Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio is the premier website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and new-to-you releases. Pure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop in the universe 24 hours a day.
(Win a copy of Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion and a Reign t-shirt by filling in the form below. Be sure to type “Reign” in the Comments section. There is a quick turnaround on this contest: Entries must be received by tomorrow night, December 12, at midnight ET. The winner will be chosen on Saturday, December 13. Good luck!)
Producer Andrew Curry, who released his first compilation, Drink a Toast to Innocence: A Tribute to Lite Rock, in April of 2013, follows up in relatively short order with Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion. While he’s billed as executive producer of Reign, Curry is better dubbed master curator, or perhaps more appropriately, caretaker of decades gone by.
Dipping this time into the musical waters flowing through the ’80s, Curry has assembled a sterling group of contemporary artists to pay tribute to and/or apply a new coat of paint on songs that were first released more than three decades ago. It is a testament to these songs–and, if Curry knows anything, he knows that the song is job one–that they retain their fortitude so long after first being heard.
To that end, Fountains of Wayne frontman Chris Collingwood turns in a spirited, lovingly rendered version of the Dream Academy’s “Life in a Northern Town,” supported by luscious background vocals from Phillip Price and Flora Reed from Winterpills; The Corner Laughers soup up the beat as they apply their particular magic to Madness’ “Our House”; and Big-Box Store takes a wholly different approach to Kim Wilde’s frenetic “Kids in America,” slowing it down and infusing it with a heartfelt dose of passion.
Jim Boggia and Pete Donnelly turn Adam Ant’s cheeky “Goody Two Shoes” inside out, applying a faux-military drum part and making every note count for a kind of jazzy workout. Similarly, the Davenports dress Wham’s “Freedom” up in power pop overalls, thereby upping the song’s catchy quotient. And Linus of Hollywood puts every ounce of emotion at his disposal into his take on Daryl Hall’s classic “Everytime You Go Away,” originally waxed by Paul Young.
The first lesson one learns listening to compilations such as this is that some aspect of everything you hear today can be traced back to something that came before. The spirit of these songs, denizens of radio first tuned into so long ago, lives on in these new versions of favored classics. The second lesson? Good songs never die, and as chosen and curated by master compilation craftsman Curry, they still rock and roll and fill your body and soul. And in the form of this Reign, they make a great, collective stocking stuffer. – Alan Haber
We quite simply can not be stopped! It’s day seven of the Pure Pop Radio New Music Explosion and, yes, you betcha, we’re not even close to being done. We’re now into phase two (it’s top secret!) of our adding frenzy, which will continue tomorrow and into next week and beyond. We couldn’t stop even if we tried!
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion We’ve now added the 19 songs we’ve been playing from this great compilation, sans producer Andrew Curry’s spoken introductions, which may return at a later date. The second British Invasion is alive on Pure Pop Radio! Here’s what you will hear, in rotation: An American Underdog – “Things Can Only Get Better,” Big-Box Store – “Kids in America,” Bleu – “Dont You Forget About Me,” Chris Collingwood – “Life in a Northern Town,” Cliff Hillis – “Wouldn’t it Be Good,” David Mead – “Save a Prayer,” Eric Barao – “Tainted Love,” Eytan Mirsky and Alyson Greenfield – “No One is to Blame,” Jim Boggia and Pete Donnelly – “Good Two Shoes,” Kelly Jones – “Something About You,” Linus of Hollywood – “Every Time You Go Away,” Mike Viola – “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” Minky Starshine – “True,” People on Vacation – “Cruel Summer,” Taylor Locke – Dancing with Myself,” The Corner Laughers – “Our House,” The Davenports – “Freedom,” The Nines – “Life’s What You Make It,” and The Wellingtons – “Only You.” We think it’s safe to say that this nifty package will be under some decorated trees this coming December.
The Jigsaw Seen | Old Man Reverb This veteran band’s latest album is a solid collection of upbeat pop and roll and ballads, heavy on the guitars and emotive vocals. Amongst these classic tunes, you’ll even find a song that could very well serve as the soundtrack to a classic western film! All of these eight songs are now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Idiots with Guitars,” “Die Laughing,” “Understand,” “Madame Whirligig,” “Hercules and Sylvia,” “Your Mind is Like Mine,” “Abide,” and “Grief Rehearsal.” Very cool.
Jeff Thomas’ All-Volunteer Army | “The Devil Wants Your Self Control” This extremely cool song from the great Jeff Thomas and crew opens up with a dead-on, Al Kooper-era Blood, Sweat and Tears vibe and immediately segues into an upbeat rock groove as if it were hitched to a speeding locomotive. Chicago-esque horn stabs lead this energetic slice of pop ‘n’ roll to the finish line. Funky, rocky, poppy and all that, this is more proof, as if more proof were needed, that Jeff Thomas is… cool.
Ron Flynt and the Bluehearts | Big Blue Heart This 2014 reissue of Ron’s 2000 album with the Bluehearts adds two must-have bonus tracks to the mix, making it a must-buy for fans. We’ve been playing a couple of tracks from this album since it was first released, and have taken the opportunity to add a few more this time around. We’ve also added one of the bonus tracks, a great song called “Go to the Window for Kenee.” We’re also playing, in rotation, “Holding On,” “I See Blue,” “Northern Town,” “River Road,” “True Love,” and “Darkness.”
The Above | Waterbury Street From the rockingest borough of New York City come the beat-riffic sounds of the Above, whose second album was released this past June. The dozen nuggets on Waterbury Street evoke the spirit and the sound of early- to mid-sixites British R&B-inflected pop. A swinging time is guaranteed for all. We’ve added six energy-filled tracks to our playlist, including “Coming Around,” “Do You Have a Healthy Mind,” “Goons,” “You Make it Real,” “Do What You Wanna Do,” and “Broken Soul.” Now get on the dance floor and groove!
The Airwaves | Release Sweden’s own Airwaves specializes in original, ABBA-riffic, and catchy, seventies-sounding songs that really get under your skin. We’ve added three tracks to the Pure Pop Radio playlist: the mid-tempo charmer “Famous,” the powerful “Miracle,” and the ABBA tribute, “Hey You Ring Me Tonight,” which includes a fair share of ABBA references in the lyrics. Pretty fun.
Jesse Rimler | Four Songs Drawing on a wide range of influence, from pop standards to Harry Nilsson and, most especially, Randy Newman, California singer-songwriter Jesse Rimler writes and performs beautiful songs full of inspiration and pure joy. He’s released only four so far, but each one of them is a gem and points toward a growing catalog full of similar treasures. We’re playing everything Jesse has released: “Secret Password,” “My Elevator Story,” “How We Lost Her,” and “Sylvia’s Dream.” We can’t wait for the next treasure to surface.
Various Artists | It Was 50 Years Ago Today – A Tribute to the Beatles, Vol. 4 Through his Bullseye Records of Canada imprint, label chief Jaimie Vernon has quietly been releasing a series of tributes to everybody’s favorite Fab Four. We’ve been playing tracks from every volume and now, with volume four in house, we’re continuing the tradition. We’ve added seven versions of classic Beatles songs to our playlist. Here’s how our selections play out: Atomic Tracktor: “Revolution,” Dee Long: “Across the Universe,” Fergus Hambleton: “And I Love Her,” Michael Carpener: “If I Needed Someone,” Steve Lawrenson: “Yes It Is,” the Wackers: “She Loves You,” and Walter Clevenger: “I Will.”
Declan Snowden | Getting My Hopes Up From Galway, Ireland and now based in Dublin, Declan Snowden’s EP–available for free on Bandcamp–revels in the kind of pop we greet with open arms here at Pure Pop Radio. The joyous “Believe in Me” and the gorgeous, heartfelt ballad “I’ll Never Be Your Man” are now playing in rotation. We’re pleased to make your acquaintance, Declan.
With day seven of our New Music Explosion in the books, we have only to look forward to day eight, and that’s happening tomorrow. Be back here around noon ET and see what kind of surprises we’ve cooked up to lead you into your popping weekend!
Hot on the heels of last April’s spectacular double-album, Drink a Toast to Innocence: A Tribute to Lite Rock, producer Andrew Curry is soon to make waves with his second celebration of the best days of our musical lives. With the upcoming Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion, Curry has set his sights on the post-lite rock years, when the nascent MTV was already TV’s official visual showcase for music crazy kids and groups such as Duran Duran, the Human League, Wham!, Howard Jones and Simple Minds. These and other groups quickly and commandingly took hold of radio stations and listeners across the country.
Curry was a neophyte producer and compiler when he dove head first into the detailed process that resulted in Drink a Toast to Innocence. He proved, at first light, that his love for the music that populated the soundtrack of his life and the passion that fueled it were his two most important assets. The how-you-do-this-and-that kind of nuts-and-bolts production-related details he could, and did, grab hold of like the pro he is. Still buzzing from the warm and welcoming red carpet laid out for him by the worldwide pop community, he quickly decided to build on the Innocence buzz by starting work on his second project, an equally well-rounded compilation of classic early eighties tracks interpreted by some of pop music’s most creative practitioners.
A mix of artists both new to Curry’s world of musical reinvention and those returning from Innocence set to work on crafting their unique versions of songs like the Dream Academy’s luscious “Life in a Northern Town,” Bananarama’s catchy “Cruel Summer,” and Spandau Ballet’s classic “True.” In the end, 27 artists and songs made it to the final track listing, with a bonus track exclusively offered to Kickstarter contributors (who, as of this writing, have contributed more than 50% of the funds needed to make Reign a reality)–An American Underdog’s spectacular run through Howard Jones’s “Things Can Only Get Better.”
As we did during the life of Drink a Toast to Innocence, we are celebrating Here Comes the Reign Again with an extensive promotional effort, which begins below and will continue through to the release of the compilation. Don’t forget to check out the ReignKickstarter page for the various items, including the snazzy-looking t-shirt pictured at right, you can get by pledging your support with a donation. Here, on this page, we have gathered a look at selected tracks from Reign that we hope will sufficiently whet your appetite for the second British invasion.
Andrew Curry has very kindly created introductions to 19 of the songs appearing on Reign. These introductions are exclusive to Pure Pop Radio and, along with the newly-recorded songs, are now playing in rotation on the air. You”ll hear Andrew spill on the making of these tracks, relate insider anecdotes and talk about the artists working behind the microphones.
But wait: there’s more! We’ve got another exclusive-to-Pure-Pop-Radio offering: an audio one-on-one with Andrew that spills the beans on how Here Comes the Reign Again was put together. This conversation with Andrew appears on this page; simply navigate below and click on the play button to enjoy.
As we said, we’re very excited about Here Comes the Reign Again. Dive into the get-to-know-Reign nuggets on this page and brace yourselves for more, more, more to come!
We’d like to put the Pure Pop Radio spotlight on just some of the great songs we’re currently airing in rotation with Andrew Curry’s informative and exclusive introductions. Take, for example, Mike Viola’s version of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Viola is a great favorite here at Pure Pop Radio. His take on “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is typically golden. Centered around some lovely acoustic guitar picking and his emotionally-invested, magical voice, this is at once a contemporary specimen and a tip-o’-the-hat to some grand music created mere decades ago.
Chris Collingwood (Fountains of Wayne)
Chris Collingwood toils away at his day job, where he is lead vocalist and songwriter at Fountains of Wayne. Here, he travels down the musical hallway to tackle in solo mode the Dream Academy’s ethereal “Life in a Northern Town.” Collingwood has moved the tempo along at a bit of a faster pace and transformed the tail of the tune into a group singalong. Winterpills’ backing vocals contribute to this updated, loving look at life in a northern or, really, any town. A smashing job.
Jim Boggia enlisted his friend, the Figgs’ Pete Donnelly, to apply some quirky, contemporary polish to Adam and the Ants’ “Goody Two Shoes.” With a call-in of “One, two, drums,” the pop pair turn the original waxing into an easy shuffle with Marc Bolan-esque vocals. This is what transpires when a pair of old pros turn a classic song inside out and come up with a pretty wonderful musical pearl.
The Corner Laughers!
For sure, many melodic pop fans, if not the whole lot of them, will adorn the Corner Laughers’ spirited version of Madness’ “Our House” with at least a couple hundred huzzahs. Longtime favorites here at Pure Pop Radio, the Laughers don’t do much mucking about with this classic song. Moreover, they pay happy tribute to it, applying a joyous gloss to the proceedings. Once again and always forever more, singer Karla Kane’s lovely, playful voice takes center stage. And don’t miss the funky electric guitar parts. They’re very cool.
There’s more–a whole lot more joy on Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion, now chugging up a storm on the official Kickstarter page. Make your way over there for Reign’s official track listing and other goodies.
Now, hear from the man himself, as producer extraordinaire Andrew Curry talks to our Alan Haber about the genesis and putting-together of Here Comes the Reign Again. It’s a typically spirited conversation, exclusive to Pure Pop Radio. Simply click on the play button below to listen.
More to come. Remember, we’re currently spinning, in rotation, 19 great tracks from Here Comes the Reign Again, all appended by informative introductions by Andrew Curry. Listen every hour of our 24-hour broadcast day for the sounds of your favorite contemporary artists putting their spin on songs from the second British invasion!
Here’s our exclusive conversation with Here Comes the Reign Again Producer Andrew Curry:
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Hot on the heels of Drink a Toast to Innocence: A Tribute to Lite Rock, nothing less than a defining example of the art of song compilation, producer Andrew Curry is working on a followup collection that is sure to be the talk of pop music fans this summer.
Andrew Curry’s Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion
Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion, much like Drink a Toast to Innocence, pairs contemporary artists with songs from a specific era–this time the years 1982-1986, or thereabouts. Here Comes the Reign Again puts the spotlight on songs made famous by groups such as Eurythmics, Culture Club, Human League, the Dream Academy, Soft Cell, Yaz, Madness and many more. A la Drink a Toast to Innocence, contemporary pop artists have applied their musical sensibilities to the task of re-imagining songs like Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself” and Madness’s “Our House.” The results are as smashing as you might expect, and come this summer, you will be able to spin them in your domicile with enthusiasm and glee.
Consider Pure Pop Radio your headquarters for Here Comes the Reign Again happenings. We’re already spinning, in rotation, six songs from the compilation, each one preceded by an exclusive, short and meaty introduction from Andrew. You won’t hear these introductions anywhere else. The songs: Chris Collingwood (Fountains of Wayne), “Life in a Northern Town,” originally done by the Dream Academy; David Mead, “Save a Prayer,” originally done by Duran Duran; Eric Barao, “Tainted Love,” originally done by Soft Cell; Taylor Locke, “Dancing With Myself,” originally done by Billy Idol; The Wellingtons, “Only You,” originally done by Yaz; and the Corner Laughers, “Our House,” originally done by Madness. Tune in to hear these great, newly-waxed renditions that you’re going to absolutely love.
The Corner Laughers!
Of course, we’ll be speaking with Andrew at length for one of our patented, in-depth interview sessions for Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation when Here Comes the Reign Again is released, but to get you in the groove in the here-and-now we’ve done a short, exclusive interview with him–a sort-of broad strokes conversation that will tell you all you need to know in these early days. And it comes with another exclusive: a very cool factoid about this compilation that will delight you! Click the play button on the black bar below to listen.
Check back here on the Pure Pop Radio website for more you-need-to-know information on what promises to be this summer’s greatest slice of second British invasion wax.
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Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation’s special Drink a Toast to Innocence: A Tribute to Lite Rock Week ended this past Saturday, capping off six days of talks with Producer Andrew Curry and nine of the artists who contributed tracks to the project. All 10 interviews are now posted on the In Conversation PodOMatic podcast page, ready for you to listen to and download.
In addition to the extensive and in-depth interview with Andrew Curry, you’ll find talks with:
– Linus of Hollywood (“More than I Can Say”)
– Kelly Jones (“I’d Really Love to See You Tonight”)
– Brandon Schott (“Thank You for Being a Friend”)
– Christian Phillips (The Sonic Executive Sessions) (“On and On”)
– Wyatt Funderburk (“Bluer than Blue”)
– Willie Wisely (“So Into You”)
– Michael Carpenter (“We Don’t Talk Anymore”)
– Lannie Flowers (“Dance With Me”)
– Scott Klass (The Davenports) (“Just When I Needed You Most”)
If you already have Drink a Toast to Innocence, your enjoyment of this compilation will be suitably enhanced. If you’re new to the album, you’ll be moved to purchase it and enjoy it along with the rest of us.
Thanks, as always, for listening to Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation!
Drink a Toast to Drink a Toast to Innocence on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation
We shouted it from the rooftops throughout 2013, and now it’s come true: Drink a Toast to Innocence: A Tribute to Lite Rock has been showered with huzzahs from seven music critics, websites and a rockin’ National Public Radio affiliate down in sunny Florida. And we’re going to celebrate all next week on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation with six days of in-depth interviews with the compilation’s executive producer, Andrew Curry, and nine of the artists who contributed tracks. All told, these interviews constitute the bible on one of the best various artist collections to be released last year or any other year.
Beginning Monday, January 20, and ending on Saturday, January 25, Alan Haber will be talking to Andrew and the incredibly talented group of artists that contributed to Drink a Toast to Innocence. On Monday and Wednesday nights, and on Friday afternoon, Andrew steps up to the microphone and takes you from the idea’s inception to the compilation’s release. Everything you’ve wanted to know about this landmark record will be communicated during this hour and 45 minute-long chat that features tracks from the album. And then Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, it’s the artists’ turn to talk about the tracks they tackled, taking you from choosing the songs to recording them and beyond. We’re writing the audio book on Drink a Toast to Innocence, dear music fans, and you can only hear it on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.
Here’s the on-air schedule for this exciting group of interviews:
– Monday, January 20 and Wednesday, January 22 at 8 pm ET: Andrew Curry (also Friday, January 24 at 4 pm ET)
– Tuesday, January 21, 8 pm ET: Michael Carpenter talks about “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” Kelly Jones talks about “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” and Brandon Schott talks about “Thank You for Being a Friend”
– Thursday, January 23, 8 pm ET: Lannie Flowers talks about “Dance With Me,” Wyatt Funderburk talks about “Bluer than Blue,” and Linus of Hollywood talks about “More than I Can Say”
– Saturday, January 25, 6 pm ET: Christian Phillips (The Sonic Executive Sessions) talks about “On and On,” Scott Klass (The Davenports) talks about “Just When I Needed You Most,” and Willie Wisely talks about “So Into You”
Don’t miss this exciting event! Jot down the dates and times and immerse yourself in an unprecedented group of interviews with pop’s greatest artists and the man of the hour, Executive Producer and Lite-rock Impresario Andrew Curry!
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