Reviews | 9.27.18: The Toms and the Maladaptive Solution

review with graphic and by alan haber final sharpened smallestalan headshot from school

The Toms | “Life Raft” (2018)
the toms life raftFrom the upcoming new and much anticipated Toms album D7, Tommy Marolda’s enticing, acoustic, rhythmic tapestry, awash in warm sixties sensibilities, is a classic slice of songcraft and performance. “Life Raft” is about holding on, taking advantage of second chances, and doing whatever it takes to keep love alive (“The waves will carry us, it’s a long way home.”) A tremendous achievement from one of pop music’s greatest creators.


black box Where to Get It: Check back for purchase links

The Maladaptive Solution | “Consort (Queen of Everything)” (2018)
Consort Single CoverWhirling around songwriter and performer Brad Beard is the loose gathering of musicians who come together to infrequently record and release songs intended for a long-gestating project called Symphonies (To God). This latest musical missive, brought to life by Beard, Michael Carpenter, Jimmy Haber, Kylie Whitney and Michael Giblin, is a marvelous mid-tempo, Tom Petty-esque charmer about recognizing and celebrating one’s true love. Recorded in the United States and in Australia at Carpenter’s Love Hz studio, “Consort (Queen of Everything)” is an endearing pop-rock creation. I love it, and I bet you will too.

black box Where to Get It: The usual digital platforms on September 28 (check back for links to purchase)

radio1Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the premiere website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. The 24-hour Pure Pop Radio stream, which ran from 2013 to August 25, 2018, succeeded the weekly Pure Pop Radio show, which began in 1995. Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today. (For more About-type information, click here)

Reviews | 9.20.18: Danny Wilkerson, Jay Stansfield’s Charity Single, Dana Countryman and Scott McPherson, and Bryan Estepa

review with graphic and by alan haber final sharpened smallestalan headshot from school

Danny Wilkerson | Wilkerson (Spyderpop, 2018)
wilkerson album coverWorking together with Bleu, who produced this superlative pure pop platter and co-wrote the songs, Danny Wilkerson, the always-and-forever Pengwin, has whipped up a self-titled opus that is by far this year’s most affecting collection of catchy, melodic earworms.

Joined in the studio by Jellyfish’s Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Taylor Locke, Ducky Carlisle, the New Pornographers’ Joe Sieders, and Idle Jets’ Pat Buchanan, Wilkerson has crafted 10 slices of sweet-sounding pop that, like Frampton, have come alive. Wilkerson is a thing of wonder.

Any, and all, for that matter, of these dazzling songs could, and do, serve as examples of how to do it. Take the dynamic leadoff track, “Everybody Loves to Love,” a masterful piece of writing and statement of melodic purpose that begins drawing breath as if it were arranged by Burt Bacharach and goes on to incorporate a variety of tempos and approaches during its alluring five-and-one-half minutes. “I’m just looking for a sitar and a Hofner/A Rickenbacker and a giant stack of ahhs/Sweet harmony,” Wilkerson sings.

Take, also, the mid-tempo, slide guitar-powered charmer “You Still Owe Me a Kiss,” sporting a lovely melody, gorgeous harmonies, and expressive horns, or the hit-worthy, catchy, upbeat “Too Much of a Good Thing,” which, for my money, could have gone on another few minutes and would never even remotely have resembled too much of a good thing.

All told, Wilkerson is nothing less than a good thing. It is, in fact, a great thing, and another feather in the cap of the mighty Spyderpop record label. Don’t miss it.

Where to Get It: The Spyderpop Store, Kool Kat Musik, CD Baby, and iTunes

Jay Stansfield | “A Song for Edward” (2018)
jay standfield a song for edwardjay standfield a song for edward logoSongsmith Jay Stansfield, a longtime fixture on Pure Pop Radio, has done a very good thing: he has composed and recorded a wonderful, catchy pop song that celebrates the vibrant life of Edward Dee, a 10-year-old boy who was a bright light in his British community and suddenly passed away from meningitis and sepsis. Reading about Edward, who brought joy to everyone he came in contact with, and the fund created in his honor (you can do that here) will move you, I hope, to contribute to a most worthy cause.

All profits from the sale of “A Song for Edward” go to the Edward Dee Fund.

black box Where to Get It: Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, and Bandcamp

Dana Countryman and Scott McPherson | “You’re Still Number One” (Sterling Swan Records and Tapes, 2018)
dana countryman you're still number one coverBuddying up with Tiny Volcano caretaker Scott McPherson for one of this year’s sweetest vocal duets, Dana Countryman, the master of Seattle Retro-Pop, proves that there is no end in sight for just how good he can be. Atop a sprightly seventies disco-fyed, string-laden bed, anchored by Chad Quist’s period-happy electric guitar, Dana and Scott sing about the truest sort of love–the perfect pairing that makes life worth living. A lovely love letter to his wife Tricia, blessed with a gorgeous voice and a recording artist in her own right, Dana Countryman’s “You’re Still Number One” is a radio hit waiting to happen.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

Bryan Estepa | “No Ordinary” | (Lilystars Records, 2018)
bryan estepa no ordinaryLast heard from this past April essaying, in grand fashion, George Michael’s “Heal the Pain” with Coke Belda, Bryan Estepa returns with this top-flight rocking original, a pep talk of-sorts for a guy who’s considering going all-in on a relationship (“She’s not so ordinary/Maybe the greatest/And gamble everything/ Till you’re seeing red”). You’ll dig the guitars, all electrified, and the melody too, because the whole thing sings. It’s great to have Bryan Estepa back. More, please.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

radio1Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the premiere website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. The 24-hour Pure Pop Radio stream ran from 2013 to August 25, 2018. Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today.

Sounding Good!

pure pop radio radioPure Pop Radio’s Melodic Pop Stream Ends on August 25

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Twenty-three years after the start of Pure Pop Radio as a weekly program at Fairfax, Virginia cable radio station WEBR (then WCXS), the Internet’s premiere mix of melodic pop songs from across the decades is calling it a day.

august 25 graphicThis Saturday, August 25, Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio will stream its last set of melodic pop jewels. Through to the last strains of the very last song aired–one of 12,000 added to the station’s playlist since 2013–the bedrocks of the station’s mission will be heard. Melody, harmony, and hooks will be enjoyed, and smiles on the faces of listeners will be logged.

nick piunti temporary high album coverLJX115 David Myhr - Lucky DayIn addition to the latest sounds from (deep breath!) Fernando Perdomo, the Turnback, the Jangle Band, Azwel, Scott Brookman, Lannie Flowers, Danny Wilkerson, McPherson Grant, Optiganally Yours, Jeff Whalen, George Usher and Lisa Burns, Michael Slawter, Jeffrey Foskett and Jeff Larson, Sean Solo, Miami Dan and the Hayes Street Band, Tony Valentino, Deep Six, Nick Piunti, Bubble Gum Orchestra, the Crushing Violets, David Myhr, Michael Carpenter, the Weeklings, Poppermost, William Duke, Caddy, My Little Brother and Farrington (big exhale!), we’re playing, from our exhaustive archives, songs from…

bob of the pops front coverchris von sneidern sight and sound album cover…the Orange Humble Band, Timmy Sean, Bob of the Pops, Garfield’s Birthday, the Kennedys, Larry O. Dean, the Orange Peels, B and Not B, Pugwash, the Corner Laughers, Bill Lloyd, Phyllis Johnson, Pop 4, Gleeson, the Del Zorros, Parthenon Huxley, the Nines, All Day Sucker, Chris Brown, Ed James, Einstein’s Sister, Jamie and Steve, the Spongetones, Mitch Linker, Pop is Art, Cirrone, Longplayer, Tamas Wells, Winterpills, Wondermints, Chris Von Sneidern, Brandon Schott, Gary Ritchie, Blossom Toes, Harpers Bizarre, P.F. Sloan, the Association, the Bee Gees, the Beach Boys, and the Beatles…

…to name but a few!

We’re beaming to your Internet radio receptacle 24 hours a day until late this Saturday, August 25. It’s been an honor and a great pleasure serving you with the greatest pop music in the universe. Since that first day sitting at that board in that radio studio with just a stack of music and my wits, I’ve enjoyed every minute, and I hope you have too.

Next week, new content will begin appearing here on the Pure Pop Radio website. We start with a 40th anniversary celebration of a classic album from one of melodic pop music’s greatest artists, and move on to reviews and more features from there.

Don’t miss a minute!

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day (until August 25). Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!
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Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show | Playlist: Show #59 | 7-19-18

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Hey, Kats and Kittens! Dig this:

Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show #59 | 7-19-18

pop tunes disc smallThe Playlist:

1. Dana Countryman | Pop Tunes Theme
2. Harpers Bizarre | “The Biggest Night of Her Life” | Anything Goes, 1967

Set Two: The Weeklings Pop!
3. The Weeklings | “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” | Single, 2018
4. The Weeklings | “Breathing Underwater” | The Weeklings, 2015
5. The Weeklings | “One and One is Two” | The Weeklings, 2015
6. The Weeklings | “In the Moment” | Single, 2018

Set Three: New!
7. Nick Piunti | “No Return” | Temporary High, 2018
8. Bubble Gum Orchestra | “Tomorrow’s Overrated” | Zentopia, 2018
9. Farrington | “Hey Mr. Rock and Roll” | Single, 2018
10. Dana Countryman | “Summer Sand” | Single, 2018

Set Four: New Too!
11. Ginger Root | “Shmoopie” | Mahjong Room, 2018
12. Sean Solo | “In Love Again” | Depth Perception, 2018
13. Astral Drive | “Summer of ’76” | Astral Drive, 2018
14. Vanilla | “Itchykoo Park” | Single, 2018

Set Five: Mind Your NRBQs!
15. NRBQ | “Waitin’ On My Sweetie Pie” | High Noon – A 50 Year Retrospective, 2016
16. NRBQ | “Advice for Teenagers” | High Noon – A 50 Year Retrospective, 2016
17. NRBQ | “Imaginary Radio” | High Noon – A 50 Year Retrospective, 2016
18. Jim Boggia | “Listening to NRBQ” | Misadventures in Stereo, 2008

Set Close:
19. Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs | “And Your Bird Can Sing” | Under the Covers Vol. 1, 2006

Bonus:
20. Harpers Bizarre | “You Need a Change” | Anything Goes, 1967 (With Dick Scoppetone Intro)

Plus: Alan’s Snappy Deejay Patter!

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day. Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!

Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation (Wednesday, 9 pm ET) and Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show (Thursday, 8 pm ET), air exclusively on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

The Davenports’ Scott Klass Visits Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, and an All-New Pop Tunes Deejay Show Spins a New Weeklings Single and Much More

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

The Davenports’ Scott Klass brings melodic joy and talk to this week’s Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, and the new single from the Weeklings powers an all-new edition of Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show. In other words, it’s another wonderful week of catchy pop on Pure Pop Radio’s specialty shows.

in conversation new graphic blue

the davenports don't be mad at me album coverTomorrow night (Wednesday) at 9 pm ET, the Davenports’ Scott Klass joins me for for a typically in-depth hour on the latest Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation program. The Davenports’ new album, Don’t Be Mad at Me, is another feather in the band’s cap, offering up 10 melodically-charged, literate pop songs for your listening, dancing and romancing pleasure.

The lovely title song, one of my favorites from Klass’s esteemed catalog, and one of the finest melodic pop songs in recent memory, barely scratches the surface of the joys that this album brings. “I Don’t Know What to Do,” a miraculous Klass and David Myhr cowrite, and the first single, a fine ballad called “Where Shall We Hang Elena?”, are two more gems that will no doubt burrow in your brain upon first listen.

pop tunes disc smallAn hour’s worth of songs that will also burrow in your brain will happily spin during this Thursday night’s all-new Pop Tunes Deejay Show (8 pm ET), which offers up new and new-to-you tunes from the Weeklings–a tantalizing cover of the Beatles’ “Baby, You’re a Rich Man”–and three more Weeklings classics; new tracks from Nick Piunti, Bubble Gum Orchestra, Farrington, Dana Countryman, Ginger Root, Sean Solo, Astral Drive, and Vanilla; and classics from Harpers Bizarre, Jim Boggia, Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs. Plus: a fun set devoted to the music of NRBQ.

Don’t miss this week’s Pure Pop Radio specialty shows, broadcast as always on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio. Also make note of Pure Pop Radio’s 24-hour stream of the greatest melodic pop in the universe from the ’60s, ’70s and today; click on the Live 365 Listen Now button below to take our mix for a spin. Enjoy!

Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation (Wednesday, 9 pm ET) and Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show (Thursday, 8 pm ET), air exclusively on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day. Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!

Sweet Tuesday Surprise: The Pop Tunes Deejay Show and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation Return to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Now, as before, we’ll be heard here and there: In addition to Pure Pop Radio’s 24-hour stream of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe on Live 365, our signature shows–Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation–will once again be heard each and every week exclusively on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

in conversation new graphic grey

The fun begins anew on Wednesday, July 11 at 9 pm ET, when Beatlefan Executive Editor Al Sussman joins me for one of our every-once-in-a-while, just-for-fun episodes of In Conversation we call Two Als Talking Tunes, during which we each pick a bunch of songs and talk about and play them.

This time around, Al and I take a look at summer songs that are about and were popular in the summer. Well, it is that time of year! Al goes in-depth on summery tunes from Nat King Cole, the Fantastic Baggys, and Aretha Franklin, and I spin summer faves from Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, and the Association. Grab your sunscreen and join us!

pop tunes disc smallWe continue spreading the melodic joy on Thursday, July 12, when an all-new edition of Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show rolls at 8 pm ET. The contents of this show are a mystery at this time (even to me, because I haven’t recorded the show yet!). You can expect the usual mix of new and new-to-you classics from across the decades, with a special emphasis on the latest releases. It’s going to be the usual hour full of fun!

Help welcome back Pure Pop Radio’s specialty shows to the Pop that Goes Crunch airwaves next week. We’ll see you there!

Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation (Wednesday, 9 pm ET) and Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show (Thursday, 8 pm ET), air exclusively on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio on Live 365 plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day. Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!

Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show | Playlist: Show #54 | 5-31-18

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Hey, Kats and Kittens! Dig this:

Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show #54 | 5-31-18

pop tunes disc smallThe Playlist:

1. Dana Countryman | Pop Tunes Theme
2. Mason Williams | “Classical Gas” | The Mason Williams Phonograph Record, 1968

Set Two: New!
3. Astral Drive | “Summer of ’76” | Astral Drive, 2018
4. Lisa Michaels | “Into Oblivion” | Sugar, 2018
5. Starbelly | “Danny Opus” | Four, 2018

Set Three: New Too!
6. David Myhr | “Room to Grow” | Lucky Day, 2018
7. Ken Sharp | “She Hates the Beatles | Single, 2018
8. Gilbert O’Sullivan | “Where Did You Go To” | Gilbert O’Sullivan, 2018
9. Roger Joseph Manning Jr. | “Operator” | Glamping, 2018

Set Four: Cali Plus!
10. The Beach Boys | “California Saga: California” | Holland, 1973
11. The Beach Boys | “California Girls” | Summer Days (And Summer Nights), 1965
12. The Beach Boys | “California Calling” | The Beach Boys, 1985
13. Dennis Wilson | “River Song” | Pacific Ocean Blue, 1977

Set Five: Ooh Baby!
14. The Red Button featuring Peter Noone | “Ooh Girl” | Single, 2018
15. Gilbert O’Sullivan | “Ooh Baby” | I’m a Writer, Not a Fighter, 1973
16. Matt Tyson | “The Ooh Wah Song” | Malibu Jukebox, 2010
17. The Oohs | “You’re Gonna Lose that Girl” | It Was 40 Years Ago Today: A Tribute to the Beatles, 2004

Set Close:
18. Richard Harris | “MacArthur Park” | A Tramp Shining, 1968

Plus: Alan’s Snappy Deejay Patter!

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day. Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!

Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation (Wednesday, 9 pm ET) and Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show (Thursday, 8 pm ET), air exclusively on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.