New on Pure Pop Radio 7.21.16

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alan 5 small Spins and Reviews | 7.21.16 | by Alan Haber

Cheerful ear worms for a Thursday…

brain circus use this jpeg instead of the other oneBrain Circus | Brain Circus 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. Thirteen numbers in all, Brain Circus, performed entirely by Curtis, provides ample proof, as if any was needed, that this transplanted Virginian’s ability to craft striking, kenspeckle melodies working in concert with clever chord structures and vocal invention puts him at the top of his game. The gorgeous harmony vocals at the heart of the jangly “If You Only Knew” and the creatively-arranged mid-tempo ballad “Smile is a Thin Disguise” are but two examples of how good this album is, but the majestic, heartfelt love song “Finally Found the One” is the pearl here, a musical sculpture formed with smiles and tears and a whole lot of heart. You’ll detect essence of Beach Boys, Jellyfish and Queen, among other classic touchstones, but this is all Curtis and don’t you forget it.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Forget All About It,” “I Don’t Want to Know,” “If You Only Knew,” “Keep My Hands to Yourself,” “Letter Bomb,” “No Secret,” “Smile is a Thing Disguise,” “The Man Who Saw Tomorrow,” and “Try to Ignore Me.”

fernando perdomo with legendFernando Perdomo | Voyeurs Los Angeles-based producer to the stars Perdomo stitches together a mix of songs sung and instrumentals played for a singularly immersive listening experience. Seventies-styled, catchy nugget “Stay With the Friends” invites clapping to the beat; the beautiful ballad “The One You Run To” wraps its loving arms around you. Instros “Sunday Afternoon” and “Waltz for Doug” are gorgeous and impeccably performed highlights. Much to admire and hug.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Feels,” “Holding Back I Love Yous,” “Stay With the Friends,” “Home,” “Cruiser,” “Sunday Afternoon,” and “Waltz for Doug,” “The One You Run To.”

chris bolger no promisesChris Bolger | No Promises Recorded in New Jersey and seasoned with top flight performances from an array of special guest stars such as the Smithereens’ super drummer Dennis Diken, Graham Maby (Joe Jackson) and James Mastro (The Bongos), No Promises is a pop fan’s delight–13 catchy, melodic works like the upbeat “Easier,” kicking off with just a hint of the Kinks’ “Picture Book,” and the pop-rock workout “Geraldine.” The saxified rocker “Barbara Feldon,” a tribute to the actress who played Agent 99 on the classic television show Get Smart, is a joyous foot-stomping treat. Produced by Bolger, engineer/mixer Kostadin Kamcev and Diken. Terrific.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: The entire album: “Atlantic City Expressway,” “Barbara Feldon,” “Easier,” “Everything,” “Geraldine,” “Learning to Paint,” “Maybe,” “No Promises,” “She might Look My Way,” “Ships,” “Souls Turn Blue,” “Tear that Cabin Down,” and “What’s it Got to Do With Me.”

alice bierhorst 5Alice Bierhorst | Now Entering Liberty Heights, The Vigil, All Shall Be Revealed, Oxygen New York City native and Pure Pop Radio favorite Bierhorst’s catalog is rich with releases highlighting her vibrant songs that paint lovely soundscapes. Now added to the playlist are songs from four more of the immensely-talented singer-songwriter’s 15 albums (her latest release, The Beacon, has been part of our playlist since this past March).
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: From 2000’s Now Entering Liberty Heights: the soulful, bluesy “Legendary Pillow” and the pretty ballad “Lovable.” From 2007’s The Vigil: “I Will Always Love You (When I’m Alone),” the driving “Thank You,” “Come Little Baby,” “Do You Dream” and the title track. From All Shall Be Revealed: the sumptuous, catchy “Airborne,” “Better Angels,” the lovely “Bright at the End of the Day,” “Farther to Go,” “Golden Hours,” the title track and “I Have Always Been Free.” And from Oxygen, “Not the One” and the title track.

look parkLook Park | “Aeroplane” Chris Collingwood’s new group project, which takes its name from the Frank Newhall Look Memorial Park, an actual municipal park in Northampton, Massachusetts, kicked off with this pre-album-release song, a breezy, Fountains of Wayne type of breezy construct. As catchy as any of Collingwood’s Fountains of Wayne songs, it bodes well for the full release, available tomorrow, July 22.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

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Curry Cuts Path to the ’80s for Retro-riffic British Invasion Compilation

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(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

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

Day Seven is Pure Heaven: Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion Rolls On!

day-7We 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-againHere 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.

old-man-reverbThe 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-thomasJeff 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 flyntRon 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-aboveThe 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!

airwavesThe 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-rimlerJesse 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.

50-years-agoVarious 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-snowdenDeclan 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!

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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

Here Comes the Reign Again! Pure Pop Radio and Your Favorite Artists Celebrate the Second British Invasion in Grand Style. Happy Days are Here Again!

Andrew Curry's Here Comes the Reign Again: The Second British Invasion. Nice!

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.”

Support Reign!

Support Reign!

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 Reign Kickstarter 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!

Andrew Curry!

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!

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mike-viola

Mike Viola

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 (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.

Jim Boggia

Jim Boggia

 

The Corner Laughers!

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!

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Here’s our exclusive conversation with Here Comes the Reign Again Producer Andrew Curry:

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