New on Pure Pop Radio 7.25.18: The Quite Grand Debut of the Grand Leve

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alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 7.25.18

The Grand Levé | The Grand Levé (2018)
the grand leve coverThe music reviewer’s job, the same as it ever was, is to paint a picture with words that convince you that an album either isn’t worth a scintilla of your time (which, of course, we don’t do here) or should rise to the top of your must-buy list. So, we talk about an artist’s influences and how he or she fits into the scheme of things that matter to you and yours. Are the songs good? Are they catchy? Do they matter?

Then, it’s up to you, and if we’ve done our job, your next move is easy.

Göran Hjertstedt, who made the quite grand The Grand Levé with Europe’s (the Swedish rock band, not the continent) Ian Haugland, Ulf Holmberg, Göran Holmberg, Staffan Ebbesten, and Jonas Karlberg, knows that making the next move–the creative move, in this case–is never easy. His more than four decades making music, primarily with hit duo Visitors in the late 1980s, Brains Beat Beauty in 1997, and Longplayer beginning in 2010, can be looked at as an extended ramping-up period during which he soaked up the key attributes that attracted him to his favorite artists and led to his new songs (even if two of them date back to the time of Visitors).

Basically, Göran Hjertstedt has the same record collection as you do, which means that you and his new songs will get along just fine.

Although The Grand Levé fairly obviously shares cell structure with the music of Jeff Lynne, 10cc, Queen, Tom Petty and other members of the usual suspects club, and traffics in motifs pioneered during such periods as the 1960s and 1700s (note the classically-inclined first track, “And Light Appeared,” which straddles influences by either consciously or subconsciously quoting Elton John), the artist Hjertstedt is his own man, and The Grand Levé is his album.

This enticing mix of catchy, well-crafted songs knows how to command your attention. “All in the City,” very Electric Light Orchestra in every imaginable and loving way; “Free,” very melody-rich Tom Petty; and “Yesterday Man,” very pure pop and Göran Hjertstedt by way of Longplayer, lead the more than sufficiently well-appointed pack. The mutli-retro “Two to Tango,” a bluesy drawing room number about love and dancing that namechecks Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and “What Am I Gonna Do (Lunar City Heartache),” a luscious, romantic mid-tempo ballad with sci-fi overtones, are two more superlative melodic wonders. The alluring, closing instrumental, “Memory Lane,” is perhaps the perfect ruminative end to these proceedings, marked by lovely, expressive electric guitar lines that sing.

When all is said and done, The Grand Levé makes its mark because its sound pictures, drawn with love and affection, tell an affecting, collective tale. The Grand Levé is nothing less than a triumph for fans of melodic pop music. Same as it ever was, in fact.

black box Now Playing in Rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Ride the Wind,” “All in the City,” “Two to Tango,” “Free,” “What Am I Gonna Do (Lunar City Heartache),” and “Yesterday Man”
black box Where to Get It: Digital download at Amazon. Stream on YouTube and Spotify

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.

New on Pure Pop Radio 5.16.18: Lisa Mychols, David Myhr, Vanilla and Ken Sharp

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By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 5.16.18

Lisa Mychols | Sugar (2018)
PrintScheduled for release on June 15 and just in time for summer’s arrival on June 21, Sugar is perhaps the most appropriately titled album of the year–a joyous, harmony-filled singer’s showcase, imbued with sweet songs sung sweetly. This is the sound of pure pop made for a life under sun-drenched skies spreading light and love over lazy mid-year, carefree days.

Sugar is nothing less than Lisa Mychols’ greatest achievement, and that, as has been said before, is really saying something.

One part girl-group aesthetic and one other part sunshine pop, Sugar’s songs, built around gorgeous, rich harmonies and Lisa’s most assured vocals ever, should have no trouble lifting spirits as they entertain. It would be impossible to deny the pleasing power of beauteous creations such as “Loving You” and the full-on, sugary sweet uptempo wonder “Don’t Wanna Close My Eyes.”

And then there is “He’s Got Me Dreaming,” a girl-group confection running atop a steady rock beat, “Domino,” within which rock steady verses meet pop choruses, and “Next to Impossible,” a sweet, bluesy ballad.

It’s a wonder to behold, this album full of wonders. This is your summer album, sung sweetly by one of melodic pop music’s most enduring, endearing talents. Steve Refling produced, played all of the instruments, and co-wrote all of the songs with Lisa. Sugar is sweet. Don’t miss it.

black box Now Playing in Rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “One Revolution,” “Loving You Baby,” “Domino,” “Don’t Wanna Close My Eyes,” “Goodbye to All Carousels,” “Next to Impossible,” “He’s Got Me Dreaming,” and “Into Oblivion”
black box Where to Get It: Check back soon for purchase links

David Myhr | Lucky Day (Lojinx, 2018)
LJX115 David Myhr - Lucky DayA beautifully rendered selection of melody-rich songs from one of melodic pop music’s greatest practitioners, Lucky Day is the sound of a master songwriter’s loving embrace. It is a warmhearted musical journey you will want to take over and over again.

Lucky Day’s 10 lovingly crafted songs, eight written with some of pop music’s top talents while David was on a trip to the United States and two self-scribed, speak to the heart of what matters to melodic pop music fans; all feature beautiful melodies and top-notch playing and singing. All contribute to one of this year’s best albums.

“Room to Grow,” written with Pure Pop Radio favorite Bill DeMain, is about giving a romance all the chances it deserves to prosper. Listening to this song, I hear a rhythmic kinship to Paul McCartney’s “Arrow Through Me.” The background vocals, as the song progresses, suggest a 1930s sort of vibe. The gorgeous harmonica solo, very Stevie Wonder-like, is played with heart and great skill by Mikael Bäckman. It’s quite a delectable stew.

The pretty ballad “Lovebug,” written with another Pure Pop Radio favorite, Linus of Hollywood, who sings background vocals, came about when David arrived at Linus’s home and said hello to the family dog. Linus’s wife said the dog was a lovebug, and therein lay the inspiration for the title of this classic piece of songwriting. The music is pretty, while the lyrics tell a different, bittersweet story–one of a disconnected romance: “I’m under the water and fighting for air/But your gravity’s pulling me down/They tell me I’ll live but I don’t feel alive at all.” It’s quite an achievement.

“The Perfect Place,” one of two songs on Lucky Day written solely by David, soars with an affecting melody, an ultra-catchy chorus, and live strings that ingeniously bring the number to a satisfying, unique conclusion.

And on and on the album goes–one great song after another that you will treasure forever. Produced by Brad Jones, Andreas Dahlbäck and David Myhr, and recorded at Jones’s Alex the Great Recording in Nashville and at studios in Stockholm, Sweden, Lucky Day is a wonderful gift to lovers of melodic pop. And speaking of gifts, CD purchasers should stay tuned after the 10th song plays; a lucky gift awaits.

black box Now Playing in Rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Jealous Sun,” “The Perfect Place,” “Lucky Day,” “Wait Until the Moment,” “My Negative Friend,” “Room to Grow,” “If You Really Think It’s Over,” and “Lovebug”
black box Where to Get It: Preorder at Lojinx, and at Amazon and iTunes; stream the album at Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and Apple Music, beginning May 18.

Vanilla |”Itchykoo Park” | Mystik Knights of Takoma (2018)

london underground sign(World Radio Premiere on Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, Thursday, May 17, 8 pm ET on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio)

Jayson Jarmon’s always intriguing outfit returns with another song slated for inclusion on the group’s upcoming Mystik Knights of Takoma collection. This time around, the Vanillians transform the Small Faces’ classic song “Itchykoo Park” by applying a glittery coat of glam inspiration and a straight-ahead rhythm. The result is almost otherworldly, as they gather to breathe new life into Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane‘s 1967 masterpiece.

Sung with his usual invested, emotional connection to both music and lyrics, guest vocalist Regan Lane, from Strangely Alright, grabs both with total conviction. In the process, he transforms “Itchykoo Park” into a contemporary, psychedelic parable. “It’s all too beautiful,” Lane sings, and he means every syllable. It’s another can’t-miss slice of Vanilla.

black box Now Playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Available May 18 at Vanilla’s Bandcamp site

Ken Sharp | “She Hates the Beatles” | Single, 2018
ken sharp she hates the beatles coverAfter musician and co-producer Fernando Perdomo suggested the title, Ken ran with it and conjured up a guy’s ultimate fear: that the girl he loves hates the Fab Four. From that scary conjuring comes this upbeat, catchy pop song that lyrically, and with a healthy dose of jocularity, pounds the ceremonial nail into a relationship’s coffin.

The song’s lyrics get into the down and dirty of this doomed pairing: “She don’t know John from Paul/But baby what’s the worst of all/She thinks Wings is a TV show and Lennon is a Russian mole.” And, what’s more, to drive her point home even further, the narrator relates that  “…when she turns on the radio, she makes me listen to Barry Manilow.” Now, that hurts!

Never mind that “She Hates the Beatles” sounds more like a mashup of ’70s, Partridge Family and Todd Rundgren aesthetics than Beatlesque–this is a fun, catchy ride. Ken and Fernando split the instrumental duties and Ken sings his Beatle-loving heart out. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

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

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.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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 08.16.17: Fernando Perdomo’s Golden Hour, This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Vol. 4, and Sitcom Neighbor’s Shag

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Spins and Reviews | 08.16.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

fernando perdomo the golden hour coverFernando Perdomo | The Golden Hour (2017)
The fourth album from vaunted producer (Cait Brennan, Chris Price, Linda Perhacs) and recording artist Fernando Perdomo is a widescreen collection of heartfelt songs.

Recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, and played and sung entirely by Fernando, The Golden Hour bristles with majesty; the title number, a deeply-felt love song about two souls coming together as one, sits alongside other dynamic numbers such as the Beatlesque-meets-James Bondian “Sleep” (I love the Paul McCartney-esque bass line), and the gorgeous, melodically- and harmonically-charged ballad “Sunset,” which is elevated towards the end by some welcome Beach Boys-inspired background vocal turns.

Another top entry for this year’s best-of lists? Yes, indeed.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp (from August 17)

this is rock n roll radio vol 4 coverVarious Artists | This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Volume 4 (Kool Kat Musik, 2017)
Celebrating Carl Cafarelli and Dana Bonn’s longstanding This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Show, this fourth volume of the ongoing series presents a carefully curated selection of exclusive and previously-released tracks by artists that should prove to be welcome by both the TIRnRR audience and pop music fans in general.

Top tracks are plentiful and favorites are overflowing. To wit: Circe Link and Christian Nesmith’s delectably addictive pop confection “I’m On Your Side”; Pop Co-Op’s catchy pop-rocker “You Don’t Love Me Anymore”; Ray Paul’s “I Need Your Love Tonight,” one of his best tracks ever; The Rubinoos’ sweet-sounding “Nowheresville,” featuring the much-loved vocal harmonies the group is known for; Maura (Kennedy) and the Bright Lights’ “Maybe Someday,” a straight-ahead pop song with Maura’s signature vocal in the spotlight; Michael Oliver and the Sacred Band’s passionate “You Won’t Do”; and Vegas With Randolph featuring Lannie Flowers’ jubilant pop-rocker, “The Weekend’s Coming.”

Compilations with this much oomph should be shoo-ins for your collection.

black box Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik

sitcom neighbor shagSitcom Neighbor | Shag (2017)
John Murphy and Steve Refling, the latter of whom plays nearly all of the instruments on and produced Lisa Mychols’ recently-released, soulful cover of “Let’s Stay Together,” achieve melodic pop hero status with this skillful 11-song-strong collection that is sure to please all comers.

Say hello, if you will, to the very Beatles-ish “Goodbye,” in which clever chord construction meets a classic-sounding melody. Murphy’s smooth lead and harmony vocals power the muscular pop of “Your Turn Next” and the pretty, mid-tempo ballad “Insomnia.” And the album opener, “Tourist Attraction,” sounds like a Shoes outtake that got away.

Shag, along with two previous releases, 2012’s Charm and 2007’s self-titled debut, form a  triumvirate of pure pop goodness. So onward with you, who knows what to do.

black box Where to Get It: CD Baby, Amazon (digital)

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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 08.08.17: Special Karla Kane/Fun of the Pier All Aboard 2017 Tour Edition

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Spins and Reviews | 08.08.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Karla Kane | King’s Daughters Home For Incurables (2017)
Fun of the Pier | 14:42 (2017)

It’s the voices that bind these two superlative releases together. It’s as if the recording of each release was purposeful in that regard, as if these releases were functioning as the last two, most important pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, fitting side by side to reveal a sweet visual treat, although this treat–these treats–are primarily aural in nature but no less sweet.

karla kane king's daughters home for incurables coverEvaluating these releases necessitates considering some correlations. Songbird Karla Kane, whose sound hearkens to classic artists such as Claire Hamill and Kate Rusby, also plays in California popsters The Corner Laughers with her husband Khoi Huynh, pop music’s not-so-secret weapon KC Bowman, and Charlie Crabtree. Here, she steps into the spotlight with her first solo album, King’s Daughters Home for Incurables, her lovely vocals in play throughout its 11 song stretch. Sweet-voiced Helen Luker, who plays in Fun of the Pier with her husband Mark and Richard Hattersley, is the glue that holds 14:42, the group’s first long player, together as its program of 13 songs plays through. Each release holds true to itself, exploring its various, intrinsic nooks and crannies with aplomb.

What’s more, Karla and Fun of the Pier are touring together in California this September, with singular dates for each occurring in the UK and Germany in October. Perhaps there is more that binds these artists together. Perhaps there is a style of coffee the various members all prefer, or a mode of transportation they all would rather employ to get to here from there. Whatever the case, these artists prefer and deliver good songs performed with style and grace; both attributes are in abundant supply on these two albums.

Listeners familiar with The Corner Laughers’ releases will instantly be attracted to the songs on King’s Daughters Home for Incurables; they are, like those on the Laughers’ Poppy Seeds and Matilda Effect, tuneful and melodic. The difference here is that these songs, with the possible exception of two Corner remakes–“Midsommar” and “Grasshopper Clock”–are more folky in nature. The term modern folk comes to mind.

Among the pleasures offered on King’s Daughters Home for Incurables are “Lilac Line” and the title song, which sound like numbers that would fit comfortably on an album released by Elektra Records, had that label’s folk era been ensconced in the present day. The otherworldly “All Aboard” is the welcome, odd duck about these premises, adopting a traveling, train-inspired beat along its path that builds from a treble and bass clef percussive piano riff to add guitar strums, harmonies and subtly rendered percussion. If this album offers up a not-like-the-others showcase, this is it.

fun of the pier 1442Hailing from Nottingham in the UK, Fun of the Pier favors, on 14:42, a bright, happy folk-pop sound that pleases as handily as Karla Kane’s more intrinsically acoustic-based folk approach on King’s Daughters Home for Incurables. Songs such as “Past/Future” and “(In My) Time” are drenched in lovely, clever and catchy melodies and beautiful lead and harmony vocals. Others, such as the beautiful ballads “Lost and Lazy” and “I Live this Life (She Said),” hearken to classic artists such as Claire Hamill and Kate Rusby (and there is another correlation worth noting). 14:42 is a wonderful, delightful collection of songs, expertly performed.

Both Karla Kane and Fun of the Pier please and entertain in the same way that the best magicians approach their art: they don’t call attention to how they do it. They simply imbue their songs and performances with honesty and skill and let the results speak for themselves. Both King’s Daughters Home for Incurables and 14:42 are perfect for these and all times to come.

black box Songs from Karla Kane’s King’s Daughters Home for Incurables and Fun of the Pier’s 14:42 play on Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, heard Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio
black box Where to Get It: Karla Kane’s King’s Daughters Home For Incurables releases October 6 and will be available from The Corner Laughers’ Bandcamp page ; Fun of the Pier’s 14:42 releases September 1 and will be available at CD Baby (check back for link)

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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 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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