Reviews: 2.14.19: Valentine’s Day Special: I Heart Bertling Noise Laboratories’ … into thin air

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Bertling Noise Laboratories | … into thin air (2019)

Multi-instrumentalist Nick Bertling, who makes and records the noise in these laboratories, is a marvel. His previous work, covering favorite pop and rock songs on 2017’s A Little Touch of Bertling in the Night and waxing his own creations on 2015’s the flehmen response, stands proudly beside his instrumental backing for Andy Bopp and Gretchen’s Wheel’s Lindsay Murray. Nick is back with a four-song EP, EPs being the more common musical currency in these wackadoo times.

This new collection brings together four songs–three very Nickian interpretations of tunes from other artists and one rollout of a brand-new tune written by Bertling himself. It’s a different way to express creativity–Nick’s way of putting his stamp on other people’s envelopes, so to speak.

Nick’s new song, “Perfect Paragraph,” was written in Chicago and recorded at home, where all four of … into thin air’s songs were captured in perpetuity. This song really is pretty perfect, just like the paragraph referenced in the title, a pretty piano ballad beautifully sung in which the perfect moment is in the spotlight and the influence of Todd Rundgren can clearly be heard.

“Whisper Softly” was the opening, popping salvo on Myracle Brah’s 1998 album, Life on Planet Eartsnop. Nick basically sticks to writer and performer Andy Bopp’s original plot, although he does up the ante with a more pronounced drum beat. “Awry,” a cover of an Aimee Mann-type song from Gretchen Wheel’s 2017 EP, for which Nick provided some percussion, undergoes some reinvention and is now cast as a weightier alternative number, shot with sound effects and an electric guitar solo composed of sometimes stretched and bent notes.

“As One Again,” a midtempo ballad painted with full-on Rundgren colors, has an interesting history. It was originally essayed by Nick and
Chris Catalfo in the late 1990s. Building on Chris’s previously-recorded keyboard part (all that remained from their efforts), Nick finished the song. The song is Chris’s, the recording Nick’s. And it’s a beaut.

It continues to be my pleasure to be able to put the Pure Pop Radio spotlight on melodic pop’s great practitioners. Nick Bertling is certainly one of them, and … into thin air is his latest release.

I heart Bertling Noise Laboratories’ …into the air.

Where to Get It and Listen: 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.

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Favorite Records of the Year: Stars of 2016

favorite records of the year - stars of 2016

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio
(Originally posted 01.03.17)

2016 was a terrific year for melodic pop music from both new and heritage artists, perhaps the best in recent memory. My list of 28 Favorite Records of the Year from 27 artists–The Stars of 2016–is presented below in random order.

It has long been my view that ranking entries on best-of-the-year lists is an impossible task, at least for me. If I made such a list on Monday, would the number nine entry still be in that slot on Tuesday? Perhaps not. Sometimes, I fear, agonizing over a particular placement would be akin to splitting hairs and not particularly a worthwhile enterprise. So, I’ll go with I like these a lot instead.

Here are my Favorite Records of the Year–The Stars of 2016–in no specific order. All are more than worthy of your time, and all should be added to your core collection of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe.

And now, on with the show…

The Stars of 2016

bob lind magellanBob Lind | Magellan Was Wrong Pop bard Bob Lind’s latest is a typically heartfelt collection of songs that deliver his always magical one-two punch: emotional lyrics and beautiful melodies, brought to life with stellar arrangements and production, much of it supplied in grand fashion on this album by the Spongetones’ Jamie Hoover. Gorgeous soundscapes abound, such as the romantic, catchy “From the Road,” awash with poppy background harmonies from Hoover and perceptive, picturesque lyrics from Lind (“In moments others call mundane/My soul is warming by your flame/Turning just like a sailor to the harbor/And I will carry back my songs and tales/Of calms and gales/And sing and tell them all/To you”), and Lind’s emotional cover of Tom Paxton’s “Bottle of Wine.”

Where to Get It: Amazon

Legal Matters cover conradThe Legal Matters | Conrad With this album, the Legal Matters have set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music. Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith are the players, and their human voices are their instruments. The songs are sweetly realized, from the opener “Anything,” not the first track on this album tipping its hat to the much-loved Beach Boys vocal vibe, to the upbeat, single-worthy “Short Term Memory,” which tips its drumsticks to Ringo Starr in a delightful fill and puts forth some top-notch electric guitar playing. To listen to this album is a thrilling experience.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, iTunes, CD Universe

the weeklings studio 2The Weeklings | Studio 2 The beat-betrothed, Beatlesque foursome from New Jersey, steeped in the Fab tradition and nom de plumed in the spirit of all that started off holy in Liverpool’s Cavern Club a fair number of years ago, follows up their self-titled long player, affectionately known as Monophonic, with a sterling 12-song set composed of eight superlative originals and four rare John Lennon and Paul McCartney songs not given away to other artists. Recording in Abbey Road’s hallowed Studio 2, where the Beatles made their astounding magic, Glen Burtnik, Bob Burger, John Merjave and Joe Bellia, aka Lefty, Zeek, Rocky and Smokestack, respectively, make considerable Merseyside hay with delightfully brisk and catchy songs steeped in the effervescent spirit of the Fab Four. A splendid time, to be sure.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon

caper clowns 2Caper Clowns | The Buca Bus Delicious pure pop from Odense, Denmark delights with a dozen beautifully written and performed pearls. Lovely melodies and vocal harmonies are always present, particularly on instant classics such as the should-be-hit-bound earworm “A Tale of Romance and Magnetic Trains” and the gorgeous ballad “Lizard Heart.” Debut of the year? Most certainly.

Where to Get It: iTunes, imusic, Amazon UK (mp3 download)

kenny herbert forever and beyondKenny Herbert | Forever and Beyond A gorgeous, romantic song cycle inspired by Caroline, the love of his life, Forever and Beyond is Herbert’s melodically-charged survey of the power of true love. The 14 songs on offer, encompassing 1930s, 1950s and modern melodic pop vibes, are tremendously affecting, beautifully drawn snapshots of a happy existence. The pretty “Queensferry Girl” and the catchy, McCartney-esque pop song “It’s All Good” shine among a rich collection of gems.

Where to Get It: Kenny’s website, iTunes

TYIFinal2Nick Piunti | Trust Your Instincts Guitars, bass, drums, powerful vocals, and a whole lot of moxie power the pop on Nick’s latest, high-energy collection. These songs make heads turn and hearts embrace its many charms. “One Hit Wonder” is the big, splashy, pure pop hit here, a clear winner on an album full of winners.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, iTunes and Bandcamp

gleeson curse my lucky starsGleeson | Curse My Lucky Stars Austin, Texas band Gleeson have made their White Album, a sparkling collection of songs varied in approach and tone that makes a case for melodic pop being the genre of the moment. Encompassing beautiful balladry, art-pop, rock and retro charm, Curse My Lucky Stars is a marvel.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp

teddy thompson and kelly jonesTeddy Thompson and Kelly Jones | Little Windows A true, modern classic bathed in retro charm, Little Windows’ rewards are many. There is a decidedly romantic notion at play here, one that slips in and out of hand holding echoes of the Everly Brothers at Cadence, Roy Orbison, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, Buck Owens and a thousand other country-pop artists and their golden recordings. These lovely, heartfelt songs, brought to life by two of pop music’s finest vocalists, make up an album that is like a bright lighthouse shining across the sea, drawing you in.

Where to Get It: Teddy Thompson store, Amazon, and iTunes

ray paul whimsicalityRay Paul | Whimsicality Thirty-six years after the release of Ray Paul and RPM’s album Go Time, the artist is once again regaling listeners with enticing tales set to everyone’s favorite power pop beat. A delicious mix of originals and well-chosen covers, such as the Grass Roots’ “Temptation Eyes” and Paul McCartney’s “Oh Woman, Oh Why,” meets wonderfully-realized originals like the dynamic “A Fool Without Your Love” and McCartney-esque “Jeannie.” With Ray’s gorgeous melodies and strong vocals out front, this is a treat from first note to last.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, and iTunes

myrtle park's fishing coverMyrtle Park’s Fishing Club | Benches A monumentally towering testament to melodic and harmonic excellence, Benches is a delight from start to finish. There is nothing quite like Kate Stephenson’s take on melodic pop music, just as there is nothing like her soaring imagination, and her ability to express all manner of emotion and make the listener feel. Working in concert with musical partner John Steel, Kate delivers wondrous songs (and three-dimensional vocal harmony stacks) like “Somebody Called Me an Onion,” a smile-inducing, upbeat, energetic pop number with faux-reggae shadings about peeling back the layers to reveal the full, human package of emotion; and the a cappella wonder “Silent Letter,” a tune about inner beauty and the sanctity of thought that doesn’t always have to be laid bare. For those of you keeping score, this is the second Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club album to wear our Favorite Records of the Year mantle. As it should be.

Where to Get It: Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club’s website, Amazon, and iTunes

the nines alejandro's visionsThe Nines | Alejandro’s Visions Rolling and then filtering the influence of the music of writers such as George Gershwin and Rodgers and Hart into a mix peppered with the harmony styles of the Beach Boys, the Four Freshmen and even doo-wop, and then topping the resulting flow with his love of artists such as the Electric Light Orchestra and XTC, Steve Eggers has delivered a harmony- and melody-drenched soundtrack to an imaginary film, somewhat of a sequel to the last Nines album, Night Surfer and the Cassette Kids. Standout tracks include the beautiful, bittersweet, old-fashioned “When Our Love Was in Bloom,” stacked deep with gorgeous harmonies and an irresistible melody; and the early rock and roll/pop hybrid “Operator (Coming Home to You),” which sports a meaty, catchy, percussive piano riff, opens with an aural allusion to the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” and lays out a delectable Jeff Lynne-ish bridge that will make you smile. Alejandro’s Visions is Eggers’ best and most assured work yet, an immensely satisfying collection that belongs in every melodic pop music fan’s collection.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, CD Baby, and Amazon (mp3)

seth swirsky new album coverSeth Swirsky | Circles and Squares Proving that a creative, heartfelt approach to making music will yield magic almost every time, Seth Swirsky has crafted a collection of songs that draws on all of his strengths, and perhaps incorporates a couple of new ones. Moreover, these songs reveal the truth about all of our lives, right from the first track, “Shine,” his statement of purpose, the one that sets the stage for what comes next. And what comes next is winner after winner, such as the lovely confessional and autobiographical “I Don’t Have Anything (If I Don’t Have You),” in which the narrator allows that life means nothing at all without the proverbial “one”: “I’ve got some baseballs/That are pretty rare/Got a swimming pool/And a fast car/But I don’t care/’Cause I don’t have anything if I don’t have you…I’ve got gold records/Hanging on my wall/But without your love/Baby you can have ’em all…” This 16 song collection is the latest expression of craft from one of pop music’s most important artists.

Where to Get It: seth.comKool Kat Musik, Amazon, and iTunes

lucy wainwright roche and suzzy roches mud and applesLucy Wainwright Roche and Suzzy Roche | Mud and Apples A sparkling duo release from Suzzy Roche and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche. Warm harmonies, clever songwriting and the inclusion of beautifully-sung covers such as Paul Simon’s “Bleecker Street” and the Cascades’ “Rhythm of the Rain” push this 11 track masterpiece into hall-of-fame territory. Roches fans will be charmed, and so will everyone else. Surely one of this year’s top expressions of musical joy.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the monkees good timesThe Monkees | Good Times! Good Times! is a classic-sounding Monkees album that happens to have been released 50 years after Monkeemania began. A mix of recordings based on sessions produced during the group’s heyday and new songs written by top-flight, current songwriters of note, this is a fun listen from start to finish. A shining example of how good this album is: The perky, catchy “You Bring the Summer,” written by XTC’s Andy Partridge, fulfilling a childhood dream. A great album.

Where to Get It: Amazon and iTunes

mimi bettinis music soundsmimi betinis basement tapesMimi Betinis | Music Sounds and Basement Tapes Vol. 1 Pezband’s Betinis scores with two sterling releases in 2016 that are really two sides of a rather entertaining coin, so they both rate a spot in this Stars of 2016 feature. Music Sounds is a vivid, quite alive offering of melodic treasures. Its songs are wonderfully realized pop confections that hit the hooky bullseye, like “She Wants You,” which surreptitiously recalls the famed intro to the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” in the intro, and “Summer Love,” a warm love letter and look back to a seasonal romance (that, perhaps unknowingly, taps the sound of 10cc member Eric Stewart’s guitar playing in the solo).

Basement Tapes Vol. 1 collects tracks that Mimi has been working on over the years, like “Ray of Light,” a melodic sweetness that sounds like an Andy Partridge outtake off of XTC’s Nonsuch album, and simply lovely covers (Paul McCartney’s song for Mary Hopkin, “Goodbye,” and the Hudson Brothers’ “So You Are a Star” are glorious). Saying that some heritage artists are only getting better as time passes by can sound like rather an empty assertion, but my, how that phrase does indeed fit snug as a bug, listening to Music Sounds and Basement Tapes Vol. 1.

Where to Get Them: Pop Music Sounds and CD Baby

winterpills love songsWinterpills | Love Songs The numbers on Winterpills’ seventh album get under your skin; they become you in some celestial kind of way. The vocals of songwriter Philip Price and his wife, guitarist and keyboard player Flora Reed, are the collective glue that holds these proceedings together–the glue that gives them life. Consider “Wanderer White,” a rolling, rhythmic song about a fall from grace, in which Philip takes the lower notes and Flora the higher ones, and “Freeze Your Light,” which starts off as if in a church with a slight, ghostly choral singsong and becomes a folk-into-pop number with a delectable chorus buoyed by the same low-and-high vocals. The poppy bopper and should-be-hit-bound “Celia Johnson” turns the tables with Philip initially taking the high vocal part and Flora following closely. A trumpet and coronet serenade add to the song’s beauty; a lovely, echoed piano part comes in for a beautiful coda. A real treat.

Where to Get It: Winterpills’ web store and iTunes

butch youngButch Young | Mercury Man Butch Young’s miraculous, hall-of-fame-worthy album is a modern classic by way of its dazzling array of 1970s-styled instant classic songs, 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, like the title track, “Persephone,” “One Foot In,” and “The Fools of May.” Awesome.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, CD Baby, and iTunes

the dowling poole one hyde parkThe Dowling Poole | One Hyde Park One Hyde Park, the sterling follow-up to the Dowling Poole’s Bleak Strategies, is a virtual tour de force and, if that weren’t enough, it’s an album influenced by sounds from across the pop landscape that doesn’t actually sound like its influences. Witness “Vox Pops,” which incorporates a very Partridge Family-sounding keyboard line and a very Brian May-sounding guitar solo; “Hope and Glory,” an upbeat pop song; and “Bring Back the Glow,” a smooth, rolling ’70s number. Joy from across the pond.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp, Amazon, and iTunes

chris murphy and michael carpenter real love sleeveChris Murphy with Michael Carpenter | “Real Love” This absolutely gorgeous ballad recasting of John Lennon’s song is one of this year’s major triumphs in melodic pop music. For this rendition, the tempo has been slowed, allowing Murphy to lovingly communicate the depth of the emotional lyric. Murphy’s vocal may well be the best vocal performance of the year. His ability to hold a melody line’s final note in such an artful way, to sustain its resonance and maximize its impact on the listener, is something to behold. Recorded with precision and heart by Carpenter on the occasion of singer Kylie Whitney’s wedding (Whitney also sang background vocals), this new version of this wonderful song is proof positive that covers can reveal new layers of emotion not previously brought to the surface.

Where to Get It: iTunes and CD Baby

emitt rhodes rainbows endEmitt Rhodes | Rainbow Ends Forty-three years after his third album, Farewell to Paradise, was released, this new collection surfaces to critical and listener acclaim, and rightly so. Here are songs that feature all of the Rhodes hallmarks: beautiful, catchy melodies; inventive chord changes; and those velvety, smooth, sturdy and emotive vocals. Perhaps this is no more evident than on the emotional ballad “I Can’t Tell My Heart.” Somewhat reminiscent of Mirror‘s “Love Will Stone You,” this is a showcase for Emitt’s committed, vocal delivery; the gorgeous melody and emotional lyrics combine to sketch the breakup of a relationship and a considered plea for the other party to embrace the option to heal. A wonderful surprise and an instant classic. Welcome back to a truly special artist.

Where to Get It: Amazon and iTunes

daisy house western manDaisy House | Western Man Doug Hammond and his daughter Tatiana’s album for the ages features golden harmonies and great songs that will melt your heart all the way through. The heavenly duo channels the Byrds in the uptempo “She Comes Runnin’ Back” and “Twenty-One,” offers up a catchy, playful vibe with the singalong number “Willow,” and delivers a strong, emotive ballad with the orchestrated tune, “Western Man.” Best news of all: a new album is soon to be released. Happy new year, indeed.
Where to Get It: Bandcamp

brain circus use this jpeg instead of the other oneBrain Circus | Brain Circus This smashing collection of impossible-to-resist songs performed in grand style by ace songwriter and keyboard wizard Brian Curtis, late of the much-loved band the Oohs, serves up 13 numbers in all, performed entirely by this transplanted Virginian. The majestic, heartfelt love song “Finally Found the One,” a musical sculpture formed with smiles and tears and a whole lot of heart, is but one highlight. You’ll detect essence of the Beach Boys, Jellyfish and Queen, among other classic touchstones, but this is all Curtis and don’t you forget it.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the flat fiveThe Flat Five | It’s a World of Love and Hope This Chicago-based band of harmony-hounds deserves supergroup status, thanks to the members’ affiliation with artists such as Neko Case, NRBQ and the New Pornographers. Welcome a deliciously wondrous assortment of luscious pop dressed in a variety of comfortable musical clothing that runs the gamut from the Manhattan Transfer-meets-hep cat vibe of the delightful “Buglight” to the Paul McCartney retro-sway of “I Could Fall in Love with You” and the pretty back porch balladry of the Roches-like “Bottom Buck.” Pretty special all the way through.

Where to Get It: Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp

bent van looy pyjama daysBent Van Looy | Pyjama Days Based in Paris, France and a member of the band Das Pop, Bent Van Looy’s 2016 release is a lovely, pure poppy collection of sweet-sounding catchy melodies sung with assured style, like the upbeat pop number “My Escape,” beautifully arranged with little Beach Boys vocal flourishes weaved in; “Mr. Fletcher’s Song,” a melodic mid-tempo ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Randy Newman album, and the sumptuous title track, a three-minute genius construct, nicely orchestrated and adorned with a smile-inducing whistle. Pop on.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the junipers red bouquet fairThe Junipers | Red Bouquet Fair This charming collection from the Leicester, United Kingdom band recalls the sweet sunshine pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s in such lovely songs as “Summer Queen” and “Like a Merry-Go-Round.” Red Bouquet Fair is no less than the audio equivalent of smiling at your good fortune on a warm day in the park while sipping cool lemonade (the effect is equally transcendent wherever else you may be). The vocals are enchanting and the instrumentation is perfectly played. Lovely.

Where to Get It: Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp

tommy and the rocketsTommy and the Rockets | Beer and Fun and Rock ‘n’ Roll This ace project, featuring 10 pop-rockers, co-written, except for one, by super criminal defense attorney Michael Chaney and Thomas “Tommy” Stubgaard, who plays all of the guitars, bass, and provides handclaps, shake the house, as it were. Check out the catchy, Beach Boys-influenced sunshine anthem “Here Comes Summer,” and a couple of  energetic Ramones nods, “Silly Teenage Love” and “You Want Me (But I Don’t Want You)”). Cheery, toe-tapping fun.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, and CD Baby

explorers clubThe Explorers Club | Together This collection of songs imbued with the spirit of the best of the Beach Boys, the Four Freshman, the Association and other time-honored practitioners of the art is one of the sweetest offerings of the year. Here are songs that are beautiful and beautifully sung, lovely and lovelier still, from Jason Brewer, Wyatt Funderburk, Paul Runyon,  Kyle Polk and Mike Williamson. From the southern California harmony- and sun-soaked sound of “California’s Callin’ Ya” to the Four Freshmen-meets-“Graduation Day”-by-way-of-Les Paul ballad “Perfect Day,” Together invites listeners to bathe in the beauty of harmony-filled dreams.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, and iTunes

The Road Ahead

Harmony-filled dreams… Ah, as ever, they feel so right. With 2016 now in our collective rearview mirror, it is time to look ahead into what is just around the corner. Your favorite artists, and those new to the melodic pop scene, are itching to get going…to release their latest creations, crafted with a mix of melody, harmony, and keen performance.

Already, I have heard a few upcoming albums that I predict will knock your socks off. Nick Bertling, who records under the name Bertling Noise Laboratories, has been making a name for himself with a few rather extraordinary platters; the Lab’s latest, releasing later this month, is a covers collection called, in a nod to the great Harry Nilsson, A Little Touch of Bertling in the Night. This is a sweet mélange of favorite songs from yesterday, filtered through today’s singular sensibilities. It is uniquely Bertling, and you’re going to love it.

Dana Countryman, of whom much has been said throughout these pages, all of it sweeping-me-off-my-feet good, is about to release in 10 days, through Australia’s Teensville Records, his passion project, a tribute to the 1960s girl group and Brill Building sounds that continue to bring joy to ears around the world. Dana Countryman’s Girlville!: New Songs in the Style of Yesterday’s Hits will transport you back to a much simpler time, perhaps, when melody and joy were king. Lisa Mychols, Swan Dive’s Molly Felder, and Lisa Jenio are just three of the vocalists that help to bring Dana’s vision to life on an album that you will hug tightly. Look for Dana to appear on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation soon to talk about this landmark release.

Bill DeMain, whose solo music and treasured albums with Molly Felder as Swan Dive will always have a place here on Pure Pop Radio, has a new record that will soon be released. After hearing and playing on the air a bonus track from Beans, a lovely arrangement of the Beach Boys’ “Wendy,” we hope the release date comes very soon.

The Word is Love

“Spread the word,” the Beatles sang back in 1965. They were talking about love, not melodic pop music written and recorded in the 2010s, but they might as well have been looking forward, as should we all.

In 2017, we look forward to bringing you more of the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. We’re on the job 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. A click of any of the Listen links that follow will connect you with our stream. Spread the word about Pure Pop Radio, if you will and, if you haven’t already, please click the Follow button on the homepage of this very website to ensure that you will be notified by email every time we make a post.

Thanks for reading our list of our Favorite Records of the Year: The Stars of 2016. Add them all to your collection; your ears will thank you, as will I.

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1

More New Music is Flowing on Pure Pop Radio

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s list of new songs and artists added to our playlist, we’ve slotted in more classic sounds now being heard in rotation. Care to peruse? Go, cat…go!

vegas with randolph three red hooksVegas With Randolph | “Three Red Hooks” This Washington, DC-area pop powerhouse’s latest song, a lively ode to rocking steady and having a great night, namechecks a trio of rock ‘n’ roll Eddies–Van Halen, Vedder and Money–and is a mighty tasty treat. “Three Red Hooks” is a delightful, hooky bubblegum charmer with crunchy, screaming electric guitar lines that’s happily reminiscent of the Sweet’s “Little Willy” and the catchy sound of the Rubinoos. Kicking off with a percussion stomp that owes a debt to the Supremes’ “Where Did Our Love Go,’ “Three Red Hooks” hits the sweet spot that tingles and glows inside every fan of melodic pop. It kick starts that oh-so-wonderful feeling–the unmistakable slambang explosion of sheer joy that only the right combination of musical notes can achieve. Now playing in rotation, this may well be Vegas With Randolph’s most delightful waxing yet.

bertling noise laboratories 5Bertling Noise Laboratories | “Talking In Your Sleep” Nick Bertling is like the quintessential, shaggy-haired musical mad scientist ensconced in his secret lair stocked full of instruments that shake, rattle and roll. Just look at him, stage left. Our guess is Nick doesn’t get much sleep, because here he is with a rocking cover of the Romantics’ hit “Talking In Your Sleep.” Hopefully he can get some shuteye while this cool cover plays in rotation!

trip wireTrip Wire | “Long Days Gone” and “Winter Song” Just out from this San Francisco band is a terrific new double A-side single pairing “Long Days Gone,” a catchy, uptempo power pop number, with a pretty midtempo, string-laden ballad. These songs leave us wanting more, so you know…get to it, boys.

 

the tonellisThe Tonellis | “I Know You” We were delighted to receive an email from the Tonellis’ Robert Stoppenbach, who subsequently responded to our query about any new material the band might have by sending this lovely midtempo ballad, co-written by Robert and Scott Palmiter. Sounding like the second cousin to any number of songs recorded by the group Venice, “I Know You” sports an easygoing vibe, punctuated by fiddle and mandolin parts that shine. Now playing in rotation.

That’s all for today. More new songs and artists next week. Join the fun by clicking on one of the listen links below to hear nearly 8,300 songs now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. Enjoy!

purepoplogoAlan 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.

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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

These are the Words that You Want to Hear: We’ve Got New Music for You!

“These are the words you wish you could hear,” Jules Shear sings in his current release, the quite catchy pop song called “The Words,” and these are the words we are happy to pass on to you; we love you, and it’s because of that love that we bring to you news of new music that’s been added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist.

purepoplogoWe’ve got only a smattering today as so many big projects destined for your ears are in the works and just about ready to pop out of the oven, but there is more, much more to come, all of it crafted with precision and with an eye on precise symmetry, and that’s all just around the corner, and of that we are confident and sure.

Today, we present to you the following, all now playing in rotation on the air, one after the other (but not in any kind of formal formation):

wordsJules Shear | “The Words” After having written a string of classic songs over so many decades, a string which ties together “All Through the Night,” “If She Knew What She Wants,” “If We Never Meet Again,” “The Trap Door” and so many others of such tall stature, this peerless songwriter and performer has begun releasing new material, some of which he says he will give away and some which he says he will sell. “The Words” is a giveaway, thank you very much, and rather a nice, warm gesture, essentially a three-chord construct with a knockout chorus that essentially functions as a master class in songwriting, so skillful it is with such a grand, satisfying payoff. A lyrical pedal steel part is icing on a very tasty cake, which we’re serving in rotation.

dana pop 3Dana Countryman | Pop 3! Welcome to My Time Warp! Words are kind of our business, but at some times, when the music takes us away to the ubiquitous somewhere else, we can’t see the forest for the trees or choose one thing, whatever it is, over another. In the case of Mr. Countryman’s latest release, the third in his spun-from-gold pop music trilogy, words do not fail us, even though it’s the music that takes us and, of course, you away in the end and after all is sung and done.

This outstanding collection of melodically-charged songs, set squarely in the world governed by all that is retro, actually opens up a portal that you fall into as sounds celebrating the joys of tightly-constructed audio treats take you away. Honestly, it’s like the sounds of the late 1960s and early 1970s are back, baby, and there you are singing along or humming, even if you don’t know the words. Echoes of the Four Seasons and the Spiral Starecase and Gilbert O’Sullivan and the Hollies and Eric Carmen and, yes, the Beatles, of whom much has been said and a lot more could and will be, run through the fabric of these songs that will be with you in the morning when you are buttering your toast and in the evening, just before bedtime, as your head hits the pillow and you drift off.

“Every Kiss Reminds Me of You,” “Run Back Into My Arms,” “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind,” “Nice Shot (Straight to the Heart),” “Don’t You Know You’ll Break My Heart,” “All You Need to Say,” “Twenty-Four Hours with You,” “There Goes My Heart Again,” “Shari Girl / You’ll Always Be a Baby to Me,” “That’s When I Knew,” and “Don’t Wanna Lose You,” pretty much all the bones of this album, are now playing in rotation (we’re saving “Christmas All Over the World” for the upcoming holiday season, and the gorgeous love song “What If?” has been spinning for a while). Do we need to say that Pop 3! is one of the best albums of the year? Well, you know, or you will know, that this statement is true.

bertling noise laboratoriesBertling Noise Laboratories | Matilda and 12 Others and “Ram On” You’ve probably heard yourself say, or you’ve at least thought to yourself, the words “Where has he (or she) been all my life?,” and therein lies the thing of it all. This is how we felt, really and truly, when we were turned onto Nick Bertling’s outstanding and astounding album through which all roads lead to you thinking “Now, that really hits the spot” as you spin it again and again, as we have done and will continue to do. “Good Morning” exists as if it were an outtake from McCartney (where else could that traveling, syncopating bass come from?); “Baby Talk” plays like a long lost Motown track from deep in the vaults with all of the excitement and oomph that such a thing entails; “It’s Not Funny” is nothing less than a crooner’s standard (surely some Broadway production will dial this one up); “Time for Us” is straight-ahead pop; and the title song, “Matilda,” is kinda sorta jazzy, like a Steely Dan-meets-not-Steely-Dan mashup, except it’s not really that, but it sure is something else. We’re playing all of these songs, plus “Bits and Pieces,” “I’ll Bet She Thinks,” and “Once in a While.” With this album in your hands, and you know you’ll want it, once in a while will not be enough. Oh, and of “Ram On”…it’s a lovely cover of the aforementioned McCartney fellow’s song from Ram, and it’s fabulously huggable. We’re playing that too, naturally.

tommy lorenteTommy Lorente | “B.B. (Tu Me Plais Tant)” and “Un Certain Savoir Faire” Not being anywhere near fluent in French, although we can count to six and nod like we know what somebody is talking about, we let the words of these songs float around us as the accomplished pop-rocker Tommy Lorente lets loose the three-different-beats-heavy vibe of “B.B. (Tu Me Plais Tant)” (“I Like You So Much”) which, based on the English translation of the lyrics Tommy sent our way, is a love song of sorts with a whole lot of energy that gets one moving from side to side. “Un Certain Savoir Faire,” or “A Certain Savoir Faire,” which is about self-confident people and rocks in a slow, steady kind of way, with stabbing guitars and strong, certain drum hits, is the flip side, or the other A-side, of this top-notch single from one of our favorite performers in this day and age. Both songs are playing in rotation, rocking and popping up the joint, as it were.

lost hits of the 80sVarious Artists | Lost Hits of the 80’s Dan Pavelich, music critic at the Kenosha (Wisconsin) News and creator of the sweet comic strip Just Say Uncle, has quietly been producing great music for so many years, kind of slipping in under the radar with albums such as this one, a loving trip in the Wayback Machine of the mind to the 1980s, as performed by a bunch of fictitious bands that exist only in Dan’s mind–bands like Atari Hand Cramp, Pest Control, and Asmatics UK (named that way to avoid confusion with Asmatics Canada, no doubt). Working with some top-flight collaborators–Pop 4’s Andrea Perry, Lisa Mychols and the Well Wishers’ Jeff Shelton among them–Dan turns in a fabulously fun trip. The songs range from Redd Roxx’s poppy “No Regret,” sung by the Waking Hours’ Tom Richards, to the steady, rocking “Camera Shy” by The Vaporizers, and The Images’ slowed down, impassioned take on the Romantics’ “Talking in Your Sleep.” Dan says he had a ball producing this record, from which we’ve slotted the aforementioned songs, and a couple of others–Asmatics UK’s “Temptress of London,” Metro Cafe’s “Am I Only Dreaming of You,” and The Images’ “Don’t Want Pretending”–into our playlist. We’ll have a Q&A feature soon, in which Dan will spill all of the inner secrets of this album, but for now, listen for a stone cold trip back to the decade that still, and always will, pop and rock. Loads of fun.

That’s it for today. Believe us, we’ve barely scratched the surface. We’ve added to the playlist hundreds of new and new-to-you songs from current and heritage artists over the past few weeks. We’ll continue to report on these adds and others we have waiting in the wings, during the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned. You will undoubtedly dig our continually diggable scene.

Alan Hpurepoplogoaber’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.

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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

Pop Tunes, Show Three: The Playlist, Filled With Melodic Pop Goodness!

pop tunesAlan Haber: Proud Music Geek!Last night’s third edition of Pop Tunes, our new, weekly deejay show hosted by Alan Haber, contained more melodic pop goodness than you might imagine would be possible. But there it was, a host of catchy melodies that make up the soundtrack of your life!

Here’s what was played:

Set One: A Cappella and Just-About-A Cappella
The Housemartins | “Caravan of Love” from That’s What I Call Quite Good
Prelude | “After the Gold Rush” from After the Gold Rush
Jamie and Steve | “Blame It On Cain” from Beyond Belief: A Tribute to Elvis Costello
The Mighty Echoes | “I Think We’re Alone Now” from Love from Echo Park
Todd Rundgren | “Something to Fall Back On” from A Cappella

Set Two: Curtsy, Bow and Bow Ties
Muller and Patton | “Mary Lou” from Muller and Patton
Klaatu | “Cherie” from Sir Army Suit
The Beatles | “Piggies” from The Beatles

Set Three: New at Pure Pop Radio
Bertling Noise Laboratories | “Good Morning” from Matilda and 12 Others
The Bye Bye Blackbirds | “Let Your Hair Fall Down” (Single Track)
Jules Shear | “The Words” (Single Track)
Laurie Biagini | “Try Our Luck Today” (Single Track)
Dana Countryman | “Shari Girl, You’ll Always Be a Baby to Me” from Pop 3! Welcome to My Time Warp!

Set Four: Beatle Blast
Bonzo Dog Band | “I’m the Urban Spaceman” from Tadpoles

Set Five: More New Music at Pure Pop Radio
The New Trocaderos | “I’m So Bad” from Thrills and Chills
Tommy Lorente | “Un Certain Savoir Faire” (Single Track)
Herb Eimerman | “Believe that I Do” from Five Dimensional Man
One Like Son | “Summer Days” from Classic

Set Six: One and Done
The Sonic Executive Sessions | “On and On” from Drink a Toast to Innocence

That’s the rundown on last night’s third edition of Pop Tunes. If you missed the show, you can listen again this Thursday at noon ET (9 am PT) and on Sunday at 3 pm ET (noon PT). Thanks for tuning in!

Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes is a cool deejay show playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. The show airs every Monday night at 9 pm ET (6 pm PT) on Pure Pop Radio, and repeats on Thursday afternoons at noon ET (9 am PT) and Sundays at 3 pm ET (noon PT). Please like us on Facebook by clicking here.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android or 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