We know, we know… You’re still buzzing from yesterday’s list of new songs and artists added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. We’re buzzing, too! And while we’re all in new music mode, let’s run down another list of the latest melodic pop gems playing in rotation on our airwaves. Wow! Here we go!
Maura Kennedy | Villanelle You know that the stars have aligned with grace and glory when a new Kennedys album and a Maura Kennedy solo offering show themselves within two months of each other. Maura’s album, a collaboration with poet B.D. Love, is, not surprisingly, a strong showcase for Maura’s lovely, expressive voice–never better on record, in our view–and her melodies, set here to Love’s vibrant words. With Maura’s husband Pete playing a variety of instruments, and some notable guest stars lending their talents, including popster Gary Frenay, Villanelle’s 15 songs shine brightly, from the classically-styled pop song, “Bicycles With Broken Spokes,” with its ringing guitars and clever wordplay (“”A way with words, that boy, I swear, could tell a tale/We rode in tandem for some time.”); to the gently driving, soulful “She Worked Her Magic On Me”; and the magical, swampy “Be the One,” which wouldn’t have been out of place on a Creedence Clearwater Revival album. Villanelle is a sterling example of the arts of craft and performance. If we gave out stars, there would be five of them in both Maura’s and B.D.’s baskets. We’re playing the aforementioned songs, plus: the title track, “I Cried to Dream Again,” “Soldier’s Wife,” “Mockingbird,” “Borrowed Dress,” “Coyotes,” “Father to the Man,” “I’ll Be Alone Tonight,” and “Breathe Deeply Love.” Breathtaking.
Dana Countryman | “Thrill Me (2015 Remaster)” This song first appeared on Dana’s smashing 2013 album, The Incredible, Fantastic Retro Pop World of Dana Countryman. Remixed especially for release on Bandcamp, this version of the song features great vocals (those backgrounds really pop!) and guitar from Klaatu’s Dee Long. Dana’s next album is coming very soon–keep an ear out for more glorious retro-pop sounds from a master of the pop form!
Garfield’s Birthday | You Are Here Pink Hedgehog Records’ Simon Felton, his brother Shane and drummer Alan Strawbridge join for an album’s worth of shimmering, melodic pop songs. Full of great numbers, “Radio” is perhaps our favorite (for obvious reasons!); it sports a classic pop melody, great harmony vocals, and a beat you can dance to! “It’s Your Lucky Day” is a bopping pop song with rocking guitar lines and more, inviting harmony vocals. “Carpet Ride” is a nod to sixties songcraft with a mesmerizing, 4/4 beat and, yes, great vocals. An immensely entertaining album that we’re thrilled to be playing. In addition to the songs we’ve already mentioned, we’re spinning, in rotation, “Magic Bike,” “Fancy Dress,” “I’m a Star Tonight,” “Oxford,” “Lunar Eclipse,” “Rheinhold Paisley,” “Sunday Best,” and “Water (It Looks Like Rain).” The whole album, in fact. Great stuff.
Toxic Melons | “Today Didn’t Go” A teaser, released ahead of the upcoming EP, Four Play, which features “brand new improved versions of classic Toxic Melons tracks.” This song, originally a cut on the Melon Jam album and presented here in a stripped mix, features the talents of Jellyfish’s Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. and Eric Dover. It’s another fine song from the Melons. We look forward to Four Play.
The Damnwells | The Damnwells New to Pure Pop Radio, Brooklyn, New York-based the Damnwells have released an album featuring all of the original band members–the first such release since 2006. We dig the band’s pop and rock sound, so much so that we’ve added six songs to our playlist, including “Heavy Heart,” an upbeat tune recalling the Jayhawks; the jangly “The Girl That’s Not In Love With You”; “None of These Things,” a heartfelt ballad with an emotive lead vocal; “Lost”; This Ship of Ours”; and “Too Old to Die.” Quite fine.
Mike Tesch | Mike Tesch These songs, which ride a fine line between folk and pop, are beautifully constructed and performed. We were immediately taken with Mike’s sound. Of course, we were immediately attracted to the ballad, “My Radio,” given the title and all. The song’s introspective nature draws the listener in, and those vocals…pure gold. Interestingly, the drums sound like they would have been comfortable on Carly Simon’s first album. Teeming with pure pop spirit, “Same Old Song” sports great vocal harmony stacks and a wonderfully catchy melody. We’re now playing, in rotation, both of these songs, and “The Blackbird Files,” “I’m Gone,” and “Old Ideas.” Great stuff. Look for the album later this summer.
Daniel Wylie | Fake Your Own Death Daniel’s 2011 album is making its debut on Pure Pop Radio with five standout tracks: “Forgotten Songs,” “Rivers Flow,” “Make a Sound,” “Love Hurts (Sometimes),” and “It’s Always Been You.” The combination of Daniel’s wonderfully melodic songs and his smooth vocal delivery gets us every time (we’re big fans of Daniel’s band, Cosmic Rough Riders). We’ve taken these songs from Kool Kat Musik’s 2015 reissue of Fake Your Own Death, which includes two bonus tracks. There can never be enough Daniel Wylie songs on Pure Pop Radio.
Cameron Lew | welp. If the Interwebs are to be believed, “welp” is another way of saying “well…”; in other words, “Welp…I have nothing more to say” (refer to the movie Dumb and Dumber). Except in this case, Cameron Lew, from the fine band the Yorktown Lads (heard on Pure Pop Radio, naturally), there is certainly plenty to say. Cameron’s first solo album, recorded in the proverbial bedroom studio, is a delightful, varied collection of pop songs that fits nice and snugly among the other songs on our playlist. The opener, “Adieu,” is a catchy number with wonderful background vocals. “Antique Mall” is equally catchy–an upbeat pop song with a great hook and interesting subject matter. “Goodnight” is a fun, clever tune–a live wire goodbye song, with sharply-realized lyrics (“My records hiss but at least they stay clean/A dirty mess you’ll find it oh so pristine/I guess things really were as bad as they seem/So it’s best to say goodnight”). We’ve added all three of these songs, and three more: “Season 4,” “Change,” and “Picture Show.” Keep an eye, and an ear or two, on this guy.
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That’s it for day two of our mammoth New Music Explosion. And there’s much more to come–we’re continuing with this big event all through this week. Check back tomorrow for day three’s entries! We know you’re going to love them!