New on Pure Pop Radio 4.19.18: Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Where Did You Go To”

new on pp banner hybrid 2-use this one, it's fixed

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 4.19.18

Gilbert O’Sullivan | “Where Did You Go To” | Gilbert O’Sullivan, 2018

All it takes is a song, not necessarily new but often so, to bring me back to my youth, back to my days listening to records in my bedroom, one after another after another still, closing my eyes and feeling each note and change and anticipating, because that’s what you did, the song’s fade. I swear that I could pick up the tone arm of my Symphonic all-in-one turntable without even peering ever so slightly through my closed eyelids and drop it at the beginning of a record to start the listening process all over again with hardly any effort at all and, it should be said, 100-percent accuracy.

gilbert o'sullivan 2018 albumSuch was the memory that overtook me after listening to the lovely first single from the brand-new, self-titled album from veteran singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan, releasing August 10. “Where Did You Go To” finds Gilbert in peak form, sounding all the world like he always has, singing warm melodies atop his singular piano playing and, this is the most important part: sounding like no one else in the whole wide world.

As “Where Did You Go To” was ending, and the sustained organ note at the close was coming to a full stop, I shut my eyes and remembered the feeling of listening to Gilbert’s first album, the one with “Alone Again (Naturally),” which I’d gotten from the Columbia Record Club. I became obsessed with that album, with that big hit single that graced the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, that was all over the radio back in the day.

But it was another song on that first album that captured my imagination even more. “Houdini Said,” a bonanza of melody and clever, stream-of-consciousness wordplay about anything and everything (and then some) seemed somehow otherworldly, yet completely relatable. I continue to play it frequently today. It is, as are so many of Gilbert’s songs, part of me.

I look forward to Gilbert O’Sullivan, to a dozen new songs that will undoubtedly capture my imagination in the same way that most all of the artist’s work has. In anticipation, I will close my eyes and sing to my inner self the opening lines of “Houdini Said”: “Doctor in love who is above/All others close to you…”

black box Where to Get It: Pre-order Gilbert O’Sullivan in various bundle configurations in Gilbert’s store. Pre-order CD, vinyl or cassette at Amazon. Pre-order the digital download and/or purchase “Where Did You Go To” immediately at Amazon.

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:

 

New on Pure Pop Radio 4.10.18: Lannie Flowers, David Myhr, and Wilson

new on pp banner hybrid 2-use this one, it's fixed

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 4.10.18

Lannie Flowers | “Lost in a Daydream” (2018)
lannie flowers lost in a daydreamThe vibe is decidedly Beatlesque and practically overflowing with clues for you all–the Ringo Starr drum fills, loping Paul McCartney bass line and horns practically beg for a communal gathering in the Church of Fab. All this and Tears for Fears guitars and Tom Petty dust intertwine to elevate this latest in a series of monthly free songs from Lannie Flowers’ label, Spyderpop Records, to enchanting heights.

This second in Spyderpop’s free song series is made all the more special because none of these freebies will appear on Lannie’s upcoming album, Home, slated for a fall release. “Lost in a Daydream” will certainly offer up a basketful of warm and fuzzies to those for whom 1967 and 1968 are two of the most fertile years in pop music history; for everyone else, this will just be more proof, as if more were needed, that Lannie Flowers is the king of Texas pop and roll.

black box Where to Get It: Spyderpop Records (free download)

David Myhr | “The Perfect Place” | Lucky Day (2018)
david myhr lucky day coverThe fourth song, and new single, to emerge from David Myhr’s new album Lucky Day (coming May 18) is another example of the artist’s mastery of the melodic pop form. Of the four songs we’ve heard so far, this may well be my favorite. An alternately soft and insistent swirl of gorgeous melody, lovely lead and background harmony vocals and bright and shiny production technique, “The Perfect Place” is indeed perfect.

black box Where to Get It: Purchase or listen to “The Perfect Place” by clicking here. Explore the various Lucky Day bundles available here.

Wilson | “Right Here” | Single, 2018
wilson right here single coverThe quartet comprising Pink Hedgehog Records helmsman Simon Felton, Steve Wilson, Marco Rossi, and Chris Rickard delivers a cheery slice of ’60s-styled pure pop that ought to come with a repeat button sewn on its face. Just like David Myhr’s new single (see above), this song is a mix of delights that call out to melodic pop lovers and define the genre. Don’t miss it.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:

 

New on Pure Pop Radio 4.5.18: Farrington and The Wrecking Two

new on pp banner hybrid 2-use this one, it's fixed

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 4.5.18

Special Sunshine Pop Twofer!

Farrington | “She Only Knows” (Single, 2018)
farrington she only knows coverIt is nearly impossible to predict what Farrington’s James Patrick will come up with at any given juncture, a surety bolstered by the enigmatic artist’s latest release, a delectable sunshine pop/psych mashup with a lovely melody. A revised version (lyrics and arrangement) of a 1984 track by The Eyes of Mind, a band from the end of the Paisley Underground movement for which Patrick played guitar and sang, this is another feather in Farrington’s considerable cap and a no-brainer for your collection. (Listen to a preview on iTunes and hear the original Eyes of Mind version here.)

black box Where to Get It: iTunes

The Wrecking Two | “West Coast City” and “(The Girl’s) Unavailable”
the wrecking two coverKyler Schwartz, ’60s music fan extraordinaire, Beach Boys mega-aficionado, and compiler, sequencer and liner note scribe for the esteemed Teensville Records label, has written and recorded, with the help of Pure Pop Radio favorite Jared Lekites (The Lunar Laugh), a knockout sunshine pop single. “West Coast City” is bright, happy harmony pop of the highest order, rooted in, no surprise, Beach Boys joy (and perhaps a pinch of doo-wop spice); “(The Girl’s) Unavailable” bears the stamp of Beach Boys influence towards a jolly, infectious end. Dreamy and top-flight.

black box Where to Get It: Releases on May 4. Preorder now in progress at Amazon

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:

 

New on Pure Pop Radio 4.3.18: Secret Friend’s The Divorce Album

new on pp banner hybrid 2-use this one, it's fixed

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 4.3.18

secret friend divorce albumSecret Friend | The Divorce Album (2018)
This third Secret Friend album, whose vibe falls somewhere between 2013’s Linus of Hollywood-produced Time Machine and 2015’s sound expansive Sleeper, could well be the ultimate breakup record, but with a pop twist. In any case, it’s terrific.

Which is to say that these songs cut right to the bone lyrically while also sounding happy and peppy and poppy. You might also say that there are two sides to Secret Friend pal Steven Fox’s new songs. Indeed, there are two sides to them–each song (there are six in all) appears as both a Fox production and as produced by another artist painting with a differently colored brush.

With the two approaches, one labeled “Mine” and the other “Yours,” you get different takes on the art of the breakup and snapshots of the forlorn from familiar pop voices who anchor Fox’s latest creations. Welcome, then, the supporting talents of Rooney’s Taylor Locke, Jellyfish’s Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., Jimm McIver, Willie Wisely, Linus (of Hollywood) Dotson, Christian Nesmith, Wyatt Funderburk, Karla Kane, and a mysterious female vocalist mysteriously known as “K.O”. Welcome, also, Rich Hinman, whose lyrical pedal steel playing elevates every song he plays on.

“Every songwriter has at least a few break-up songs tucked away,” Fox writes in the accompanying digital booklet’s introduction. Within The Divorce Album are just a few of them, including the opener, “Castaway,” a bright burst of ’80s pomp, happily sounding like a cross between early Wondermints and Haircut 100. Powered by Taylor Locke’s spirited vocals and electric guitar, and Roger Manning’s inventive keyboards, this tale of an unloved and unhappy drifter pining for companionship is the perfect opener.

The differing versions of “Difficult” perfectly illustrate The Divorce Album’s “Mine” and “Yours” concept. The “Mine” version, sung with fervor by Jimm McIver, and played by, among others, Roger Manning and Linus Dotson, barrels forward as a questioning of a partner’s attitude (“Why do you have to be so/Difficult”) and a sad assessment of faulty character: “You can be sentimental/When you’re not so judgmental/You can be fascinating/When you’re not calculating/I will be damned if I knew/What I did to deserve you.”

The “Yours” version of “Difficult” turns the tables on the song’s concept with a decidedly softer sound and a rewritten lyric espousing the female point of view. This, and there is no other way to say it, lovely version, co-written by the Corner Laughers’ Karla Kane and Steven Fox, takes a more mannered approach to sizing up the situation: “When I get your attention/You call me a drama queen/But you’re thriving on the tension/Of me wondering what you mean.”

Of course, “Castaway” and “Difficult” only scratch the surface of the power of The Divorce Album. And it should be said that not every song on this record chronicles the art of the breakup. In fact, “Undeniably Blue,” a beat-driven pop-rocker anchored by Roger Manning’s vocal and instrumental prowess, Reade Pryor’s insistent drumming, and Rich Hinman’s fluid pedal steel, offers a welcome, positive outlook–a lifeline for the sad and lonely: “Undeniably you will see/The world is quite forgiving (Yes it is!)/Even when you’re down/The sky above is undeniably blue/With a little time you’ll see/The end of undeniably blue.”

secret friend steven foxSteven Fox, who plays instruments on every one of this album’s songs, is a bit of a musical maverick, in that each of his albums exists on a different plane, even as they are connected as repositories for beautifully written, melodic songs. I always look forward to his offerings, and marvel at their ability to surprise and delight in equal measure. You, I suspect, will too.

Steven Fox guests tomorrow night at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation. (9 pm ET on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.)

black box Where to Get It: A wide selection of online retailers. Links to all are here on the album’s website. Dig in!

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:

 

New on Pure Pop Radio 3.14.18: Linus of Hollywood and The Weeklings

new on pp banner hybrid 2-use this one, it's fixed

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 3.14.18

Linus of Hollywood | Cabin Life | Magic Beach, 2018
LOH - Cabin Life Cover V2-3
You’ve got to be carrying around on your shoulders a teeming bushelful of confidence to name your album Your Favorite Record, but that’s what the regally-named Linus of Hollywood called his very first long player in 1999, an instant soft-pop classic boasting liner notes from none other than soft-pop queen Margo Guryan, who perhaps prophetically asked in those notes, “Can you recall the first time you tasted ice cream?”

I remember very well getting Your Favorite Record and playing songs from it on my weekly Pure Pop Radio show. I remember that very first taste of ice cream, the flavors of which have only grown stronger over the years. And now, nearly 20 years later, Linus of Hollywood has served up another 10 scoops of tasty treats on Cabin Fever, his delightful fifth effort that really, truly is the kind of thing that puts a spring in your step.

The album kicks off with the sprightly title song that functions as a rallying cry for the rest of the album. Playful musically and emotionally warm, the lyrics talk about leaving the fast paced world for a spell, trading daily annoyances like ringing telephones for mountain air and singing birds. A blissful getaway is yours for the driving to the hills: “Throw all your troubles in the fire,” Linus sings, “Don’t it feel so right to live this cabin life?”

Some heartfelt words of wisdom are imparted in the fast-paced pop song “Won’t Let It Get Me Down,” played and sung with gusto. In pure when-life-gives-you-lemons-make-lemonade mode, Linus implores listeners to keep going when something comes along and tries to stop you in your tracks. Singers, especially, take note: “So tell me that I can’t sing/And tell me that I won’t amount to anything/But I won’t let it get me down…No I’ll never let it get me down tonight.” Or ever.

Cabin Life’s tender closing ballad, “It Was You,” details a love story for the ages. Beautifully sung and dedicated to Linus’s wife Augusta, the emotional arrangement marries delicate orchestration to nimble acoustic guitar playing as Linus sings about his true soul mate. “I finally got out of my own way,” he sings. “Everything just felt so easy/And I left behind my yesterday/You saved me from myself, believe me.”

Looking at the vibrant, colorful illustrations on the lovingly detailed front and back covers that make up the beautiful package design by Brad Bond, you can just feel the inspiration that fueled the writing of these songs (they were all written in cabins in the Lake Arrowhead, California area).

“Drive up to the hills/Take that winding road/I think I remember where it goes,” the title song sings. It goes to one of this year’s very best albums–Linus of Hollywood’s lovely Cabin Life.

black box Where to Get It: Linus of Hollywood’s web store, Amazon, iTunes

The Weeklings | “In the Moment” | Single, 2018
New Jersey’s Fab Four let loose some powerful beat-driven sounds recorded at London’s Abbey Road Studios during the making of the quartet’s most recent album, Studio 2. “Anything you want, I’ll be there to give you,” they sing with melodic and harmonic force. “Cause every time I see you, I love you more.” Life, in the moment! Guitars! Sounds-like-Paul-McCartney-is-playing-the-bass bass lines! Keith Moon-y drums! (Really!) And a whole lot of “And Your Bird Can Sing” spirit! (Really!) Another can’t-miss missive most welcome, you can be sure!

black box Where to Get It: Amazon, iTunes

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:

 

New on Pure Pop Radio 3.13.18: Michael Simmons, David Myhr, and Radio Days

new on pp banner hybrid 2-use this one, it's fixed

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 3.13.18

Michael Simmons | First Days of Summer | Crab Apple, 2018
michael simmons album front cover
You will likely know musician and high school educator Michael Simmons from the much-missed sparkle*jets u.k., from Yorktown Lads, whose Cameron Lew makes quite fine music on his own, or Popdudes, a musical conclave that counts journalist and drummer John Borack among its ranks. Now, it’s time to know Simmons as a solo artist who has produced a terrific long player that will stand, when all of this year’s dust has settled, as one of the best of the year.

First Days of Summer, the music of which was recorded from 2015 to 2017 in sparkling Kitchen-o-Phonic sound, reflecting the location of Simmons’ studio, is contained inside a striking cover bathed in a fiery orange wash with tools of the musician’s trade on the front and song lyrics and credits on the back. This is a stylistically diverse collection of songs that expertly lays out the artist’s diverse musical vision and dedication to craft.

The opening and closing tracks are near-perfect, soft-pop bookends: “Do Your Best to Care,” a keyboard driven toe-tapper featuring a determined, jazzy electric guitar solo, and the sleepy, closing ballad “Center of the Spiral,” which ends as if a turntable’s needle has become comfortably stuck in a loop within a record’s runoff wax, together form a comfortable wrapper within which sit First Days of Summer’s other songs.

Inside this wrapper, you’ll find a variety of catchy sounds, such as the mid-tempo pop-rocker “Fuzzy Green Hat,” steeped in a decidedly Something/Anything?-era Todd Rundgren vibe and all about creative inspiration, no matter where it may come from. The jangly, Andy Partridge-esque bopper “No More Girls” concerns itself with growing up where love is concerned (“I can’t sing about girls no more/No more girls for me/No more songs about girls for sure/A woman’s more my speed/And I know what I will do/I’m gonna sing about you”). “Bucket List,” on fire with a whole lot of Rockpile and NRBQ bluster, celebrates the embracing of true love.

And there’s more. “Let’s Fall in Love” is a lively, beat-driven, Prince-inspired slice of dance pop about second chance romance. The title track, a dreamy, breezy number,  recalls the best of Jeffrey Foskett with a pinch of Burt Bacharach horn embellishment and a wash of Todd Rundgren balladry. It’s sublime.

What shines brightly and decisively from within the dozen tracks on First Days of Summer is the passion that Michael Simmons has for making and playing music (he played most of the instruments on this album). He would do well to keep at this music thing and start planning his next collection with due haste. The sound you hear in the distance is listeners wanting a followup.

black box Where to Get It: Release date is TBD; check Michael Simmons’ Bandcamp page for the latest information

David Myhr | “Room to Grow” (from the forthcoming album, Lucky Day) | 2018
david myhr lucky day coverA joyous, jazzy-by-way-of-Paul-McCartney-esque song from David’s upcoming Lucky Day album, set for a May 18 release, “Room to Grow” was written in Nashville with Pure Pop Radio favorite Bill DeMain. It’s the kind of song that would be equally at home in an intimate club and your own music room. David’s vocal is smooth and emotive, the instrumentation bounces along to the bopping beat, and clever touches like the luscious bridge, lively background vocal arrangement and nimble Stevie Wonder-like harmonica break will put a smile on your face. Now playing on episodes of Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show. A catchy, delectable triumph.

black box Where to Get It: Lucky Day will be released by Lojinx on May 18

Radio Days | El Delfin y El Varano | 2018
radio days el delfin y el varanoSpeaking of diverse musical vision and dedication to craft, Milan, Italy’s Radio Days have, save for one track, stepped outside of their power pop comfort zone to deliver a four-song EP full of wonder. It is after the hard hitting, pounding opener “Time is Over” that the group starts serving up surprises. The beautiful “Sometimes,” a slow-paced ballad bolstered by lovely, close harmonies, is followed by a clever reinvention of the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” recast here as a sensitive ballad adorned with Radio Days’ trademark vocal prowess. The title track, a Dick Dale-meets-just-about-any-’60s-surf-band-you-could-name mid-paced workout, roughly translates, according to Google, as “The Dolphin and the Monitor,” but you’ll probably be happy going with “Cool Instro.” Great stuff.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:

 

New on Pure Pop Radio 1.17.18: Andy and Jason Reed Make their Move, Farrington Serves Up Enlightenment, and Tommy and the Rockets Have Fun in the Summer Sun

new on pp banner hybrid 2-use this one, it's fixed

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio alan 5 small

Spins and Reviews | 1.17.18

Andy Reed and Jason Reed | Make Your Move (2018)
andy reed and jason reed coverAndy Reed, whose engineering, performing and songwriting resume measures many miles long (The Legal Matters, et al), and his brother Jason help to usher in the new melodic pop year with this sterling five-song EP.

These moving parts, dynamically recorded by Andy with special attention and polish paid to the bottom end, demand a listen clear through from start to end, sharing, as they do, similar sonic elements. From the opening salvo, “The Longest Pause,” which proceeds from a quiet, considered intro to a more aggressive, melodic end tempered by a tender, acoustic guitar close, to the title song, an energetic, toe-tapping ode to ’80s pop-rock, and a sure-fire radio hit if ever there was one, the brothers Reed are clearly in sync and on point.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

farrington jan 2018 coverFarrington | “Open the Doors to Enlightenment” (2018)
James Patrick’s nom de plume returns with an utterly delightful faux psych-meets-soft pop-meets-The New Vaudeville Band confection, three and a half minutes of blissful melodic twists and turns, topped with a dose of hazy mysticism and an aural entry into this harmony-drenched sonic world (door opens, and you’re in). Most definitely Farrington’s best and most inviting track, with Klaatu’s Terry Draper turning in a fun cameo and Fernando Perdomo producing, and a bargain at 99 cents on iTunes. (This song is also a track on the forthcoming EP, Same Play Different Actors.)

black box Where to Get It: iTunes

tommy and the rockets summer sun coverTommy and the Rockets | Let’s Have Fun in the Summer Sun (Beluga Records, 2017)
These four quick-as-a-summer-breeze blasts of sand-and-surf-stoked air are just what the doctor ordered for those of us currently braving the winter cold. Three originals (“Come On Baby,” for example, is a Ramones-fueled four-on-the-floor bubblegum treasure with a rocking electric guitar spot) and a sped-up cover of the Beach Boys’ “Little Honda” will have you tapping your feet double time. Feel good music for a good–no, great–feel.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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!

Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button: