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)
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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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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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New on Pure Pop Radio 05.10.17: The Blood Rush Hour, Lannie Flowers, The Del Zorros, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, and More

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Spins and Reviews | 05.10.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

the blood rush hour who folds firstThe Blood Rush Hour | Who Folds First (2017)
This fantastic follow-up to 2014’s miraculous And Then… The Unthinkable Happened is just as wondrous and wide-ranging and crafted with care as has come to be expected from Robert DeStefano’s more-than-reliable outfit.

Encompassing a variety of song styles, all finely wrought melodic microcosms and performed with perfection, Who Folds First brings the hits and a few happy surprises, like the Manhattan Transfer-like, a cappella opening that introduces the Todd Rundgren-esque “No More Excuses.” “He Left the Party (Far Too Soon)” is a merry melange of Steely Dan-y pop and funk, punctuated by Andrew Griffiths’ trombones, trumpets, alto sax, and tenor sax arsenal. And “The Space that We Have Made,” about getting to the heart of the matter, is a triumphant Dan-ish number sung by Pure Pop Radio favorite Christian Phillips, who devised the three-dimensional vocal arrangements with DeStefano.

A contender for best-of lists from all quarters, no doubt.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “No More Excuses,” “He Left the Party (Far Too Soon),” “Danny,” “The Space that We Made,” “6, 4, 5 and Sometimes 1,” “New Country,” “Find Another Russian Dancer,” “I’m the One,” “I Still See You,” and “What Does it Take”
black box Where to Get It: Nicola Records

lindsey buckingham christine mcvie album cover

Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie | “In My World” and “Feel About You” (from the forthcoming album, Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie) (2017)
To nobody’s surprise, the first two songs released in advance of the highly-anticipated, self-titled Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie album sound as if they could have appeared on just about any Fleetwood Mac long player. And in some ways, since both Mick Fleetwood and John McVie appear on this duo roundabout, it seems like it will be a Fleetwood Mac album in all but the name. Bottom line is, this is superior pop music made by two historic, always able practitioners of the art. “In My World” marries a jaunty minor key verse with a typically happy, poppy chorus that puts upper-register echoed vocals up front in the mix. “Feel About You” is a leisurely, McVie-sung charmer, sporting a lovely, harmony-laden chorus that just plain delivers the happy in so many ways. Essential.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “In My World” and “Feel About You,” from the forthcoming album, Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie
black box Where to Get It: Amazon (June 9)

chuck berry chuckChuck Berry | “Big Boys” and “Wonderful Woman” (from the forthcoming album, Chuck) (2017)
Nothing has driven aspiring rock ‘n’ rollers to take up that most expressive of instruments, the air guitar, more than the sound of the late, great Chuck Berry, whose body of work will continue to speak for itself into even the unforeseeable future. These two songs, featuring on the upcoming Chuck, ostensibly the master’s final album, continue the Berry tradition of immediately accessible, fanciful, lyrically astute, and simply wonderful tunes; both “Big Boys” and “Wonderful Woman” hit the sweet Berry spot, and then some. Oh, what a thrill.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Big Boys” and “Wonderful Woman,” from the forthcoming album, Chuck
black box Where to Get It: Amazon (June 9)

lannie flowers kiss a memoryLannie Flowers | “Kiss a Memory” b/w “Everything a Man Could Want” (2017)
Power pop meets sunshine pop meets Texas melodic powerhouse Lannie Flowers for a rip-roaring double-shot, courtesy of Spyderpop Records, that will more than satisfy fans until Lannie’s next full-length release. “Kiss a Memory,” an upbeat bopper with melodic teeth, should ably whip radio playlists into shape. Hanging over into the rock ‘n’ roll side of pop, “Everything a Man Could Want” shakes hands with The Faces and Stones for a beat-driven rave-up par excellence.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Kiss a Memory” and “Everything a Man Could Want”
black box Where to Get It: Petsche Music Group

carl funk the heart of a siren reduxCarl Funk | The Heart of a Siren (redux) (2016)
Last November, we added three songs from Carl Funk’s Amerisoulfulcana album, Black Horizon, to our ever-growing playlist. Now, Carl’s powerful vocal and songwriting prowess is on display within our rotation in the form of seven songs from this previous collection, originally released in 1995 and re-released last year with two additional numbers. Expect the same high level of thinking person’s pop from upbeat, should-be-hit-bound “Heartbroken Man” and “It Falls on Me,” and, for that matter, the wide swath of top-flight tunes populating this corner of the Funk universe.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Heartbroken Man,” “Swirl,” “Dreamtime,” “It Falls on Me,” “Fall Together,” “The Party,” and “Take Your Time”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the del zorros happy anniversary babyThe Del Zorros | “Happy Anniversary Baby” (2017)
Monte and Stede Del Zorro pretty much have the romantic musical missive market sewn up; their latest, most welcome number is a ’70s-styled, softly-sung, sweetly-realized notion with a simple, from-the-heart message from one partner to another. Warm and inviting, and humalongable.

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

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

mod hippie big wow Mod Hippie | Big Wow (2017) | “Up and Away,” Gone All Day,” and “It Ain’t Like that No More” Karma Frog Records Store
phenomenal cat pop wasteland
Phenomenal Cat | Pop Wasteland (2017) | “Pop Wasteland,” “Motorways,” “The Dancehall,” and “Pacifico (Cowboy Version)”
Bandcamp

colman gota fear the summerColman Gota | Fear the Summer (2017) | “What Goes in My Head,” “For a Reason,” “Call It Quits,” and “Fear the Summer” Kool Kat Musik
kirk adams after hours

Kirk Adams | After Hours (2017) | “Head 4 Sunshine,” “Wrong Side of the Wrecking Ball,” and “Make a Move” Bandcamp

flora reed settle downFlora Reed | Settle Down (2002) | “Beloved,” “Flowers at My Feet,” “Happiness Is,” “Mutter,” “Sweetly Said,” and “Who Brought You Down”
Amazon

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Listen to World Premiere Spins from the Greek Theatre’s Kool Kat CD Debut Tonight

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Spins and Reviews | 05.08.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

TONIGHT: We kick off a two-week world radio premiere spin of two tracks from The Greek Theatre’s Kool Kat Musik CD debut, Broken Circle

We’ve added hundreds of new and new-to-you tracks to our playlist in the last few weeks. We’re excited to be bringing you the latest and greatest melodic pop music in the universe, 24-hours a day.

the greek theatre broken circleWe’re also excited to exclusively be bringing you, for the next two weeks, the world radio premieres of two tracks from The Greek Theatre’s smashing, forthcoming first-time CD release of their album Broken Circle on Kool Kat Musik. Previously released on vinyl in a limited edition by Sugarbush Records, Broken Circle is a mind-tripping, mesmerizing melange of psychedelia and melodic substance.

Pure Pop Radio-friendly tracks “Stray Dog Blues” (with a hint of Van Dyke Parks seasoning) and “Lost Out at Sea” marry Pink Floydian ambiance with Harpers Bizarre shading. There is atmosphere to spare in these recordings; uniquely, they sound as though they could have been on any mid- to late-period Floyd album and, in an alternate world scenario, would have been welcome as bonus tracks on really any Harpers long player.

Listen for Swedish psych masters The Greek Theatre’s “Stray Dog Blues” and “Lost Out at Sea” playing exclusively on Pure Pop Radio for the next two weeks. Thanks go out to Kool Kat’s Ray Gianchetti for the opportunity to share these great tracks with the world on an exclusive basis.

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Overnight Sensations: The Hangabouts’ 12 (and a Half) Song Triumph

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Spins and Reviews | (Originally posted on 04.18.17)
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

The Hangabouts | Kits and Cats and Saxon Wives (Futureman, 2017)

the hangabouts kits and catsBreaking all the rules of the difficult sophomore album syndrome–how to successfully follow up that first, smash recorded salvo has been a recurring music biz pickle since, well, name your favorite year–John Lowry, Greg Addington, and Chip Saam have earned a couple of days’ worth of rest-easy-and-exhale time while the world greets their new album (12 songs and a mystically-appointed piece of connecting tissue strong) as the triumph it truly is.

In other words, you did it, gents. Kits and Cats and Saxon Wives, the latest release on Keith Klingensmith’s bulletproof Futureman Records, is one of those coming together moments that pretty much defy gravity and scale somewhat effortlessly to the top of the pops. An Easter basketful of cleverly adorned melodic pop constructs, it’s a timeless collection that announces itself as your best friend, or at least a delightful neighbor whom you wouldn’t mind borrowing a cup of sugar from every single day.

Kits and Cats and Saxon Wives, rather a musical sort of title that you can tap your feet to (try it–you’ll see!), announces itself climbing out of a ’70s bag of tricks adorned with luscious harmony vocals; varying tempos; dreamy, hypnotic guitar lines, and a surprising soft slam on the brakes as the title song slides to a breathless close. “Twelve Songs” beats with a sweet, pure pop heart, even as it tells the story of a love that may never be (in a catchy, sincere, Fountains of Wayne kind of way).

the hangaboutsKits’ first single, the delightful “Sinking Feeling,” brought to life and a higher plane by the predictably lovely guest vocals of Swan Dive’s Molly Felder, who recently graced the grooves of Dana Countryman’s fabulous Girlville album, is a stone-cold smash and a shining example of how to write a living, breathing, catchy pop song. “Cricket Time,” an upbeat bopper imbued with the spirit of early Elvis Costello, snaps along for three minutes worth of should-be-a-radio-hit magic. And the really rather ingenious, insanely catchy pop wonder “Evelyn Wood” cleverly illuminates the story of a girl who needs to sloooooow down (listeners of a certain age will appreciate that the real Evelyn Wood was the creator of a reading comprehension technique that could get you from here to there in super-lickity-split time…so, not so slow was she).

Looking the dreaded sophomore album syndrome squarely in the eyes and dousing its flames handily, The Hangabouts have clearly crafted one of those hall-of-fame-worthy albums that have made this year a delightful one to observe, sing along to, review, and play on the radio. Which brings me, quite happily, to this: Pure Pop Radio exclusively premiered and played “Evelyn Wood,” “Twelve Songs,” and “Sensation Overnight,” a lovely ballad, on April 19 (thanks to Keith and the band). Six other songs are playing in rotation on a non-exclusive basis.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Evelyn Wood,” “Twelve Songs,” “Sensation Overnight,” “Kits and Cats and Saxon Wives,” “Cricket Time,” “Sinking Feeling,” “Selling Out,” and “Follow the Sunshine”

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

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New on Pure Pop Radio: Cindy Lee Berryhill’s The Adventurist

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Spins and Reviews | (Originally posted on 02.28.17)
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Cindy Lee Berryhill | The Adventurist (Omnivore, 2017)

cindy lee berryhill the adventuristIs there a better investment in life than love? Is there a more prosperous road to travel, a more engaging choice of direction, than the bond between one person and another? Can we even make it to wherever we go in life without it?

Drawing inspiration and comfort from her marriage to the late, pioneering music journalist Paul Williams, Cindy Lee Berryhill has fashioned, in the form of her new album, The Adventurist, a deeply felt, melodic, invigorating song cycle looking back on and celebrating her time with the creator of Crawdaddy, the first, authoritative rock publication of record, as the future unfolds for her one day at a time, as each new step forward is informed by steps already taken.

Confessional songwriting labors heavy without well-reasoned perspective; Berryhill takes this conceit to new levels, baring all sides of her experience along the way. Perhaps this is no more evident than in this album’s heart-filled center, the heartbreakingly honest, emotionally melodic “Somebody’s Angel.” “The first time I kissed somebody new/I cried when I thought about you/And all the good times we had and the living we’d been through,” Berryhill sings. “Now I’m here for you forever or long as I am able/I gotta be somebody’s angel.”

The promise of something that initially seems rote emerging as something more is explored as a facet of the process of love in the lovely “Contemplating the Infinite (In a Kiss).” The seemingly obvious pronouncement is made: “A kiss is a kiss nothing more than this/It’s just a gate a pretty face/A puff of air, fragrant hair/It dissipates in the atmosphere.” But there may be, could possibly be, might hopefully be, more: “It sounded like fun/Like someone lucky was finally gonna get some/And didn’t life owe her one/She’d sell her soul for a song if it meant freedom.”

It is infinitely easier to confront the parallels between a listener’s life and an artist’s life expressed in song when there is infinite truth woven into the words and reflected in the music. In this album’s penultimate, folk-tinged, confessional, “An Affair of the Heart,” sadness trades places with sweet release amidst orchestrated, blissful melody: “As you fade into winter and I take my fall/I could miss the forever-chance to tell you it all/Like how you made me want to sing despite my leaving/And my freeways always closing down/You still reached me.”

And then, as this affair of the heart winds down within the parameters of this infinitely affecting song, Berryhill’s voice resonates with our hearts. “And if we exist outside of time/I’ll meet you there/Is love a gift or is it a crime/A sweet misery that we must bare,” she sings, pledging a forever connection. “But you can’t fight the feeling like a mountain on fire/Starts with a spark/Not a matter of reason/An affair of the heart.” The song’s lilting tail runs out with a smile on its face, a sweet song all its own, its pasture refined and confident.

The Adventurist, a remarkable, many-hued cycle of life, will grab hold of your heart as it summons your deepest emotions to the surface and affects you to your core. Albums like this come along only once or twice in a lifetime. The Adventurist is the right album for this right time, an album that will haunt you as it gives you hope for your future. It will stay with you, as it should, for the long haul.

black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Somebody’s Angel,” “Deep Sea Fishing,” “Gravity Falls,” “Horsepower,” “I Like Cats/You Like Dogs,” “Contemplating the Infinite (In a Kiss),” “The Heavy,” and “An Affair of the Heart”

black box Where to Get It: Omnivore Recordings Shop, Amazon, and iTunes

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