New on Pure Pop Radio 9.14.16

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Spins and Reviews | 9.14.16 | by Alan Haber

We’re rotating more than 9,000 hand-picked songs, including ones from the following melodic pop treats…

stephen-bishop-blueprintStephen Bishop | Blueprint
I don’t know where I would have wound up on the melodic pop scale had I not been introduced to the music of Stephen Bishop in 1976. The classic, and it sounded like a classic upon first listen, “On and On,” with its gorgeous melody and the iconic lyric “So he takes a ladder/Steals the stars from the sky/Puts on Sinatra and starts to cry” still resonates with me, partly because Ol’ Blue Eyes’s records were spun frequently in my house, but also because I was, perhaps not so secretly and like millions of others, in love with the sound of the Chairman of the Board.

From the album Careless that offered “On and On” as its leadoff track, through to 1978’s miraculous Bish, which included the lovely “Losing Myself in You” and “What Can Love Do,” and the still-hard-to-top Red Cab to Manhattan from 1980, teeming with top-flight songs such as “Little Moon,” “Living in the Land of Abe Lincoln,” and the ingenious title track, and, well, on and on, my love affair with Stephen Bishop’s music has carried me through more than a few decades, through events both happy and sad, and, yes, on and on.

Bishop’s latest album, Blueprint, carries on the tradition the artist set in place 40 years ago. Juggling emotional ballads with a quirky classic and other fine numbers, it is a glorious testament that stands tall in Bishop’s deeply-felt catalog of songs.

The treasures on offer here are masterful. The typically beautiful ballads “Little Bird” and “Someone Like You” contrast nicely with the muscular story song “I’ll Sleep on the Plane,” a quirky, upbeat number that sounds like an outtake from Steely Dan’s Aja. It’s a wild 1970s gangster movie romp in song form. The stars? A beautiful, kind of clueless woman (“She looks just like Emma Stone/Posing for Playboy/As she reads Voltaire”) and her even more clueless guy, who tangles with some rather shady characters.

“Holy Mother,” another beautiful ballad, co-written with Eric Clapton, also shines, as does “It Might be You,” originally heard on the soundtrack of the 1982 Dustin Hoffman film Tootsie. Written by Dave Grusin and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, the song is recast here, to great effect, as a slightly faster, more beat-driven track.

And on and on. If you’re new to the music of Stephen Bishop, Blueprint, produced by Jon Gilutin, is as fine a place as any to start on your way to acquiring the entire catalog of this much loved, heritage melodic pop artist.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Little Bird,” “I’ll Sleep on the Plane,” “Before Nightfall,” “Holy Mother,” “Someone Like You,” and “It Might Be You.”
black box Where to Get It: Stephen Bishop’s website, CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes.

cupids-carnivalCupid’s Carnival | Everything is Love
Led by Thomas Gray and Roland Skilton, Cupid’s Carnival, originally known as Cherrystone, fashion songs and performances that evoke the sound and spirit of the Beatles and like-minded fellow travelers such as Badfinger. The title number, with its beautiful, catchy melody, sumptuous vocals, and electric sitar lines, could easily have been written and produced during the golden era of 1960s British pop. And the bopping “Working Girl” sounds like it could have shot to the top of the charts on 1960s British radio. If you sense a pattern here, you’re not mistaken. This is a find of the highest order, an album that will sit quite nicely within your melodic pop music collection.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Girl,” “Working Girl,” “I Was the Boy,” “Summertime,” “Our Life,” “Everything is Love,” and “Sunny Days.”
black box Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, and iTunes. Find out more about Cupid’s Carnival by clicking here.

andy-klingensmith-fantasy-islandAndy Klingensmith | Fantasy Island
Released today on Futureman Records, Andy Klingensmith’s latest is a bit of a departure from his previous releases, this time incorporating his close harmony vocals into an overall pop production style. The effect is quite pleasing in songs like the lively, handclap-powered “Have Some Fun” and the ’80s-sounding “Madeline.” Andy continues to write and produce music that proves he is an important part of the melodic pop movement. He deserves your support.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Have Some Fun,” “Madeline,” “For Ourselves,” and “Fantasy Island.”
black box Where to Get It: Futureman Records

Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Bowl Extra:
Bubble Gum Orchestra | Sticky Love Songs
Germany's Escort Girls Anticipate Increasing Demand During World CupComprising volumes one and two–20 songs on one CD–of an album chock full of catchy melodic pop love songs, Michael Laine Hildebrandt’s latest is a triumph. A review is forthcoming, but for now, know that 10 songs from Sticky Love Songs are now in hot rotation on our air. Plus, we’ve got the exclusive North America premiere of the new single, “You Gave Up on Love,” which features the great Lannie Flowers on vocals; tune in tonight at 7 pm ET to hear the song and an interview with Michael.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “You Called to Tell Me,” “It Was Gone,” “Peppermint Smile,” “You Gave Up on Love (Exclusive North America premiere), “I’m Not the Man,” “I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t,” “Every Day of the Week,” “You’re Not the One that Got Away,” “No One Ever Told Me,” and “BGO Motel.”
black box Where to Get It: Exclusively at the Bubble Gum Orchestra website (releases September 20).

More reviews of some of the latest songs and artists added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist tomorrow.

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The Fireworks Have Begun! Hundreds of Songs New to the Pure Pop Radio Playlist! And We’ve Only Just Begun! Day One is Here!

It's a Pure Pop Radio explosion of melodic pop!It’s like Christmas or Hanukkah in June and July! It’s like your birthday five or more days in a row! It’s like finding a 100 dollar bill on the sidewalk! It’s the event you’ve been waiting for: It’s the explosion of hundreds of melodic pop songs that are new to the Pure Pop Radio playlist! Holy melody and harmony, Batman!

We’ve already added nearly 200 songs to the playlist, and hundreds more are coming during the next two weeks. Two weeks? “You mean this event, for which I have been training the past couple of days, is going to reap even more rewards than previously thought?” You are correct! Our ace music pickers wound up getting so much more music in than was anticipated that we’re having to expand our explosive event to two weeks. That’s right, you heard the words: Two weeks! So each and every day during the next 14 days (excluding Sundays, when the aforementioned pickers recharge their melodic batteries), we will be adding new songs, recent songs, songs from the past–lots of songs to the playlist! Wow! Just…wow!

Here are just some of the songs and artists whose great music is now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio:

The Britannicas' High TeaThe Britannicas – High Tea. Four years on from this international melodic pop supergroup’s first, self-titled album comes this powerhouse release bursting with all of the hallmarks that satisfy the cravings of listeners all over the world: power pop, Byrds musings, gorgeous balladry, jangle, harmonies and hooks galore. Featuring the great Herb Eimerman from the United States, veteran popster Joe Algeri from Australia and Magnus Karlsson from Sweden, High Tea is a truly classic collection from which we’ve added nine glorious tracks: “Talkin’ ’bout Summer,” “The Moment Passed,” “Come On Boys,” “Bleed Between the Lines,” “A Shag and Cup o’ Tea,” “More Like than Different,” “I Work at the Post Office,” “Will Someone Cover Your Fall,” and “Lyin’ on the Ground.” Make room on your best of 2014 lists for this one, folks.

Oh yeah!Joe Sullivan – Shlockstar. Here’s an “oh yeah!” moment if ever there was one. Joe Sullivan, who plays guitar in An American Underdog, knows his way around a guitar and, what’s more, he knows his way around a deep-seated melodic pop hook. He’s put both of these talents to use on his first album, titled Shlockstar. This album could well be the best debut of the year (there’s no release date yet, so keep looking out for this one). And while we’re at it, let’s call this album a serious contender for 2014’s best-of lists. Every song sounds like a friend you want to hug. Warm and fuzzy melodies abound. Take the first song, “Conspiracy Radio.” Say, is that opening echoing the great Phil Spector productions from the sixties? And aren’t those vocals great? And that guitar solo? Dudes and dudettes, this album is made for your CD player’s repeat button. We love this album so much that we’ve added all 10 songs. Listen for the aforementioned “Conspiracy Radio,” “Nurse Tracy,” “Okinawa Girl,” “Sean Patrick’s Balloon,” “Rockstar Girlfriend,” “Look at Me Now,” “Can’t Go Home,” “Girl Next Door,” “Love in Every Bite,” and “Victims of the Sarlaac.” Prepare to be charmed and amazed. (Thanks to An American Underdog’s Andy Reed for turning me on to this great artist.)

Andy Klingensmith's PangeaAndy Klingensmith – Pangea. Andy Klingensmith is the melodic pop gift that keeps on giving. This young collegiate issued a short EP last month. That’s three superb releases in less than a year. There is nothing this incredibly talented master of intricate harmonies and deeply-felt songs can’t do. We’ve added two songs to our deep inventory of Klingensmith classics: “Pangea” and “The Actress’s Kiss.” All three of Andy’s releases are available on Bandcamp for free or however much you want to pay. Go get them now. You won’t be sorry.

Goodman's Isn't it Sad?Goodman – Isn’t it Sad? Not even remotely. Straight from New York City comes (Michael) Goodman’s latest collection of catchy pop tunes that will grab hold of your ears and never let go. We’ve graced our playlist with five songs from this as-great-as-Goodman’s-other-releases album: “I’ll Live Without your Love,” “Longing,” “Anywhere,” “The 1,” and “Canopy.” Prepare to be wowed.


Also added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist today:

* A great song from What, Really?’s self-titled EP: “Ophelia (Among the Flowers).”

* Two exceptional tunes from the forthcoming Vanilla album, 2.0: “Hai Karate Girls” and “The Victim of the Rhyme.” Jayson Jarmon should sound familiar, as he’s one of the members of one of the great bands of our time, Liar’s Club. But, really, he should be familiar as a great pop man whose tightly-constructed songs are a wonder to behold. We love Vanilla and can’t wait for the full album to be released.

* Rachael Dunn, whose sister is the great Liverpool, England pop artist Maxi Dunn, is a really cool singer-songwriter in her own right. Her EP, Placing Stars, is a delight. Fans of classic British artist Claire Hamill will find much to love here. We’ve added two songs that we think you’ll love: “Placing Stars” and “Summer Sunlight.” Rachel Dunn makes beautiful music and you can hear it in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

* Antiqcool – “Emily.” We’ve been playing a whole bunch of tunes from this ultra-talented singer-songwriter, and now comes this new song, a complete delight.

* Sons of Jet. Freshly-scrubbed and new to the pop scene, Sons of Jet have released a very cool retro-sounding single. Of course, we’re playing both tunes–the early, easy pop of “Broken Record” and the upbeat, could-have-been-heard-at-the-Cavern pop-rocker “My Tears for You (No More).” We expect big things from this group of music loving folks.

*Lewis Taylor. Taylor’s great release, The Lost Album, is a wonderful collection of beautifully constructed pop songs featuring great melodies and heavenly vocals. We’ve added the Todd Rundgren-esque “The Leader of the Band” and “Let’s Hope Nobody Finds Us,” a great song that Beach Boys never recorded. More to come, for sure.

Be here tomorrow when we put more songs just added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist in the spotlight. Hundreds of songs to go; don’t miss a single one! And thanks for listening!


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

Listen! Download! How About Doing Both? Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation with Andy Klingensmith and Riley Smith is Now Posted on Our PodOMatic Podcast Page

Andy Klingensmith's Bright Again
Andy Klingensmith’s Bright Again

Missed it last week? No worries: Our exclusive Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation interview with Andy Klingensmith and his pal and drummer Riley Smith is now posted on our PodOMatic podcast page. Listen! Download! Do both! We all love ya either way!

Andy and Riley talk exclusively to us about Andy’s latest smash EP, Bright Again. This is another hall-of-fame release from one of pop’s brightest new lights. Don’t miss our sit down with Andy and Riley!



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

Listen to Andy Klingensmith and Riley Smith on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on PodOMatic!
Listen to Andy Klingensmith and Riley Smith on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on PodOMatic!

Andy Klingensmith and Riley Smith are Behind the Microphones Next Week on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation

Two Cool Popsmiths: Andy Klingensmith (right) and Riley Smith (left)
Two Cool Popsmiths: Andy Klingensmith (right) and Riley Smith (left)

Andy Klingensmith makes a welcome return visit next week to Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, hot on the heels of the release of his latest hit platter, Bright Again.

Bright Again comes only months after Andy’s first, groundbreaking melody- and harmony-infused folk-pop masterpiece, Pictures Of. Andy’s harmony stacks are something to behold, and he’s a heck of a writer. He’s a major, big-time favorite here at Pure Pop Radio. We’re proud to bring him to you again, in conversation, and on record.

Andy Klingensmith's Bright Again
Andy Klingensmith’s Bright Again

Joining Andy on this edition of In Conversation is his pal and drummer, Riley Smith. On Bright Again, Riley adds a thrilling bottom end to Andy’s new songs. In addition to drums, he’s credited with providing backing vocals and additional instrumental arrangements. Nice job!

Don’t miss this latest back-and-forth with two very creative young musicians whose dedication and devotion to song is paramount to their success.

Air dates are next Wednesday and Thursday, April 9 and 10, at 8 pm ET. Be there!


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

Andy Klingensmith is Bright Again


Andy Klingensmith

Bright Again

Futureman Records (2014)

If Pictures Of found Andy Klingensmith in fine, mid-period Simon and Garfunkel mettle, then the new EP Bright Again finds the young singer-songwriter wiping his sonic canvas clean and adding a few, new, sparkling layers on top of his folk-pop leanings.

Klingensmith’s overall approach, in fact, is decidedly different and fresh this time around, only five months after the release of his freshman offering. Whereas Pictures Of, as accomplished a work of musical art as was released last year, featured only bright and vibrant acoustic guitars underpinning the gorgeous vocal stacks of three-dimensional harmonies and astute, majestic lyrics, Bright Again adds bass, keyboards, drums (deftly performed by Riley Smith), percussion and woodwinds (played sensitively by Jay Gummert) to the mix, and paints a decidedly pop picture while still retaining the already-established folk-pop foundation.

Recording at home again, Klingensmith, whether on purpose or not, channels Curt Boettcher, the vocal sound of the Roches, and the Free Design and sets out to twist and turn preconceived notions about his approach, even as he posits that his basic notions haven’t really changed. The title song, for example, rolls along on the wings of gorgeous harmonies and a lovely woodwind melody line delivered pleasingly over an acoustic guitar strum. The artist begins singing about a communicative bond with a partner. Cheery chords, drums and percussion propel the upbeat tune along as the words paint a yin-yang picture that suggests all might not be well now but may be in the future. “Stop me if you have heard this one before,” the narrator suggests. “Man walks into the world, stays a while/What’s the use of a mind? What’s it good for?/When everything is erased with her smile.”

Lofty questions such as these kick off this sophomore release. The questions do not stop after “Bright Again” plays out. In the breezy, second song, “No Control,” Klingensmith plays with varied rhythm structures as he spins a tale that touches on duality (“Something in the words we choose makes the things we say come in twos/Which do you wish that I prefer?”) and one’s path in life (“There’s fate but that’s just a wait/A key with no gate/A line much too straight/And though the things that we know are not fading slow/There’s one place to go.” Once again, lovely, inventive harmony stacks both surprise and delight.

Feelings that manifest as delicate notions are at the heart of “Oh Miss No Name.” Suggesting that such realizations may be fleeting, Klingensmith sings “I’ll write a few words with water from the fountain/But, soon as it’s done, it dries.” Crestfallen or not, he addresses his thoughts in the final verse: “Oh miss no name, perpetual love/Feels just like we are hand in glove/I’m just musing, remove the “m”/Now just using my mind ’til then.”

And so it goes with lyrics that are wise and ring true for all manner of listener, whether Klingensmith is writing about the open air in “The Parade” (“And I would ask the sky to take a seat if it wasn’t still under my feet”), ruminating on the mysteries of life in “The Penultimate Color” (“And so how long will nature still pen its overture/Where will the notes fall in the dark without us knowing?”), or musing about anticipation in “Peels and Feels” (“I forget just what I was, waiting for/A thousand days, out the door”). And so it goes, as well, with every note rightly expended within the confines of these richly wrought songs, cleverly realized creations that stand with the best of them.

Released on January 14, 2014, Bright Again would signal the arrival of a major artist had the full-length Pictures Of not already done that in 2013. Another full album, recorded out of the safety of home, is next on Klingensmith’s plate. It cannot help but reveal additional, emotional layers befitting a musician whose vision sees more detail with each new composition, whose every new step takes him into the great unknown with an eye toward completing his next musical chapter. For the sky is the limit, and the limit is endless and just around the corner. Andy Klingensmith, once again and forevermore, has arrived.

– Alan Haber

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