Reviews: 3.5.19: The Big Believe Meets Tania, Kenny Herbert is the Luckiest Man in the World, and the Well Wishers are Feeling Fine

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

The Big Believe | “Tania Was a Truth Teller”
b/w “Girl With Cassettes” (2018)

A paean of four-on-the-floor Blondie in 2018? That’s the engine driving the intrigue-laced “Tania Was a Truth Teller,” the first of the two top tracks that make up The Big Believe’s late-2018 pop blast; both were mixed in you-are-there stereo by Fritz Catlin of the band 23 Skidoo. (Dig the pop art cover by Peter Quinnell.)

Meeting by the bridge in the dead of night, Tania has the answers to the questions at hand. But can she be trusted? “Tania was a truth teller,” the narrator notes. “She liked to dress like a feller.” She lives “on and on and on and on,” but is she the real thing? “I thought I saw Tania on the high road/But it was just the sunlight in my eyes.” Hmm… A mystery in song, and a catchy one at that, featuring The New Pornagraphers’ Todd Fancey on guitar.

Fancey also features on “Girl With Cassettes,” a fast, fizzy and loud pop-rocker about the girl who dazzles her way to point b from point a with nary a care (“She drives through the red/She stops at the green/Is blinded by everything in between”). She’s the girl “in the green t-shirt” who’s got her eyes transfixed on the one who can make things happen: “Oh if only they knew what a boy can do/To the girl who collects cassettes, cassettes, cassettes.” OMD meets Duran Duran in this grand, imaginative romp.

The Big Believe, aka Amanda Thompson, is working on the band’s second album, Juggernaut, to be released later this year. You’d better…believe we’re psyched.

Where to Get It: 7-inch with mp3 download: The Big Believe’s website; iTunes, Amazon

Kenny Herbert | “The Luckiest Man in the World” (2019)

I have been absolutely delighted and enriched to have the music of Kenny Herbert in my life for going on 15-plus years. His melodic prowess is virtually unequaled. Everything he releases speaks directly to my heart.

“The Luckiest Man in the World,” just released, is another classic creation from up Edinburgh, Scotland way–a beautifully realized mid-tempo ballad about the love he shares with his beloved wife Caroline. With music surrounding them, they are charmed, and so is the listener.

Produced by Bob Heatlie and featuring Rab Howat singing backgrounds, “The Luckiest Man in the World” expresses Kenny’s thoughts through clever lyrics, such as this clever verse invoking the Chairman of the Board: “Feel like the luckiest man in the world/
I’ve got my music and my beautiful girl/Feel like Sinatra playing the Sands/I’m gonna love you like no other man.”

The cover art for this truly wonderful song, among Kenny’s best, says it all, really; it depicts Kenny and Caroline in dreamy silhouette and was lensed this year in Liverpool, home of the Fab Four.

Enjoy a lovely, live acoustic version of “The Luckiest Man in the World,” performed by Kenny at the water’s edge in St. Fillans in Scotland’s central highlands:

Add this song to your collection? By all means.

Where to Get It: iTunes

The Well Wishers | “Feelin Fine” b/w “Second Hand News” (2019)

Jeff Shelton’s outfit returns with a snappy, poppy, upbeat, guaranteed-to-please popper that keeps the beat going with pure joy on its mind. “Feelin Fine” raises the stakes with a very R.E.M.-ish feel, a catchy chorus, and some widescreen harmony touches. The Wishers’ take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Second Hand News” is basically a reverent tip-of-the-hat to one of those Lindsey Buckingham earworms that takes up permanent residence in there. Must’ve been fun to record.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp

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Alan 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. We’ve been around since the first weekly Pure Pop Radio shows, which began broadcasting in 1995, and the 24-hour Pure Pop Radio station, which ended last August.

Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today.

You’ll Be Saying, “That’s My New Favorite Song!” Say Hello to Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Tuesday!

alan-mic-zeeOnce again, we’ve got a pile of new music to add to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Said pile reaches from the floor to the ceiling, which means it’s time to add said new music to our hard-working rotation.

Here are just some of the new sounds you’ll hear by tuning into Pure Pop Radio–simply click on one of the listen links below to get poppin’! And now, here we go…

butch youngButch Young | Mercury Man Never, never, never tell us that the album is a goner–Butch Young’s miraculous, hall-of-fame-worthy Mercury Man instantly announces itself as one of the best albums of 2016 with its dazzling array of  1970s-styled instant classics, peppered with a mix of Paul McCartney and Harry Nilsson-esque magic. Every one of these Los Angeles-based artist’s songs is a clear winner. We’re playing all of them in rotation: the title track, “Persephone,” “One Foot In,” “Dime Store Jesus,” “The Fools of May,” “Child of Nature,” “Sunday Driver,” “Mohammed on Top of the Mountain,” “Algernon,” “Asteroid,” “Wonderful Life,” and “Starlit Lullaby.” Astounding and really terrific.

doughboys rock onThe Doughboys | “Rock On” And here they come, barreling in from outer space or some wild and untamed structure being held together by bailing wire and chewing gum somewhere in the outer reaches, wherever that might be. It’s the Doughboys, and they’re rough and tumbling with garage-rock fever inside and around David Essex’s ’70s classic with Richie Heyman’s pounding drums, Myke Scavone’s wailing blues harp, Gar Francis’s rocking guitars and Mike Caruso’s bopping bass. Recorded by the Grip Weed’s Kurt Reil at his House of Vibes studio with widescreen, in-your-face fervor, this is another classic track from New Jersey’s in-the-pocket foursome. Rock on, indeed.

herb eimerman - soft landingHerb Eimerman | “Soft Landing” This beautiful, heartfelt song, Herb’s first new recording of 2016, was written in remembrance of his father. Supported by Stefan Johansson and Joe Algeri, who also mixed and produced, and featuring some of the sweetest background harmonies you’ve heard in a very long time, “Soft Landing” will stay with you always.

cotton mather pledgeCotton Mather | “The Cotton Mather Pledge” The latest in a series of new songs from this venerable Austin, Texas band roars right in with a sneaky cymbal wash straight out of Ringo Starr’s “It Don’t Come Easy” and quickly settles into an energetic pop and roll number starring Robert Harrisons’ slightly-scratchy, fuzzed-out, attention-getting vocal. Dig the Beatle-esque, Rubber Soul-ish guitar harmony at about 1:40. Playing as we speak in rotation, it’s burning up our airwaves.

the lunar laugh - nighthawks and mona lisas - smallThe Lunar Laugh | “Nighthawks and Mona Lisa” Jared Lekites and Connor Anderson are in a light country mood for this breezy, melodic, mid-tempo number slated to be included on the Lunar Laugh’s upcoming second album. It’s another keeper from the stars of Oklahoma City pop.

erik voeks 2016Erik Voeks – “She Loved Her Jangle Pop” and “Blue Water” Erik Voeks’ “My Dentist” is one of the stone-cold classics from Pure Pop Radio’s early days; these new songs are even better. “She Loved Her Jangle Pop” is a joyous, upbeat hookasaurus, as catchy as anything out there. “Blue Water” trades a slow and studied opening for a more upbeat pace, complete with a beautiful melody and more than a hint of Prefab Sprout in its DNA. New Erik Voeks is always a good thing. A great thing, actually.

the del zorros go ahead and ask meThe Del Zorros | “Go Ahead and Ask Me” Monty and Stede continue on in the time-honored Zorros-riffic tradition with another lovely, easygoing and typically tuneful song with another catchy melody that comes from, well, we don’t know where, but keep going there boys, will you? Now playing in rotation, as if there were any doubt.

the lost boys china in the sink'The Lost Boys | “China in the Sink” This rollicking pop-rocker, all dressed up in catchy clothes, screams radio airplay, which is just what we’re giving it. Instantly memorable, with one of those indelible hooks and a short-and-sweet running time–1:49–this is a clear winner. A hit waxing if ever we heard one. Dynamic and quite wonderful.

the big believe april 2016The Big Believe | “You Already Are” We’ve been playing Amanda Thompson’s lovely songs for awhile and loving each one like the gorgeous creatures they are. This one is arguably Amanda’s best yet, a big, atmospheric and emotional ballad with hints of Kate Bush peeking out from its floorboards. Keep ’em coming, please.

sons of morning coverSons of Morning | Sons of Morning Here’s a nice surprise that made us smile. We like this band’s sound, which dips into many catchy musical nooks and crannies. How did they get their sound? Here’s how the band’s website puts it: “Painstaking efforts were made to achieve the desired feel for this album. All tube amps, a choice selection of just the right stringed instruments… drums that sound like drums, recording methods, and production were all key elements in presenting an album with the warmth of the analog days…” We’d say that about sums it up. We’re playing four songs: “He Wore Black,” a tribute to Johnny Cash; “Not a Sound,” “Hard Livin’,” and “Outta My Head,” a tune that could have been on the Association’s first album (no foolin’).

That’s it for today. More tomorrow. In the meantime, why not click on one of the handy listen links below to bathe in the more than 8,600 handpicked songs streaming in rotation on Pure Pop Radio? You’ll love what you hear!

alan-mic-zeeAlan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Spongetones, the Nines, Kurt Baker, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Tune in by clicking on one of the listen links below.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android and iOS devices! Download Our Mobile App.

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

The Hits Just Keep On Coming! Pure Pop Radio’s Big Week of Summer Fun Continues With More New Music. Sing Along If You Know the Words!

music at the beachWe hope you’ve been enjoying Pure Pop Radio’s Big Week of Summer Fun. We’ve certainly enjoyed bringing lots of new music to you. We’ve enjoyed bringing you new editions of our signature Beatles programs, Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing and the weekly Fab roundtable, Things We Said Today. And let’s not forget, we brought you the exclusive worldwide broadcast premiere of Pop 4’s “Don’t You Be Like That” this past Tuesday evening.

Now, we’ve got more new music from your favorite, heritage artists and out-of-the-box artists we think you’ll come to know and love.

Let’s run down the latest list, shall we?

firekingFireking | Double Trouble Pop and rock meet each other head on in the music of Fireking. The group’s double album bristles with energetic, windblown guitar power and commanding melodies for a can’t miss experience. You can just hear the sweat pouring off the band as they deliver song after song–they’re invested in their material, and it shows. We’ve chosen five numbers for our rotation: “Built to last,” “A Sentimental Education,” “Contagious,” “(Untitled),” “So You Say You Lost Your Baby,” and “Power Pop Chords,” the last of which really says it all as the band stakes their claim in their bid to keep the spirit of power pop alive. Great stuff.

zach jonesZach Jones | Love What You Love From the very first song on this terrific album, it’s obvious that Zach Jones is a master of the art of bringing together various influences. The result is a punchy, giddy love for melody in every song, which is why we have added every song to our playlist. There’s a loving attention to detail, as genres swirl around each other to great effect, like in the wonderfully addictive “Away from You,” which mixes pure pop and easy soul for a verse-chorus construct that’s awfully hard to resist. Save for drums, percussion and strings, Jones plays every instrument, which puts him in the pilot seat as he showers his songs with lots of love. In addition to “Away from You,” we’re playing, in rotation, “Everything’s Fine,” “Hate What You Hate,” “Song in the Sunshine,” “In Love,” “Lucky One,” “Nothing’s Changed,” “Some Other Day,” “Little Light,” and “Out On the Town.” Lovely.

each soulstephen kalinich and jez grahamStephen J. Kalinich | “Start Your Day With Gratitude” (with Jez Graham) and Each Soul Has a Voice (with Jon Tiven) More music for Pure Pop Radio from a veteran poet who has logged many decades of service bringing art to hungry, musically-minded listeners all over the world. We previously added songs from Stephen’s album made with Dave Humphries, No One Like U, under the name the Hollywood Project. First up this time around, a smiling collaboration with Jez Graham, “Start Your Day With Gratitude,” from the album You Can Soar. A sunny song about positivity, it’s an infectious number. We’re playing that song in rotation, and serving up seven songs from the fantastic album Stephen recorded with veteran music man Jon Tiven, Each Soul Has a Voice: the title cut, the inspirational “Choose Life”; “Usually” (shades of Adam Ant!); “Harmony”; the medium-tempo, bluesy “Blue Teal Wall”; the bouncy “Addicted to Pain”; and “To Each and Every Soul.” More to come from Stephen and his magical creations.

the big believeThe Big Believe | Illuminate and Various Tracks From the southeast of the United Kingdom comes Amanda Thompson’s recording project, which boasts some really great pop songs that we’re thrilled to be able to play in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. We’ve added to our playlist two songs from the forthcoming album, Illuminate: the pretty title cut, and the pop/new wave hybrid, “Creatures.” We’re also playing three additional songs you’re sure to love: “Let’s Pretend We’re Spies,” another mighty catchy new wave/pop confection; and the equally new-wavey “Eternal Youth.” We look forward to more from Amanda Thompson and the Big Believe.

tiny rhymesTiny Rhymes | A Kinder History Buffalo, New York’s Tiny Rhymes, led by guitarist Sharon Mok, packs a lovely chamber pop punch on this wonderful EP, released just a few weeks ago. Guitars, cello, violin, percussion and trombone meet up with beautifully rendered vocals to deliver warm, pastel-tinted, heartfelt songs. Tiny Rhymes is a collective to watch. We are now playing, in rotation, “Arrows,” “Oh, Amaranta!,” and “Gold Mountain.” Gorgeous.

summer fictionSummer Fiction | Himalaya Summer Fiction’s second album, following on four years from the group’s self-titled debut in 2011, is teeming with pure pop treasures. Lovely melodies, lovely vocals, and lovely everything else abound. We’ve added six songs, all made for group hugs and big smiles: the made-for-radio, Todd Rundgren-esque bouncy confection,” Dirty Blonde”; the straight-ahead, poppy “On and On”; the gentle, pretty “Lauren Lorraine”; the acoustic, folky “By My Side”; the also-radio-friendly and jangly “Perfume Paper”; and the gliding, melodic charmer, “Religion of Mine.” A classic platter.

b and not bB and Not B | Popular Pastimes Longtime Pure Pop Radio favorite B and Not B returns with their latest release, from which we’ve taken two upbeat tunes that are now playing in rotation: the rock ‘n’ popper “All the Lonely Kids,” which features horns, guitars and great harmony vocals; and the pulsating, upbeat toe-tapper (kinda sorta in the pop mode of Chicago, no fooling), “Winter.” PPR loves B and Not B.

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That’s it for today. You know we’ve got more new music to be added to our playlist; check back next week for another list of wonderful songs that will be filling your summer soundtrack with delight and beauty!

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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes