Drink a Toast to Innocence: A Tribute to Lite Rock and Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion, click here with due speed.)

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “All Time High,” Zach Jones; “Diamonds are Forever,” The Corner Laughers; “Die Another Day,” Big-Box Store; “For Your Eyes Only,” Freedy Johnston; “From Russia with Love,” The Stereo Twins; “Golden Eye,” Identical Suns; “James Bond Theme,” Lannie Flowers; “Live and Let Die,” Popdudes; “Moonraker,” Gary Frenay; “The Living Daylights,” Cirrone; and “Writing’s On the Wall,” Cliff Hillis
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

chris price stop talking coverChris Price | Stop Talking (2017)
The blue-gray washed inner, two-panel spread of Chris Price’s second album shows Price in contemplative repose standing at the foot of the ocean, at the beach, wearing a suit and tie, his hands in his pockets, his longish hair being blown back softly as the tempered waves draw close behind him. Even the blue-tinted dog on the cover looks like he, or she, has a few things on his mind.

chris price ocean photo 5Five years on from his first solo album, and after producing Emitt Rhodes and Linda Perhacs, these 14 songs recorded by Price between 2013 and 2016 make up the ironically-titled Stop Talking, which isn’t really what this thinking-man’s popster wants you to do after hearing the catchy “One of Them,” the Paul McCartney-meets-Stephen Bishop-meets-Rupert Holmes “Man Down,” and the tour de force, “Darkness.”

Stop talking? No, no. What Price wants you to do is listen and then talk about these songs. Tell your friends, your family, your neighbors–the guy who delivers bread to your local supermarket, even. In this social media age especially, it’s word of mouth, communicated far and wide, that moves souls in search of the next big thing from point a to b.

So let’s start talking. This album’s highlights are many, brought to life by Price who, in addition to being the artist, wore the hats of producer, engineer and mixer, and a number of additional musicians. The tender, Nilsson-esque “You and Me (And Everyone Else),” co-written by Price and The New Pornographers’ Joe Seiders, who plays a delicate piano here, puts the spotlight on Price’s voice, a strong, emotional instrument. The pounding piano song “One of Them” is a pure pop delight. And the toe-tapping, orchestrated charmer “Once Was True” puts a lovely chord progression and melodic structure center stage.

Perhaps the centerpiece of Stop Talking is “Darkness,” a patchwork of a song, rallying different time signatures around a handsome melody for a bravura performance that takes less than three minutes to bring to a close.

The man at the foot of the ocean can stop contemplating now. Stop Talking is a keeper.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Hi Lo,” “Man Down,” “Once Was True,” “You and Me (And Everyone Else),” “Sigh,” “Darkness,” “James Bond Theme,” “One of Them,” and “Anhedonia”
black box Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon

cover artFun of the Pier | “Cavern Song” and “(In) My Town” (from the forthcoming album, 14:42)
Nottingham, England’s Mark and Helen Luker, along with Richard Hattersley, make a welcome return to the pop landscape with two new songs that will feature on the duo’s forthcoming, long-awaited album, 14:42.

band shot“Cavern Song” is a sprightly toe-tapper about getting into the world famous venue on a number of fronts. Taking to task entitlement (“What d’you mean we have to pay?”), expressing the excitement of being there on social media in the most basic of terms (“Take a photo of a photograph/Now upload it to your page/Oh we’re havin’ such a laugh/Take a selfie on the stage”), and the power of the artist (“And at least I get to work it out/With some lyrics…”), the song is perhaps the very first lively, happy-sounding cautionary tale of 2017. Somewhat recalling the vibe of Paul McCartney’s “Hope of Deliverance,” “(In) My Town” examines life in a small burg under siege, from which youth is unable to break out (“Is it any wonder they can’t meet/The demands of a world unknown”). All three players shine, but let’s give Mark top marks for some quite inventive bass playing.

A CD containing both of these songs is slated to be given away at the Cavern Club in conjunction with Fun of the Pier’s performance at International Pop Overthrow this coming weekend. Meanwhile, bring on the album. We’ve loved Fun of the Pier’s sound for a long time. Welcome back.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Cavern Song” and “(In) My Town”
black box Where to Get It: Not yet available

Now Is The Time Cover ArtStrangely Alright | “Now is the Time” (2017)
Regan Lane and company return to the Pure Pop Radio airwaves, and your stereo components, with this spacey, Marc Bolan-in-space vibe-y number. Hypnotic and inviting, the song fills the here-and-now stereo soundfield with ’60s-inspired joy. Don’t miss it.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: iTunes, CD Baby

Crime Scene - Carnival Queen coverCrime Scene | “Carnival Queen” and “The Highs and Lows of Love” (2017)
Former members of the great Swedish Longplayer Orchestra–Ulf Holmberg, Jon Sundberg, and Göran Holmberg–join Per Östling to deliver one of the big treats of the spring on this nifty digital single.

“Carnival Queen” is a majestic mid-paced, McCartney-esque ballad with a catchy chorus; “The Highs and Lows of Love” starts out as a rockin’ blues belter that becomes a pure pop delight in the chorus, which is preceded by a sly nod to the Electric Light Orchestra (spot it if you dare!) and topped off with a surprise coda. Whew! Lots of fun.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Carnival Queen” and “The Highs and Lows of Love”
black box Where to Get It: Not yet available

Also added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist and currently spinning in rotation:

your gracious host boomerangYour Gracious Host | Boomerang (2017) | “Boomerang,” “Honor the Aim,” “Rest of Us in the Third World,” “Spritely,” and “You See Right Through Me” Bandcamp, Kool Kat Musik

Plasticsoul - Therapy coverPlasticsoul | Therapy (2017) | “Her Raincoat,” “The Girl of Many Tribes,” and “Babylon” Plasticsoul Pre-Order

love minus zeroLove Minus Zero | “Mary Says” Bandcamp

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New on Pure Pop Radio 05.15.17: Robyn Gibson’s Bob of the Pops Vol. 1, Cirrone, The Cool Whips, and More

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Spins and Reviews | 05.15.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Robyn Gibson | Bob of the Pops Vol. 1 (2017)
bob of the pops front coverA buoyant exercise in the art of homage, Bob of the Pops Vol. 1 finds The Junipers’ multi-instrumentalist Robyn Gibson having a good old time putting his warm, wide-eyed spin on 14 favorite songs. This free download on Bandcamp is the bargain release of the year and, quite surely, one of the best collections we’ve heard in ages.

The reason for that? Bob of the Pops Vol. 1 is fun to listen to; every song essayed bears Gibson’s unmistakable stamp, his softhearted vocals casting a warm glow over every melody line and emotional keystone communicated. In his hands, these classic constructs breathe new life into familiar musical landscapes.

robyn gibsonThe Beatles’ “Nowhere Man,” certainly a familiar and iconic number, fairly drips with the joy Gibson obviously had recording it. The opening, harmony drenched a cappella couplet is sweetly delivered; the song reveals itself as a modern-day folk song, every harmonic element glimmering with life and hope. The Hollies’ “Listen to Me” adopts a bit of a softer pace than the original, the soft harmonies taking a smidge off of the edge of the proceedings for a bit of a warmer performance.

Similarly, The Who’s “I Can’t Reach You” feels more personal, and again it’s Gibson’s assured, sweet vocal harmonies that do the trick. Tracey Ullman’s 1983 top 10 “They Don’t Know” practically glows with charm. And just to show he has a sense of humor, or because he knows, as do we all (probably), Gibson rolls through the theme song to the 1970s television smash, Laverne and Shirley, in a kind of England Dan and John Ford Coley-meets-The Ramones way. Sort of sweet punk, short and delicious.

bob of the pops back coverA collection that purports to be brought to life by such musicians as born-as-anagrams Boryng Bison and Sonny Orbbig, bridges the gap between a Beatles classic and a well-known soundalike homage (The Rutles’ “With a Girl Like You”), and sits comfortably within a wrapper designed to mirror the presentation of the old British Top of the Pops album series (with the Leave it to Beaver-ish “Bob,” a staid pipe in hand, subbing for the usual sexy model depicted), deserves a place in your heart.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “They Don’t Know,” “With a Girl Like You,” “I Can’t Reach You,” “Yes I Will,” “He Doesn’t Love You Like I Do,” “Strawberries are Growing in My Garden,” “Did I Say,” “Nowhere Man,” “How Long,” “Making Our Dreams Come True,” “Listen to Me,” and “The End/Listen for You,” a Gibson original
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

cirrone kings for a nightCirrone | Kings for a Night (2017)
The extended play, studio followup to Alessandro, Bruno, and Mirko Cirrone’s 2011 Uplands Park Road shares near total lineage with that classic album; four of its songs were first worked on during the Uplands sessions. The upbeat, Badfinger-ish pop-rockers “Everything’s Fine Now” and “It’s Gonna Be the Right Time,” the swaying charm of “Love Comes Again (Radio Edit),” and the gorgeous mid-tempo ballad, “Unforgotten Dream” continue the brothers’ time-honored tradition of mixing melodic vocalizing with strong instrumentation for a catchy, knockout musical punch. A full-length album is intended to follow this five-song taster, to which we say we can’t wait.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Everything’s Fine Now,” “It’s Gonna Be the Right Time,” “Unforgotten Dream,” and “Love Comes Again (Radio Edit)”
black box Where to Get It: CD Baby, Bandcamp

the cool whips baddiesThe Cool Whips | Baddies (2017)
Naturally, the follow-up to Portland, Oregon’s 2014 long-player debut Goodies goes by the name Baddies, but it’s a joke, son, so don’t get your knickers in a twist…unless your appetite for good old pop ‘n’ roll has bit the dust. To wit: The Farfisa-powered “Linda Lu,” all thump and bop and circumstance, is an exciting, primal listen; “Time Will Tell” sounds like it emerged through a time portal connected to a garage in 1965; “Splash” plops playfully beat by beat with Beatles bops; and “Inside Outsider” fashions an upbeat Monkees vibe for two toe-tapping minutes. Rollicking fun.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Another World,” “Splash,” “Linda Lu,” “There Must Have Been Sugar in It,” “Time Will Tell,” “Move Like That,” “Inside Outsider,” and “Live in a Dream”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

Also added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist and currently spinning in rotation:

lisa mychols Lisa Mychols | “Loving You” (2017) CD Baby

red caravan ho humRed Caravan | “Ho Hum” (2017) Bandcamp

anchor and bear 2Anchor and Bear | “Hard to Say You’re Sorry” (2017)

r. stevie moore and jason falkner make it beR. Stevie Moore and Jason Falkner | Make It Be (2017) | “Sincero Amore,” “Don’t You Just Know It,” and “Play Myself Some Music” Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, Bandcamp

michael slawterMichael Slawter | An Assassination of Someone You Knew (2017) | “Count to 10,” “Too Dumb for You,” and “My Marion” Bandcamp

the deep six brand new dayThe Deep Six | “Brand New Day” (2017)

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listen sun grey 4-30-17

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New on Pure Pop Radio 05.11.17: Cait Brennan, Bryan Estepa, The Wellingtons, Kenny Herbert, Pat Walsh, and More

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Spins and Reviews | 05.11.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

cait brennab thirdCait Brennan | Third (2017)
Quite simply, and before I say anything specific about Cait Brennan’s miraculous, astounding, audacious new album, the pairing of this one-of-a-kind artist and multi-instrumentalist and ace producer Fernando Perdomo is surely one of those fortified-in-heaven happenings that make life on earth a wonderful thing. Captain Obvious here, in other words.

Soaking up the atmosphere at Memphis, Tennessee’s legendary Ardent Studios, where, it may be hard to believe, Big Star only scratched the surface of artists who waxed classic recordings, Brennan and Perdomo made the magic that lines the virtual walls of Brennan’s new album, Third.

It’s one thing to have great songs when going into a studio–any studio–but it’s another to have the chutzpah and the moxie to make them so great that they emerge on disc fully-formed as state-of-the-art classics, which is exactly how the baker’s dozen songs on Third turned out.

What the hell was in the water when Brennan and Perdomo cooked up the ingredients that, stirred in just the right way, made the amazing “Catiebots Don’t Cry” a reality? Because more of that kind of crafting, okay? This gut-wrenching you-love-her-I-love-her-what-are-we-gonna-do-about-it slow-to-mid-tempo burner is a skewed kind of aromatic love song that would have been great had it just been delivered with Brennan singing solo over a gutsy piano track, but with the considered pop and roll stew played out with Perdomo, whose delicious ’70s-styled wah-wah guitar lines are something to behold, and Brennan, whose multi-tracked, three-dimensional vocal harmony stacks are a thing of beauty, it’s something else entirely that dares you and your band to even try to better it. And, I would bet the house on this, you won’t ever.

The equally amazing and spitfire rave-up that is “Shake Away” carries on the rich vocal harmony tradition set by “Catiebots Don’t Cry” in the form of a Motown/Stax-fortified rave-up, and believe me, this thing about getting love right shakes, baby, in a kind of boom-boom way. There’s a whole lot of shaking going on in this pounding number charged with maximum voltage; this thing is practically, deliberately breathless. Speaking of breathless, “A Hard Man to Love” is defiantly so; the grounding, pounding piano pushes the proceedings along until every element gets toppled by the late-song, packed-tight verse that Brennan sings so precise and quick. It outdoes that old Federal Express fast-talking spokesperson, leaving him flat in the dust.

Not every song on Third bristles with quick temperament: “Perish the Thought” is a thoughtful ballad that closes with a clarion a cappella call to arms that will send shivers up and down your spine. And “Bad at Apologies,” a mid-tempo ballad about attraction at all costs (“Another minute without him/I would probably die”), pours buckets of emotion on the flames of obsessive love.

A roller coaster ride through all of life’s travails, Third is an emotional wake up call for all humans negotiating the pathways of their existence. That it pops and rolls like the best works of melodic art is a given. Cait Brennan’s third go-round is astonishing, bold, and seemingly effortless. Captain Obvious, signing out.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Bad at Apologies,” “He Knows Too Much,” “At the End of the World,” “A Hard Man to Love,” “Catiebots Don’t Cry,” “Shake Away,” “The Angels Lie,” and “Perish the Thought”
black box Where to Get It: Amazon, Omnivore Store

bryan estepa rattled and rolledBryan Estepa | “Rattled and Rolled” (2017)
Just 11 days shy of a year ago, we added tracks from Sydney, Australia singer-songwriter Bryan Estepa’s wonderful album, Every Little Thing. He returns to Pure Pop Radio with this fine, melodic track, on which he is joined by ace musician Michael Carpenter; Bryan slings the guitars, Michael slings everything else (he also produced, recorded, mixed & mastered). What stands out most of all are Bryan’s astoundingly assured vocal, always on target; Michael’s humming Hammond organ; and the fact that the proceedings were recorded in just eight hours. Echoing the sensibilities of The New Pornographers, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan, this killer track whets our appetites for more. So, off with you then, Bryan Estepa.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

The Wellingtons End of the Summer front coverThe Wellingtons | End of the Summer (2017)
Today’s second entry from Australia (Melbourne, this time) finds this lively quintet returning to the pop boards with their first album in six years. While the songs are, by and large, a bit too loud for our humble airwaves, four are absolutely perfect. “1963” is a cheery, upbeat, happy-sounding jangly charmer with an intoxicating melody. “She Rides the Bus” is a mid-tempo ballad swirling in Beatlesque ambiance. “So Easy” rides the ABBA waves for a ba-ba-esque celebration of catchy. And the hooky title song would sound good, well, on the radio. So, let’s spin it, shall we?

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “End of the Summer,” “1963,” “So Easy,” and “She Rides the Bus”
black box Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Bomp Store

kenny herbert i'm comin homeKenny Herbert | “I’m Coming Home” (2017)
One of our favorite singer-songwriters working today, Kenny Herbert continues to write and record wonderful songs that come from the heart. His latest, written and recorded with David Paton (Pilot) and Nobby Clark is a typically pretty tune. Lovely harmonies, a sumptuous melody, and a catchy chorus are in tow. Gorgeous.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: iTunes

pat walsh bygone daysPat Walsh | “Bygone Days” (2017)
Another Pure Pop Radio favorite, Pat Walsh always delights with his wonderfully melodic songs. “Bygone Days” features another carefully modulated vocal, another terrific melody. Another, another and on and on. Beautiful.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Not currently available. Listen on YouTube

Also added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist and currently spinning in rotation:

the outryders - let's live for today The Outryders | “Piangi Con Me (& Live for Today)” (With Joe Algeri and Herb Eimerman) (2017) Bandcamp

lisa mycholsLisa Mychols | “He’s Got Me Dreaming'” and “Don’t Wanna Close My Eyes” (2017) (“He’s Got Me Dreaming” CD Baby; “Don’t Wanna Close My Eyes” CD Baby)

irene pena Irene Peña | “Shut It Down” (2017) (From Trying Not to Smile) Patreon

radio days i'm in love with you haruka Radio Days | “I’m In Love With You, Haruka” and “Teenage Kicks” (Undertones cover) Bandcamp

the dahlmanns forever my babyThe Dahlmanns | “Forever My Baby” and “The Last Time”
Pop Detective Records

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listen sun blue 4-30-17

listen sun grey 4-30-17

app box 4-30-17

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