Strike Up the Band and Jump for Joy! Day Two of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion is Here!

yeah!Nearly every day brings a new discovery or a visit from an old musical friend. Here at Pure Pop Radio headquarters, we bathe ourselves in the great melodies coming from all manner of studios from California to Cebu City. We always smile and tap our feet as the latest and greatest songs play in our humble studio. “Spin that one again!”, we often exclaim. “Spin that one again and let’s dance!”

You might want to dance and jump for joy when you hear what we’ve just added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. We’ve got a ton of new, magical sounds spinning in rotation for you; let’s get to them, shall we?

surf-school-dropouts-coverSurf School Dropouts | Second Nature These harmony happy lads from Copenhagen, Denmark have delivered what will surely be your soundtrack for the upcoming summer season: 14 luscious, melody-soaked warm weather anthems that can lift your spirits high any time of the year. We particularly want to hug songs like the jaunty “Coastline Cruisin’,” a harmony-drenched Jan and Dean and Beach Boys-vibed celebration; the pretty love song “Sarah,” a singalong number that recalls the best of the folk group sounds being heard just before folk turned into folk-rock; the wonderful, harmony showcase, “Ebb and Flow,” which would have fit perfectly on any of the Beach Boys’ mid-period albums; and the joyous, peppered-with-Motown-flavor “Wonderful Ride.” We previously added “Wonderful Ride” as an exclusive to Pure Pop Radio; we’ve now also added “Coastline Crusin'” and “Sarah,” and six other future classics: “Should Have Known Better,” “Where Have You Gone,” “California,” “This Morning,” “Interlude (Summer Rain),” and “Summer Rain.” Fans of the sound of sixties California and Matt Tyson will love these songs. We sure do.

jay-gonzalezJay Gonzalez | The Bitter Suite Drive-By Truckers multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez steps into pure pop mode with this fantastic song cycle that powers itself with rock punch and a whole lot of heart. Sporting lovely melodies and a seventies sensibility, these five songs make a strong impression and practically guarantee a spot on this year’s best-of lists. We’ve added the whole lot: “Light Side of the Leaves,” “Grey Matter,” “Almond Eyes,” “Shenorock Lane,” and a song with the title of the year, “&$%@#!.” Produced by Jay and Chris Grehan (who also mixed). Quite brilliant, really.

ringo-starr-postcardsRingo Starr | Postcards from Paradise Not that anyone needs reminding, but the beat in the Beatles came from the man who made drum fills an art, a drummer whose influence on music continues to be felt more than five decades after he first picked up a pair of drum sticks. Without his innate ability to make his drums sing with three-dimensional feel, backbeat, regardless of genre, would have developed in a completely different way. Ringo’s 18th studio album continues his tradition of recording with musical pals and letting the beat speak for itself. Postcards from Paradise is a treat–from the nostalgia-filled, melodic “Rory and the Hurricanes,” a fun trip down memory lane to the time when Ringo played with Rory Storm and his band, to the clever title song written with Todd Rundgren, which packs a bevy of Beatles song titles into the lyrics, and the rockin’, cymbal heavy “Touch and Go,” this is a treasure for both Ringo and Beatles fans. Oh, the rest of you, too. We’re playing the previously-mentioned songs and “Right Side of the Road,” “Not Looking Back,” and “Let Love Lead.” Very cool.

tommy-sistak-yeahTtommy-sistak-short-songsommy Sistak | “Yeah She Said So” and Short Songs Well, here’s what’s cooking: A new song and a new album and together they’re the holy grail of whoa-listen-to-that records that only sound like they were recorded in the poppin’ 1960s. Tommy Sistak’s individual love letters to our favorite era for catchy tunes are short–mostly two minutes and change–and sweet…oh, how they are sweet! Broadly speaking, Tommy’s drawing from the sounds of British invasion bands (Beatles, check) and vocal acts such as the Everly Brothers for a catchy and oh-so-charming half hour’s worth of lovingly-crafted and performed pop music that, and we’re saying this more often than in recent times, belongs in every pop fan’s collection and should, without question, be on a whole lot of best-of lists this year. The new song, “Yeah She Said So,” released in late March, is a crowd-pleasing pop-rocker blaring a combination of thunderous drums and vocal harmonies. We’re playing the entire Short Songs collection, as you might figure: “And So It Goes,” “Be Good,” “In So Many Ways,” “Just Like Before,” “Let Her Go,” “Never Want to Be Blue,” “Ordinary Words,” “Ordinary Words (Unplugged),” “Seems Like You’re There,” “Think About Me,” “Whisper In Your Night,” and “You’ll Come My Way.” Here is your go-to, retro masterpiece for 2015.

the-difficult-strangerThe Difficult Stranger | High School Lover We added the nearly-perfect pop song, “Fall In Love With You,” last October. The full-length longplayer is now here; you may consider us quite charmed. Michael Anthony Curan, Eboi Oca Ponce and Glenn Alonzo play an infectious brand of pure- and punk-pop that’s sure to please one and all. In addition to “Fall In Love With You,” we’re now playing “Her High School Lover,” “Honey,” and “Pawn Shop Heart.” Expect this album to explode all over the pop universe.

the-direct-hitsThe Direct Hits | Here, There or Anywhere: 23 Mod Pop Classics 1982-1986 The much desired gene that points to ’60s and ’70s songwriting sensibilities is quite evident in the work of the short-lived band, the Direct Hits. The Hits packed a lot of quality into their relatively miniscule output–single sides and two albums–and should be known to any melodic pop fan worth his or her salt. If you’ve never heard of this band, you will by listening to Pure Pop Radio, where we’re playing 10 songs in rotation: “Modesty Blaise,” “English Girls,” “The Old Curiosity Shop,” “My Back Pages,” “Miranda Berkley,” “I Started Counting,” “She’s Not Herself Today,” “Last Time I Saw the Sunrise,” “Heat and Sun,” and “Christina.” Prepare to fall in love with a band that was in love with some very cool retro sounds.

smile-factoryThe Smile Factory | “There She Is” Sounding like it came from the jangly, poppy sixties, the Smile Factory’s super-catchy “There She Is” is the perfect earworm for any season. It’s one of those songs that you want to play again and again, and again. Written by Bill Shaouy and performed by (take a well-deserved bow, folks) Bill (lead vocal and keyboard), Brandi Ediss (backing vocals), Keith Klingensmith (backing vocals), Torbjörn Petersson (all guitars), Kyle Richards (bass), and Lee Wiggins (drums), this is a cheery confection and we’re all better off with it in our lives. More please, and sooner than later, if you will.

barry-holdship-jessebarry-holdship-ruff-traxBarry Holdship | Ruff Trax and The Jesse Garon Project Barry Holdship’s two albums of musical riches run the gamut from lovely, mid-tempo ’60s pastiche (“A Fractured Lullaby” from Ruff Trax) to Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis early rock ‘n’ roll (“Hang Me Out to Dry” from The Jesse Garon Project). In between, there is a Buddy Holly nod (with Roy Orbison overtones) (“Everybody’s Dreamin'” from The Jesse Garon Project) and a gospely slow dance, hold-her-tight number (“Give Your Heart to Me” from Ruff Trax). We’re playing the aforementioned songs in rotation, along with “Where to Go from Here,” “Stuck in Time,” “Nothing Means More than This,” and “Here With Me” (from Ruff Trax); and “All I Really Want,” “Tell Me What You See,” “Words of Wisdom,” “Twist of Faith,” and “It Hurts to Be that Way” (from The Jesse Garon Project). Throughout, Barry’s strong, expressive vocals lead the way. We’re glad to have Barry Holdship on Pure Pop Radio.

the-yearningThe Yearning | Dreamboats and Lemonade The only thing you will wonder, listening to the Yearning’s extremely wonderful 2014 album, is why you didn’t know about them earlier on in your music loving life. New to Pure Pop Radio, this band’s retro sound hearkens back to the romantic feel of pop music from the sixties. Every song here is top flight; in particular, the glorious girl group pastiche, “How Will I Know,” is so right on you’ll swear it’s a long-lost artifact written by some Brill Building scribe. “Lemonade,” another girl group-esque tune, swims along on a current infused with charm (and borrows from the sound of ABBA). And “When I Was Your Baby” is a nostalgic ballad, looking back to a love affair now lost. From the accomplished vocals of Maddie Dobie to the inspired work of Joe Moore and other talented craftspeople, the Yearning goes directly to the upper class on Pure Pop Radio’s list of Records We Can Not Do Without. We’re playing, in rotation, the songs we’ve just mentioned and “Dreamboat,” “It’s You That I Want,” “Never Learn to Cry,” and “Tomorrow Night.” Retro and proud of it. A fantastic, truly fantastic record.

omdOrchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark | “Locomotion” We always looked at this band, more commonly known as OMD, as a pop band, although we’d bet we could run into a lot of people who might disagree. Nevertheless, we stand by our contention, and offer this poppy number from the band’s Junk Culture album as proof. Catchy, with a decidedly Paul McCartney-esque traveling bass line and an infectious melody (not to mention a nifty beat), “Locomotion” is just the first addition of an OMD track to our playlist. Many more to come. “Secret,” anyone? Yep, that one’s on its way.

jimmy-webbThe Songs of Jimmy Webb – Tunesmith Speaking of proof, this 2003 compilation offers a case, as if he needed it, that Jimmy Webb is an American treasure–a writer of classic songs that have informed our culture for decades. We’ve added a trio of numbers from this release; more will be added soon. Listen for Strawberry Children’s “Love Years Coming,” the 5th Dimension’s smash hit, “Up, Up and Away,” and Glen Campbell’s genius recording of “Galveston.”

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How is that for day two of our New Music Explosion? Pretty explosive, huh? We hope you enjoy all of the new songs and artists we’ve added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist in the past couple of days. And remember…there are more than 6,500 other tunes playing in rotation. You’re sure to love every one of them! Simply click on one of the listen links below and sing along if you know the words! We’re Pure Pop Radio, the original 24-hour-a-day melodic pop music radio station on the Internet. We never close!

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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

Are You Ready? Thursday’s Big Blast of New Music Added to the Pure Pop Radio Playlist Is Here!

day-twoWe’re back with another extra special, vitamin-rich group of great new and new-to-you melodic pop music added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist.

Let’s get right to it, then. We’ll begin by taking an extended look at a fantastic new tribute to Elvis Costello.

beyond-beliefVarious Artists | Beyond Belief/A Tribute to Elvis Costello We’ve talked about the compiler’s art before, and make no mistake about it–compiling a tribute album is an art. Practicing the art for this three-disc tribute to Elvis Costello are compilers Olivia Frain and John M. Borack, both longtime Costello fans. Frain, a dedicated music fan, and Borack, a music journalist who has also served as executive producer for 2002’s Right to Chews: Bubblegum Classics Revisited and 2001’s Shoe Fetish: A Tribute to Shoes, set about contacting artists and putting into motion all of the behind-the-scenes nuts-and-bolts tasks necessary to bring the set to market.

This mammoth collection, gathering together covers of Costello numbers from 50 artists, is a delight to listen to from head to toe. As noted in the set’s booklet, “100% of the proceeds…will be donated to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation keeps music alive in schools by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programs, giving youngsters the many benefits of music education, helping them to be better students and inspiring creativity and expression through playing music.” In an era in which arts programs are often cut from schools, this is a most welcome and vital effort.

Beyond Belief is chock full of choice Costello songs performed by artists who obviously love the source material. And what’s not to love? Costello has been a favorite artist of music fans since he first burst on the scene in 1977 with his debut album My Aim is True. Along the way, he has delivered songs in all manner of genre from rock to pop to R&B to country and back again. Proof of this ability to jump from one style to another at the drop of a tone arm is reflected in the tracks chosen by the artists appearing here.

While some artists stick to the plot of land originally planted by Costello, others reimagine the master’s songs and work with new approaches. David Myhr, late of the Merrymakers and now a favored solo artist, delivers a wonderful version of “Veronica” (co-written with Paul McCartney) that basically sticks to Costello’s blueprint but takes the song at a slightly slower tempo and adds more of a glossy, pop sheen. The Rubinoos trade a blaring horn section for the original’s organ part and temper Costello’s snarl with a bit of a poppier vocal approach in a jazzier, new version of “Pump It Up.” Mike Viola turns in a basically reverent version of a Burt Bacharach co-write, the majestic “God Give Me Strength,” in what amounts to a somewhat more intimate, drawing room-like performance; Viola’s gorgeous vocal is delivered over a bed of acoustic guitar and chamber strings, minus the horn present in Costello’s original version.

Three tracks, in particular, take the art of covering a song to new heights. First and foremost, the award goes to Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel, better known as Jamie and Steve, who pull the rug out from under Costello’s “Blame It On Cain” and shake out the dust like men on a mission, turning in an amped-up, wild a cappella version powered by doo-wop muscle and good, old-fashioned chutzpah. Not only do Jamie and Steve prove how good the song is, they turn it inside out and rebuild it from the ground up. This is a spectacular performance that will have you hitting the repeat button over and over.

To Costello’s original, moody version of “So Like Candy,” a co-write with Paul McCartney, Paul Myers adds some poppy vocals and a ghostly percussion track and approaches Costello’s bridge as if it were coming straight off of a scratchy vinyl copy of the song. It’s a welcome surprise that, along with Myers’ assured vocal, is one of this set’s major delights. Another top shelf approach is that of Lannie Flowers, who takes a basically reverent run through “Radio Sweetheart,” yet surprises listeners by turning the proceedings on their collective head at 1:55 by introducing a decidedly mystical aura for 37 enticing seconds.

What tribute albums such as Beyond Belief offer, aside from giving artists the chance to play in someone else’s sandbox, is proof that good songs will retain their value as each calendar year passes. New coats of paint in the form of new approaches or reverent run-throughs are good for the songwriter’s art, and good, also, for the compiler’s art. With Beyond Belief/A Tribute to Elvis Costello, the compiler’s art has been raised to new heights.

[Twenty-one tracks from Beyond Belief/A Tribute to Elvis Costello have been added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist and are now playing in rotation: “Girls Talk,” Rob Smith; “Brilliant Mistake,” Dennis Schocket and Cliff Hillis; “The Other End of the Telescope,” Butch Walker; “Veronica,” David Myhr; “Kinder Murder,” Popdudes; “No Hiding Place,” Michael Carpenter; “Blame It on Cain,” Jamie and Steve; “Monkey to Man,” Kelley Ryan; “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” Severo; “Pump It Up,” The Rubinoos; “Radio Sweetheart,” Paul Myers; “Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s a Doll Revolution),” Hans Rotenberry; “Possession,” Barry Holdship; “This Year’s Girl,” honeychain; “Green Shirt,” Scott Bennett; “God Give Me Strength,” Mike Viola; “Radio Sweetheart,” Lannie Flowers; “Man Out of Time,” Bill Lloyd; “Almost Blue,” Nick Heyward and the 13 Satellites; “Crimes of Paris,” An American Underdog; and “Mystery Dance,” sparkle*jets UK]   – Alan Haber

(Order at CD Baby or Amazon)

Also new today on Pure Pop Radio:

hidden-picturesHidden Pictures | Ottomans The latest release from Hidden Pictures is a typically entertaining musical knockout punch. Delicious melodic pop pictures are painted with an apparent Deacon Blue-meets-Prefab Sprout vibe. Highlights include the wonderfully catchy “Firm Way to Say Goodbye”; the punchy, tuneful “Girl on Girlfriend”; and “Riffraff,” a rock number with a guitar part sounding like it came from a David Bowie track. These and three more songs are now playing in rotation: “You’re an Adult,” “Hannah, I’m Scared of Your Boyfriend,” and “Firm Way to Say Goodbye.” Another great album from this California group.

tearaways-vol.-4tearaways-vol.-7The Tearaways | The Earle Mankey Sessions, Vol. 4 and The Earle Mankey Sessions, Vol.7 Formed more than 30 years ago, the Tearaways worked with veteran producer Earle Mankey and waxed 50 songs. The results were released in 2014 on these two albums, both necessary purchases for every pop music fan. Great, catchy songs with terrific melodies and harmonies are the order of the day. We’ve added seven songs from Vol. 4 and nine songs from Vol. 7. From Vol. 4, we chose the melodic anthem “Girls Who Love Cars,” the toe-tapper “Stuck On Stupid,” about a guy who can’t quite figure out how to tell a girl he likes how he feels; and the timely “We Don’t Talk, We Text,” about the laziness and lack of proper communication in this world. Also added from Vol. 4: “I Will Wait,” “Jefferson Still Survives,” “Valerie,” and “The Last Goodbye.” From Vol. 7: the self-explanatory “I Pray Guitar”; a rhythmic tribute to “John Wayne”; and “All She Wants Is the Ring,” about a woman who’s in a relationship for its material worth. Plus: “Friends and Enemies,” “I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care,” “More Dollars than Sense,” “I Can Tell You Now,” “I’ll See You Again,” and “I’m All In.” Repeat after us: “Must have. Must have. Must have!”

dave-raveDave Rave and the Governors | Sweet American Music The great Dave Rave returns and hooks up with the Governors for a splendid collection of pop songs, all sporting big melodies and, of course, big hooks. From the driving “Lindsay” and pure pop sixties pleasures of “You Take What’s Yours” to “Pullman Washington” and the Lou Reed vocal vibe of “Night School,” this is an album that will never be far from your ears. We’re happily spinning these four songs, along with the rocking “Trapped.” A big record with big guitars and a whole lot of spirit. And the cover’s really cool.

andy-boppAndy Bopp | Time to Rock! Andy Bopp, late of groups such as Love Nut and Myracle Brah, and currently waxing tunes with Ken Schopf as The Modern Ruins (see next entry), lets loose in his living room armed with only his electric guitar and echoed vocals for a quartet of Sun-era sounding rock ‘n’ roll ‘n’ rockabilly numbers. The tracks: the title track, “Anna Lee,” “Black Heath,” and Santo and Johnny’s “Sleepwalk.” Dig these thrilling and powerful performances, all playing now in rotation.

moderm-ruins-threethe-modern-ruins-bleeding-partyThe Modern Ruins | Bleeding Party and Three Tracks from the Four Track Can’t get enough Bopp? Andy’s got you covered with two new 2015 releases from his duo with Ken Schopf, the Modern Ruins. These songs follow nicely from the vibe of Andy’s solo EP, Time to Rock!, only on these records Andy and his guitars are supported by Ken’s Cocktail Drum kit, percussion and backing vocals. It’s rock ‘n’ roll all the way, from the souped-up Sun-era sound of “All Fall Down (Black Heath),” which also appears on Time to Rock!, to the slow blues of the title track and a spirited, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band-esque version of David Essex’s 1973 top five hit, “Rock On.” These songs, plus three more–“Longtime,” “Rope Walker,” and “There”–are now playing in rotation. From Three Tracks from the Four Track, we’re spinning “Anytime Anyway” and “When It Rains.” Great stuff.

town-and-countrycartographerCartographer | Cartographer, and Town and Country | My Blue Heaven One of our favorite singer-songwriters, Scott Gagner, whose last album, Rise and Shine, was a big hit here at Pure Pop Radio, is the common denominator between these two releases, both from 2008. Both albums find Gagner and friends following a similar musical path to Gagner’s current vibe. In other words, the songs are melodic and inventive and instantly memorable. Great stuff through and through. From Cartographer, we’re playing, in rotation, “The Trouble With You,” “I’m Not Following You,” “Love Triangle for Two,” “Sound Rebounds,” “Waiting,” and “Suburban Girl.” From My Blue Heaven, we’re spinning “Daytime Emmy,” “Bella Vista,” “Better than That,” and “The Rest of the Night.” Scott is currently working on ideas for his next album. We can only hope we don’t have to wait too long.

sitcom-neighborSitcom Neighbor | Charm This wonderful pop music album from 2012 hits the melodic bullseye, sounding like a splinter off the main body of the Sugarplastic. From the beautiful “Amphetamine” to the rocking nod “The Satisfaction of Love” and the bluesy pop of “Vaseline Water Balloon,” this album is full of harmonies and top notch melodies, bursting with tasty nuggets. We’re playing eight songs in rotation: those previously mentioned, and “Let It Go,” “True Love and Medication,” “This Time Tomorrow,” the Beatlesque “Buy Your Farm,” and “Darlene.”

ticketsThe Tickets | The Tickets Musician Walter Clevenger loved the Tickets so much that he gathered together the band’s 1990 cassette-only album, The Tickets Make a Record, and their 1986 single, “She Got Away”/”Yesterday’s Girl” and released both together in 2006 as The Tickets on his own Brewery Records label. The album is an important collection of songs performed by musicians with an obvious love for pop music. We’re playing six: “Dream About Me,” “Everything,” “I Don’t Belong,” “Heartland,” “The One that I Loved,” and “She Got Away.” Great melodies, harmonies and playing abound.

the-general-storeThe General Store | Mountain Rescue It is a pleasure to have the music of the General Store spinning in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. Tam Johnstone, the musician behind the group name, is the son of Elton John guitarist Davey Johnstone; he obviously picked up a musical thing or two from his dad. A mix of country-tinged and pop/rock numbers, Mountain Rescue is represented on Pure Pop Radio by seven songs: the ringing rocker “Early Morning Fuzz,” the Beach Boys homages “Girls from the Mall” and “Nothing Can Come Between Us,” and “Desert Weathered Hiway.” The Neil Young nod “Come Around,” “Great Big World,” and “Over Here” complete the pack.

ian-gommIan Gomm | Demonstrates Ian Gomm, who co-wrote (with Nick Lowe) one of the great pop singles of all time, “Cruel to Be Kind,” and played guitar for the band Brinsley Schwarz, added this terrific EP to his catalog in 2013. The platter is represented on Pure Pop Radio with four choice cuts, pop classics all: the upbeat, catchy “Let’s Stick Together” and “Only You (Knowing Me),” the hit-worthy “Magic Spell,” and the beautiful ballad “Lonely Avenue.” A terrific disc from one of the greats, released by Jerker Emanuelson’s Sound Asleep Records.

souvenirsVarious Artists | Souvenirs: Little Gems of Pop, Volume II The second in a series of collections gathering together various classic pop recordings, Souvenirs: Little Gems of Pop, Volume II kicks off with Richard X. Heyman’s crackerjack 1980 single a-side, “Vacation,” an energetic pop rocker with a typically catchy melody. From there you get, amongst the treasures on hand, Bill Lloyd’s jangly, highly melodic side “Lisa Anne,” from Bill’s 1987 Feeling the Elephant album; Tube Top’s glorious, upbeat power pop song “Oceans Cracked,” from the band’s 1997 album Three Minute Hercules; and Scott Sutherland’s straight-ahead pop song “Book of Seasons” from 1999. These songs are now playing in rotation as part of our playlist; others spinning as we speak are Enemies in the Grass’ “Best Behaviour,” Post Office’s “The Whole Thing’s a Bust,” Jr. Gone Wild’s “It Never Changes,” and Nick Rudd’s Blown’s “One in a Million.” A wonderful collection, released in 2014 by Jerker Emanuelson’s Sound Asleep Records.

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Whew! That does it for our two-day new adds extravaganza. We hope you enjoyed the ride through the latest additions to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. All of the songs and artists we talked about today and yesterday are now playing in rotation. Tune in to Pure Pop Radio by clicking on one of the handy listen links below. And make a date to come back often to hear more of the greatest pop music in the universe!

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

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