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Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel, better known these days as the melodic pop duo Jamie and Steve, sat behind the Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation virtual microphones on August 16 to take me and listeners through the ins and outs of their latest hit EP, Sub Textural.
Jamie and Steve talked about three of the smashing songs on Sub Textural: the poptastic “Sword of Love,” the autobiographical “410,” and the basically a cappella “Cry,” a top-flight tour de force that closes out the proceedings. It’s the kind of in-depth back-and-forth that you can only hear on the Internet’s premiere melodic pop talk show.
Listen to my interview with Jamie and Steve from August 16 by clicking the play button on the following player, or click on the Pure Pop Radio button to the left to download (then right click and choose “Save audio as” to save the file to your computer).
Listen to the songs played during this interview by clicking on the following Spotify links:
Look out for more current and archived Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation interviews.
Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, playing the latest and greatest melodic pop songs from today and across the decades, and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere Internet melodic pop talk show, air weekly on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.
Listen to the Pop Tunes Deejay Show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET (two different shows every week); In Conversation airs every Wednesday night at 9 pm ET. Don’t miss a minute!
Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:
Another power-packed run of Pure Pop’s signature shows on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio is set to fly out of your Internet receptacle speaker beginning tomorrow night.
First up is the latest all-new edition of Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, kicking off at 8 pm ET tomorrow night. You will most certainly dig the latest from Death Cab for Cutie’s Benjamin Gibbard, a cover of Teenage Fanclub’s sprightly popper, “What You Do to Me”; Circe Link and Christian Nesmith’s “I’m On Your Side,” from the new compilation This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Vol. 4; The Surfin’ Burritos’ Buddy Holly-meets-the-Ramones “All Over You”; Bill DeMain’s “Honey Bear”; and much more. Plus the usual smattering of deejay patter from me!
Wednesday night, August 16 at 9 pm ET, an all-new Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation takes over the airwaves. This week, Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel, better known as Jamie and Steve, sit virtually across from me to talk about their new release, Sub Textural. It’s another wide-ranging chat–the type you will only hear on the Internet’s premiere melodic pop talk show.
Finally, on Thursday night, August 17 at 8 pm ET, another edition of the Pop Tunes Deejay Show rolls with a potpourri-style mix of melodic pop tunes from across the decades. The playlist is a secret right now, but stay tuned for some tasty clues to what will be spinning for your ears only.
Set your alarm clocks and calendar pages for tomorrow night at 8 pm ET for the Pop Tunes Deejay Show; Wednesday night at 9 pm ET for Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation; and Thursday night at 8 pm ET for this week’s second, potpourri-style mix of great tunes on another edition of Pop Tunes. A great time will be had by all.
Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, playing the latest and greatest melodic pop songs from today and across the decades, and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, the premiere Internet melodic pop talk show, air weekly on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.
Listen to the Pop Tunes Deejay Show on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET (two different shows every week); In Conversation airs every Wednesday night at 9 pm ET. Don’t miss a minute!
Tune in to Pop that Goes Crunch Radio by clicking on the following snazzy-looking button:
Bob Lind spoke to Alan Haber on August 23 about his brand-new album, Magellan Was Wrong, just out on Big Beat/Ace. On the docket: the stories behind three of Bob’s new songs–“Blind Love,” “Magellan Was Wrong,” and “From the Road”–and a celebration of the iconic song “Elusive Butterfly,” 50 years young this year.
Jamie Hoover spoke to Alan, also on August 23, about producing many of the songs on Bob’s album, Magellan Was Wrong. He also spoke about what it’s like to produce Bob, how he goes about arranging Bob’s tunes, and how Bob’s music has affected his own work. It’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes discussion. Plus, he talked about “Elusive Butterfly,” a song that has meant so much to him.
Classic melodic popster Mark Bacino appeared on In Conversation on July 26 to talk about his typically-catchy new song, “Not that Guy.” In addition, we set the WABAC (pronounced Wayback) Machine for 1998, when Mark’s first album, Pop Job…the Long Player!, was released on Parasol Records. Mark talks about the album’s song “Kay.”
Gather ’round your Internet radio receptacles this week for some top-flight specialty shows starring classic singer-songwriters Bob Lind and Jamie Hoover, the Beatles, and some of the greatest classic rock and pop artists of all time. It’s another cool week of fun specialty shows on Pure Pop Radio. (And don’t forget: The debut of Jammin’ James Riley’s Catching a Wave makes a big splash next Monday night, August 28, at 8 pm ET!)
Tomorrow night, Tuesday, August 23, classic singer-songwriter Bob Lind talks with Alan Haber about his new album, Magellan Was Wrong, on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation at 8 pm ET. Bob goes in-depth on three of the album’s songs, talking about what he was trying to get across, his writing process, and his views on a number of informative topics. He also talks at length about his iconic song “Elusive Butterfly,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. You’ll hear “Elusive Butterly,” as well as “Blind Love,” “From the Road,” and the title song from Magellan Was Wrong.
A few minutes after Bob’s interview concludes, frequent In Conversation guest Jamie Hoover speaks about his role as producer of many of the songs on Magellan Was Wrong. He talks about what it’s like to produce Bob Lind, how he goes about arranging Bob’s tunes, and how Bob’s music has affected his own work. As a bonus, you’ll hear Jamie’s version of “Elusive Butterly,” which appeared on his great Lind Me Four EP in 2008.
On Wednesday night at 8 pm ET, Brian Bringelson works the turntables for show number 40 of his Needle Meets Vinyl series, spinning a Beatles three-fer and songs from the Shins, the B-52s, Stephen Stills, Harry Nilsson, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, America, and David Crosby & Graham Nash, among other great artists. Don’t miss this episode, quite possibly Brian’s best set yet.
Winding up this week’s run of specialty shows on Pure Pop Radio is the latest episode of the weekly Beatles roundtable, Things We Said Today. This time around, Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman and Allan Kozinn preview the Beatles’ Live at the Hollywood Bowl CD, releasing on September 9. In addition, Al reports on the just-concluded Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans, where Klaus Voorman, Peter Asher, Billy J. Kramer, Joey Molland, Mark Hudson and author Bruce Spizer were among the guests. Also, recent interviews with Paul McCartney, appearing in Rolling Stone and The New York Times, are discussed.
It’s another week of can’t-miss listening on Pure Pop Radio. Gather round your Internet radio receptacles for the best specialty programming around. And get ready for the debut of Jammin’ James Riley’s Catching a Wave next Monday night, August 29, at 9 pm ET!
Bob Lind, one of music’s most iconic writers and performers, guests on next week’s brand-new, double-play edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation along with Jamie Hoover, who produced many of the songs on Lind’s latest album, Magellan Was Wrong. Alan Haber speaks to both musicians next Tuesday night, August 23, right here on Pure Pop Radio.
Lind and Hoover appear in lively, information-packed, separate interviews. Lind, whose interview airs first at 8 pm ET, goes in-depth on three of the songs on Magellan Was Wrong, talking about what he was trying to get across, his writing process, and his views on a number of informative topics.
Lind also talks at length about his iconic song “Elusive Butterfly,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. You’ll hear “Elusive Butterly,” as well as “Blind Love,” “From the Road,” and the title song from Magellan Was Wrong.
Frequent guest Jamie Hoover’s interview airs at approximately 9:06 pm ET in the second half of this historic double-play edition of In Conversation. Jamie speaks in his role as producer of many of the songs on Magellan Was Wrong. He talks about what it’s like to produce Bob Lind, how he goes about arranging Bob’s tunes, and how Bob’s music has affected his own work. As a bonus, you’ll hear Jamie’s version of “Elusive Butterly,” which appeared on his great Lind Me Four EP in 2008.
Alan’s interviews with Bob Lind and Jamie Hoover kick off a long string of new talks with pop music’s greatest artists, all of which will be airing in the weeks to come on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation. Don’t miss a single moment!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Our most favorite thing in the world is to take receipt of music from both new and heritage melodic pop artists, spin it, and add it to our ever-growing playlist. Every day is akin to unwrapping presents; the treasures contained within these virtual packages are sweet gifts that we’re thrilled to be able to pass on to you.
Here are five of the latest groovy additions to our playlist, now playing in rotation (more new adds posts coming next week):
Vanilla | “On a Night Like This” Jayson Jarmon’s ace outfit is once again releasing one song a month on the way toward completing their next album, this time around mystically titled Mystik Nights of Takoma, a moniker that conjures up images of a bunch of lodge brothers and their bartenders, all decked out in bright red smocks and fezzes, gathered around a glowing, weathered oak table late into the night, imbibing and chewing the fat and bottomless tubs of Turkish Taffy until last call or the inevitable call home that starts with “Um, can I get a ride?”
But first things first. The bouncy “On a Night Like This,” a typically catchy Vanilla number about a guy whose words can’t be trusted when the bubbly is flowing his way, is sung with smooth pop finesse by Tube Top’s Gavin Guss, who is ably supported by Jayson, who wrote the song and slings a sweet acoustic guitar and nifty solos over his shoulder; Sean Gaffney, who plays electric guitars, bass, and sings backing vocals; Dana Sims, who mans the drums; and Eric Robert, who makes the Hammond B3 sing. What a melody! What a song!
Our love for Jayson’s writing and Vanilla-esque execution knows no bounds, so we’re confident that, even if Mystik Knights of Takomadoesn’t contain a sequel to the much-loved “Monkeypox!,” which has been adopted as the Pure Pop Radio clubhouse’s call-to-arms Kumbaya song, it will rank high in esteem whichever way the wind blows.
Stay tuned for a special Vanilla contest coming next week to this space. In the meantime, don’t listen to this superb number without your fez on, oh no!
Stepford Knives | “I Don’t Want Her (Anymore)” Jamie Hoover’s latest project, with Otis Hughes, is the wonderfully-named Stepford Knives, which may or may not call to mind an image of sharp tools exhibiting zero emotion that still manage to live on the cutting edge. These Stepford Knives, however, are full of emotion and pop goodness, delivering a powerful take on a great song from the late David Enloe, guitarist for the Woods.
This insanely catchy, hook-filled song explodes with fireworks-powered percussion, lots of gutsy guitars, a strong melody, and in-your-face vocals. Mastered to impress (and boy does it!) by Dave Harris, the song’s quite-alive psychedelic light show-powered video, created by Phillip D’Angelo, is an essential component of the complete Stepford Knives package (see it here).
Bravo, Messrs. Hoover and Hughes, and don’t let too many days flutter away before your next wonderful creation hits our ears!
Erik Voeks | “Being in Love With You” and “She Was Doomed” Just released and already reaching top-flight status here at Pure Pop Radio, this classic-sounding one-two pop punch continues Erik’s run of great new songs. “Being in Love With You,” about a relationship at odds with itself, starts out as a tender ballad and quickly becomes a power pop number with teeth, and a great, hooky melody.
“She Was Doomed” is an uptempo raver powered by another great melody; guitars, guitars, guitars; delicious vocal harmonies, and a pounding drum turn. Co-producer Patrick Hawley played the drums and percussion, and Cameron Hawk sang background vocals on “Being in Love With You.” Credit Erik with everything else. Another terrific release from one of Pure Pop Radio’s favorite artists.
Kenny Herbert | “3 Days of Summer (Woodstock ’69)” Hot on the heels of the release of his wonderful new album, the romantic song cycle Forever and Beyond, Kenny Herbert returns with a rocking, sentimental look at the magic of Woodstock. Cleverly inserting Crosby, Stills and Nash harmony bits that also echo Stephen Stills’ “Love the One You’re With” amidst the lyrical look back at a very different and well-remembered time, Kenny sings about the historic festival and the devoted music fans who endured three days of mud and rain and peace and harmony and came together as one.
“They danced to all their heroes, making rock ‘n’ roll history,” Kenny sings with heartfelt emotion. Guitarist Rab Howat, bassist Roy Martin, and drummer Martin Wykes bash out this terrific tune; Rab and Nobby Clark sing the backgrounds. David Valentine, from the band RAF, produced to great effect. A wonderful song from one of our favorite music men.
The Monkees | Good Times! We just reviewed this fantastic release by Micky, Mike, Davy and Peter (read Alan’s take here). We’re now playing all of the tracks on this glorious album in rotation: “Birth of an Accidental Hipster,” “Good Times,” “Gotta Give it Time,” “I Know What I Know,” “I Was There (And I’m Told I Had a Good Time),” “Wasn’t Born to Follow,” “Little Girl,” “Love to Love,” “Me and Magdalena,” “Our Own World,” “She Makes Me Laugh,” “Whatever’s Right,” “You Bring the Summer,” and two bonus songs available as part of the iTunes version of this album: “Terrifying” and “Me and Magdalena (Version 2).” Absolutely wonderful.
Alan 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 Monkees, the Posies, McPherson Grant, 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.
We’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.
Various 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
Hidden 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.
The 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 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 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.
The 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.
Cartographer | 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 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.”
The 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 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 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.
Various 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.
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!
I have long believed that of the many instruments that help to bring a great song to life, the human voice is capable of the most expression (sleigh bells come in at number two, in case you were wondering). Moreover, the magic that results from a group of people who come together to make a glorious sound that resonates with an audience is incontrovertible proof that music is the fuel that makes the cool kids sing.
The cool kids sang rather sweetly in 2014, a great year for melodic pop music. Whether driving the beat of a song or singing in five-part harmony, artists were inspired to create lasting art in the form of two-, three- and four-minute songs that added value to people’s lives. There is a reason–probably more than one–that great songs stand the test of time, some sounding as fresh as the day they were born, even decades after they were recorded. And make no mistake–many of the songs that made their way to turntables and CD players this year have that kind of staying power.
Even after 20 years of writing about and broadcasting pop music to the masses, I am still dazzled by much of what I hear. The thrill of discovery is present every time I sit down and prepare to listen. I want every note that fills the room to explode with joy. And, more often than not, I am rewarded with that certain something that drives me to play music on the radio and gather words together to communicate that joy. For me, the magic is still alive and well and lighting my world.
Which brings me to 21 magical records that helped make 2014 a banner year for melodic pop music. I’ve made no attempt to rank them or present them within categories. It is impossible for me to make a distinction between the fourth and fifth best albums of the year, so I haven’t even tried. What follows are simply 21 of my favorite releases of the year: the stars of 2014, if you will–a group of records that will enrich your life in ways that may well surprise you. And they’re presented in no particular order. There were many more records that touched my soul this year; these are the top of the pops. At the very least, they will put a smile on your face, and as the late writer Derek Taylor might have opined, you really can’t say fairer than that. – Alan Haber
And now, in no particular order, please join me in ushering in the Stars of ’14: Pure Pop Radio’s Favorite Records of the Year!
Joe Sullivan | Schlock Star Coming seemingly out of nowhere, Joe Sullivan and his debut album, Schlock Star, knocked me clean off my feet. Joe’s keenly observed pop songs, about girls and boys and boys and girls and other related topics, are perfect examples of the arts of clever songwriting and performance. In my review of this album, published on September 2 on this site, I said that “Sullivan makes tracks that stick and stack up for imminent replay.” I also stated, without reservation, that “This is Sullivanmania, attended by screaming fans who dig the sounds of one of the best records of 2014.” No doubt you’ll be hearing a lot more about Joe in the coming years. Joe, as you may have already figured, is the real deal.
Marti Jones | You’re Not the Bossa Me What I know about bossa nova music could fit on the rightmost quadrant of the head of a pin, but thanks to Marti Jones’ radiant album that adds more than a splash of melodic pop to the turntable, I’m something of an expert. Well, not really, but I know what I like and I like the latest chapter of Jones’ music a lot. When I added all of these songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist on July 9, I said in my playlist report that this is “pop music for discerning listeners….” And indeed it is. I also noted that the songs, “written by [Kelley] Ryan, [Don] Dixon, Bill DeMain, [Paul] Cebar and others, are brought to life with Jones’ magical voice. Jones has never sounded better.” It’s always a celebration when Jones releases a new album. If you think this one is great, well, just wait until the next one spins.
The Legal Matters | The Legal Matters Some albums feel right after only a few notes play. And when the harmonies kick in–when the melodies surround me and take me to some other place–I’m putty in the musicians’ hands. Such was my experience with this debut album by three well-known musicians who came together to form the Legal Matters. In other words, they’re the Rockpile of the melodic pop world. It’s all in the music, I said in my July 23 feature review; the “harmony-drenched law firm of [Andy] Reed, [Chris] Richards and [Keith] Klingensmith” delivers the goods. This is “good, good music for when the snow falls, for when spring turns to summer, during a light rain, and for when fall signals the end of baseball season and the year moves into its closing phase. It’s good for what ails you, a prescription that works wonders no matter the season or circumstance.” It’s really great, and it’s one of my favorite records of 2014.
Ed Woltil | Paper Boats, A Reverie in Thirteen Acts The beautiful songs that populate this wonderful album from the Ditchflowers’ Ed Woltil are a wonder to behold. Melody is king and beauty is on display in each of the melodic gems currently playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. Whether he’s wearing his straight-ahead pop hat on the catchy “Algebra” or crooning softly and emotionally on the beautiful waltz, “Dance With Me One More Time,” Woltil is capturing our hearts. I called this a hall-of-fame-worthy release when I wrote about it in my July 9 station update; four months later, its position remains unchanged. A stellar release from a huge talent.
Dave Caruso | Cardboard Vegas Roundabout When I reviewed this album on September 17, I testified, up front, about it glorious wonders: “This kind of thing, this magical musical mixture exhibiting the tasty influences of Barry Manilow, the Carpenters, the Beach Boys and, hey why not, Paul McCartney, is a thing of beauty, an artful excursion that can and will enrich your life, take you to your happy places and prove to you that good things absolutely do come in all manner of packages–small, medium, large and beyond.” What more do you need to know, except that these songs should absolutely have a place in your life. Caruso’s Beach Boys/Carpenters homage, “Champion,” alone makes this album a worthy purchase. Cardboard Vegas Roundabout is so good and so tasty that many of the other CDs in your collection will aspire to achieve its greatness. Simply fantastic.
Bill Lloyd | Reset2014 Bill Lloyd has been a huge part of the Pure Pop Radio playlist since his career-making Set to Pop was released in 1994. On the occasion of the album’s 20th anniversary, Bill has recreated that mind-blowing collection with wonderfully-updated remakes and early and live takes. Reset2014 is as much a look back as it is a reinvention. “On the list of Best Records Ever Made,” I noted in my October 29 review, “Set to Pop must sit comfortably alongside similarly great waxings drawn from the catalogs of other great artists.” “With Reset2014,” I wrote, “Bill Lloyd has taken pause to smell the roses from 20 years ago and replant them for future generations.” This is such a great achievement from one of pop music’s greatest artists.
The Britannicas | High Tea Album number two from this international melodic pop supergroup checks off many of the must-haves on power pop fans’ lists: Byrds musings, gorgeous balladry, jangle, harmonies and hooks galore. Veteran U.S. popster Herb Eimerman, who we’ve been playing on Pure Pop Radio for somewhere in the neighborhood of18 years, Australia’s Joe Algeri, and Magnus Karlsson from Sweden have served up a spot of High Tea that all told constitutes a truly classic collection.
Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club | Nothing to Be Afraid Of A total surprise, this is perhaps the brightest, most inventive, most sincere and happiest-sounding melodic work of the year. Kate Stephenson, trading under the delightful band name Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club, had written a range of songs that recall the best of the Roches, the Dream Academy and Prefab Sprout, but come alive as uniquely her own creations. The deeply-felt, dense harmonies alone are more than worth the price of admission. Plus, the artwork and hand-lettered lyrics in the accompanying booklet prove that the album package is still alive out there in the world. One of the most truly special albums of this or any other year.
Robert Crenshaw | Friends, Family and Neighbors Speaking of truly special albums, here is one from the great Robert Crenshaw. “One of the sweetest surprises of the year is this joyous celebration of the love of the clever, catchy song,” I wrote in my October 30 feature review. Pairing a couple of covers, including one of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” which features Marshall, Dean and John Crenshaw, with seven originals and a surprise bonus track, Crenshaw turns in his best album to date, tackling such diverse subjects as “…the upside of improbability (the lovely, hymn-like “The Night the Detroit Lions Won the Super Bowl”), familiarity in the face of love (the Bill Lloyd co-write, “You’re So Hip to Me”), detachment versus reality (“What if I’m Really Dead?”), and hiding behind the wall of booze (the gospel-tinged “Turn to Booze”).” A wonderful album, beautifully realized.
The Rubinoos | 45 In my November 10 feature review, I wrote that “this latest album from the melodic pop band’s melodic pop band is a master class in songwriting and performing that should be at the top of your holiday gift-giving lists.” 45 is stone-cold triumph–a standout album in a career teeming with them. Among the treasures on offer, besides the great voice of Jon Rubin and some of the best harmonies on the planet, is one of the best tracks recorded by any artist this year–a lovingly-rendered a cappella (with percussion) version of Lou Christie’s classic, “Rhapsody in the Rain,” that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and drive you to recall the classic sound of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Tommy Dunbar originals like the buoyant “I Love Louie Louie” and the upbeat “Countdown to Love,” which tips its hat to the Paul Revere and the Raiders playbook, are modern day classics. Long may the Rubinoos run.
Peter Lacey | Last Leaf Tender and loving and from the heart, Last Leaf bristles with warmth and genuine emotion. Lacey harkens back to his folk roots, taking inspriation from ” the circles of everyday, country life: on patches of grass surrounded by sprouting trees, and by the water, on a calmly-stated lake. Lacey’s new songs are about the simpler, and more important, things in life; every element of this album is calm and soothing and powerful,” I wrote in my station update on July 7. Beautiful songs like “The Woodwind” and “Boy in the Rings of a Tree” populate this entire album, a treasure by any definition of the word.
Jamie Hoover | Jamie Two Ever Pop music’s premiere journeyman returns with a sort-of sequel to 2004’s Jamie Hoo-Ever, and boy does he deliver. Seven originals, eight covers (only on the CD), and a million reasons to keep this album in hot rotation at your pad. As I said in my station update on October 28, “From ace covers of a couple of Beatles tunes and the Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” to a host of originals, including the joyous, almost-completely a cappella “Press Save”; the lovely, gentle Steve Stoeckel co-write, “Lost”; and the bluesy “Oh Darlin’!”-esque “You Took Away the Birds,” Jamie Two Ever practically redefines the word ‘classic.’
Kylie Whitney | Something About Ghosts With a soulful approach and a refreshing touch of honesty, Kylie Whitney has released a classic-sounding album stocked with a wide range of emotions, all conveyed with authority. Although the album is chiefly comprised of originals, most of which were co-written with producer Michael Carpenter, Whitney does deliver a tender read of Don McLean’s “Vincent.” “Bad News Baby” finds Whitney in fine ’60s girl-group mettle, and “Tealite” shines an emotional light on her somewhat fragile vocal. Everything here points to a singer with a bright future.
mylittlebrother | If We Never Came Down One of the coolest discoveries of the year. Here’s how I summed things up in my October 24 station update: “As perfect as a beautiful day in the country or a clear, wondrous night under the stars, mylittlebrother is a wonderful British band that specializes in lovely, clever, insanely catchy pop songs that capture the imaginations of listeners. Entrancing melodies, gorgeous harmonies and a sense of humanity make this album the find of the year.” The opener, the joyously hopping mid-tempo “Loves of Life, Unite!” and the early rock ‘n’ roll stroll-meets-Teenage Fanclub vibe of “My Hypocritical Friend” are only two of the musical pleasures to be savored. Wonderful.
Sam RB | Finding Your Way Home Here is a truly lovely album full of truly lovely songs by a New Zealand singer-songwriter who makes truly beautiful music. Here is what I said in my October 28 station update: “Finding Your Way Home features Sam’s beautiful, expressive voice and songs with melodies that will melt your heart.” Sam sings her heart out in such standout tunes as the folk-pop “Blue Sky Day,” the wonderfully catchy, hit-worthy “Say Goodbye,” and the should-be-hitbound and equally impressive title song. Don’t be surprised if Finding Your Way Home soon finds its way to your home.
The Dowling Poole | Bleak Strategies The perfect second act after the ashes of the much-missed band Jackdaw 4 had scattered, the Dowling Poole finds that band’s leader, Willie Dowling, teaming up with veteran musician Jon Poole for a similarly imaginative trip down the pop music rabbit hole. Bleak Strategies is hardly a bleak affair, though; rather, it’s a wondrous, album-length expression of strength in the art of composition and performance, with seemingly millions of influences synthesized down to one shared point of view. Full of surprises and all manner of left and right turns, this is your one-stop-shop for XTC-meets-10cc-meets-Kinks, Beatles and Frank Zappa-isms. Put simply, these are pop songs turned on their heads by two men fully poised to do the job right. Any album that segues effortlessly from banjo-fueled vaudeville to straight pop in the same song (the wild and wooly “Empires, Buildings and Acquisitions”) and lays their pop smarts bare with an early-to-late period XTC-like romp (the insanely catchy “A Kiss on the Ocean”) deserves your rapt attention. Grand.
Edward O’Connell | Vanishing Act Four years on from his 2010 debut, Our Little Secret, Edward O’Connell returns with, not surprisingly, another great record. In our July 10 station update, I wrote that “Vanishing Act is everything a great melodic pop album should be and then some.” Songs include the insanely catchy “My Dumb Luck” (with its George Harrison-esque slide guitar lines), the equally infectious “Severance Kiss,” and “Lonely Crowd,” with a decidedly Tom Petty vibe. With not a single note or clever lyric wasted, Vanishing Act is one of this year’s greatest musical achievements.
Linus of Hollywood | Something Good Something great is more like it. “Nobody does it better,” Carly Simon once sang, and she might as well have been singing about Linus. His duet with the lovely Kelly Jones on the charming “If You Don’t Love Me You Gotta Let Me Go” is, all by itself, worth the price of admission. His gentle cover of Kiss’ “Beth” breathes new life into the old classic rock staple, putting added emphasis on the melody as welcome, real strings set the song aloft. Spectacular music, catchy as all get out, all the way through.
Dana Countryman | Pop 2! The Exploding Musical Mind of Dana Countryman Dana Countryman turns the clock back to the panoramic 1970s as the Wayback Machine collects the songs that form the soundtrack of your life–if you’re a sweet, melodic pop fan, and by reading this you might as well flash yout membership card at the door, this is for you. Nobody does this kind of thing better than Countryman, who celebrates “…the kinds of songs they just don’t write and record anymore. His influences, from Gilbert O’Sullivan and Eric Carmen to the Beatles and beyond, are worn on his sleeves and [are] bathed in his own, unique approach to songwriting and production.” That was my take on this album in my review from October 7. If you’re looking for a warm, musical glow to light your way, then look no further than this collection. It’s like what used to come out of transistor radios a long, long time ago, but it’s now coming from the here and now. Pop 3!, please.
Mothboxer | Sand and the Rain Mothboxer’s Dave Ody wears his heart, and his influences, on his sleeve on this wonderful new album. Mothboxer just keeps getting better, and this album is their best yet. The influence of the Beach Boys is apparent, however subtly, on the lively and engaging “In the Morning” and the enticing “Looking Out for Summer.” The title cut is clever, technicolor pop. The driving “We’re All Out of Our Minds” is upbeat and rather catchy. Overflowing with great songs, Sand and the Rain is a clear winner and, not surprisingly, one of the best albums of the year.
The Solicitors | Blank Check Lee Jones’ energetic, widescreen pop songs, hooks always at the ready and raring to go, are fuel for the fire that is Australia’s the Solicitors. A wildly talented singer and songwriter, Jones, along with guitarist Laf Zee and crew tread towards the listener with equal parts vim, vigor and melody. The band means business and their business is clear: knock ’em down with Stiff-era enthusiasm and the joy of performance. One of these days, the Solicitors will venture away from Oz and hit American shores to spread their pop gospel. We patiently wait for that day, but until then we have this new album, one of the best of the year.
(All reviews written by Alan Haber)
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of 21 of Pure Pop Radio’s favorite albums of the year. These are the Stars of ’14: 21 artists with great songs that will enrich your lives and guarantee your status as one of the cool kids. Which artists and songs will make next year’s cut? See you in about 365 days for the answer to that question and many more! Thanks for reading, and thanks, as always, for listening to Pure Pop Radio!
What’s new, you ask? Why, it’s another list of 10 of the most recent adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. We like diving in, and we bet you do too, so without further ado, here we go!
Dwight Twilley | Always A new Dwight Twilley album is always a cause for celebration and we’re celebrating alright, by adding a dozen songs from this latest platter, titled Always.Always is another solid collection of pop-rockers and gorgeous ballads from one of our most dependable and talented artists. Whether you’re a longtime Twilley fan, or new to Dwight’s legendary sound, you’re going to love this record. We’re playing, in rotation, the title track, “A Million Miles Wide,” “Lovers,” “Into the Flame,” “Everybody’s Crazy,” “Everyday,” “‘Til the Jukebox Dies,” “We Were Scared,” “Happy Birthday,” “I See It in Your Eyes,” “Fools Like Me,” and “Tomorrow.” Pop and rock on with Dwight!
Jamie Hoover | Jamie Two Ever Second in what we hope will be a long-running series, and the sequel of sorts to the much-loved Jamie Hoo-Ever, Jamie Two Ever presents Mr. Hoover hip deep in comfortable pop-rock waters, delivering yet another top-flight collection of timeless melodies and performances. As we always say when Jamie releases a new record, this is a given–a rock solid treat for fans of great songs crafted by pop music’s premiere journeyman. From ace covers of a couple of Beatles tunes and the Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” to a host of originals, including the joyous, almost-completely a cappella “Press Save”; the lovely, gentle Steve Stoeckel co-write, “Lost”; and the bluesy “Oh Darlin’!”-esque “You Took Away the Birds,” Jamie Two Ever practically redefines the word “classic.” We’re playing the entire album in rotation; in addition to the aforementioned songs, we’re spinning “Wait,” “Righteous Side of Love,” “Misery,” “Honest Work,” “Georgia Rose,” “I’m Looking through You,” “The Jim Joanne Massacre,” “Take Care of You,” “Star,” “There’s a Place,” and “Oh Babe Take Me Home.” Truly spectacular. A new Jamie Hoover release means all is right with the world.
Sam RB | Finding Your Way Home Here is a greater-than-great new release from Australia’s Sam RB, who we’ve been playing on Pure Pop Radio for awhile. Finding Your Way Home features Sam’s beautiful, expressive voice and songs with melodies that will melt your heart. We’re playing all of the songs from this spectacular album: “Blue Sky Day,” “No Need to Say,” “Busking,” “The Smile in His Eyes,” “Shooting Star,” “It Rains Down” “Funny Thing That,” “There is a Place,” “Just Say It’s True,” the title track (a hit waiting to zoom up the charts!), “Calloused Fingerprints,” “Don’t Think Twice,” “Thank You” (another hit waiting to break at radio), and “Say Goodbye.” Sam RB just keeps getting better and better.
Brett Harris | Mr. Sunshine Yet another longtime favorite here at Pure Pop Radio, Brett Harris is a masterful songwriter and performer who also keeps getting better and better. His new EP adds more greatness to his classic catalog. We’re playing three songs in rotation, all catchy and sung with lots of heart: the title cut (a hit single if ever there was one), “Out of the Blue,” and “When you Get the Chance.” We’re thrilled to have Brett back with new songs. Dig them all!
Smile Factory | “Man in a Minute” So hot, the wax is still wet on this poppy, mega-catchy, wonderful song from a new group comprised of familiar and perhaps not-so-familar names. The Legal Matters’ Keith Klingensmith (vocals) and the Tor Guides’ Torbjorn Petersson (guitars and vocals), you probably (and should) know. The other players? Atlanta’s own Lee Wiggins on drums, David “Zeus” Henderson on bass, and Bill Shaouy on keys. Brandi Ediss and Karen Basset provide backing vocals. Nothing could be sweeter and finer than this glorious example of why melodic pop music is the best kind of music in the whole wide world. Really infectious and quite joyous and we’re pleased as punch to be bringing it to you in rotation. Beautiful.
The Successful Failures | Captains of Industry, Captains of War A good old-fashioned pop-rock album by a bunch of guys who know their stuff. In the case of these songs, that stuff is bursting with lots of guitars, great harmony vocals, some country tinges, and a bit of what REM would sound like if they were more of a pop, and not a rock, band. We’ve added almost all of the songs on this album: “Stagger Lee and Woodrow Wilson,” “Milwaukee,” “Hit the Ground Running,” “1954,” “Meal Parade (Always Be Around),” “Falling Out,” “Navigation by the Stars,” “Knew Me On Sunday,” “O Carolina,” “Sunny in My Head,” and “John Henry.”
The Satisfactors | The Satisfactors Say hello to your go-to Fall ’14 supergroup, New Jersey’s own Satisfactors. What do you get when you bring together the Doughboys’ Gar Francis (aka Jimmy Target), the Grip Weeds’ Kurt Reil (aka Curtis Roy), the Easy Outs’ Bruce Ferguson, and Kenny Aaronson, who’s played with Bob Dylan, amongst other legends? You get a whole lot of muscle, grrring guitars, and a whole lot of in-your-face songwriting and vocalizing. You get a pop-rock album that pays no apologies for keeping the neighbors up at night. We’re playing nearly the whole album in rotation: “She Got Charm,” “I Love Girls,” “You’re So Crazy,” “Hey Mama,” “Sweet Sunshine,” “Johnny Commando,” “Take Your Troubles Away,” “Hit Me, Hit Me, Hit Me,” “Gimme My Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Girl Just Wants to Dance,” and “Had it With You.” We’re dancing the night away–how about you?
Magic Eight Ball | Last of the Old Romantics UK pop-rock trio Magic Eight Ball’s new album, releasing soon, hits all of the tempting sweet spots, presenting both ballads and up-tempo pop-rockers, always focusing on great melodies and a powerhouse voice in Baz Francis. We’ve added six songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist: “What Happened in ’92,” “Come Get Your Kicks,” “Yeah, I’m Serious,” “California in the Fall,” “Red Hair Wrapped Around Her Neck,” and “On the Days that You Wish You Could End It All…” A round of applause for Baz and the boys!
Loose Pills | Rx We’ve got a taster from Loose Pills’ album that rocks and pops: the upbeat power popping “I Don’t Want It” and the emotional, strong-willed, melodic rock-pop of “Get Drunk, Play Records.” Cool stuff.
The 286 | EP Within our rather large playlist, we have soft spots all over for bands that celebrate the legacy of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. The latest band to fly the flag proudly is this London “rock orchestra,” probably a fitting way to describe the outfit that has turned out quite the wonderful, six-song collection of ELO-tastic sounds. We’re running all six songs through our playlist: “Hello,” “Let the Rain Fall Down,” “Miracle on 286th Street,” “Little Louisa,” “Battalion 286 (Monmouth Minuet),” and “Suite: Beyond the World.”
That’s it for today. We’ll pick things up again on Thursday and Friday of this week, when we will unveil more of the latest artists and songs that have been added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Tomorrow: A hot review for an equally hot album that is without question one of the best of this year. See you then!
It’s time to get Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion off to a rousing start! Stand back, folks… here we go…
Kaboom! The music’s everywhere…as it should be! We’ve added hundreds of songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist, and we’d like to introduce you to them. So, with that in mind, just about every day from now through November we’re going to list a healthy number of tunes new to our air. Let’s get it all off and running, shall we? Here are some of the exciting tunes that, as of today, are new to our humble station:
Jamie Hoover | “Honest Work” and “There’s a Place” We’ve been playing Jamie Hoover’s fantastic music on the various versions of Pure Pop Radio for 18 glorious years. So, as you might imagine, when we get word that melodic pop music’s true Renaissance Man is ready to release a new album, we are so there. Jamie is about to release a new collection entitled Jamie Two-Ever and, in advance of that eventuality, we’ve got two songs from it to spin for you in rotation. “Honest Work” is a playful, typically catchy song from Jamie and his Spongetones pal Pat Walters; “There’s a Place” is a tender, emotionally-charged version of the Beatles’ classic. You’ll love them both.
Michael Carpenter | “Too Late” and “I’ve Been Lovin’ You” Pop music auteur Michael Carpenter’s first new release in a very long time is a genius pairing of tunes that help to define power pop in the fall of 2014. We go way back with Michael to 1998, when he was trading by the name Stagefright. We’ve played songs from all of Michael’s releases over the years. We’re thrilled to be able to bring you one of the great thrills of this wonderful pop music year. Welcome back, Michael.
A Band Called Mithras | Genero In a year full of great musical discoveries and exciting music from established artists comes two surprising, head-spinning examples of how to do it. “Monkeyman” is dance pop with a decidedly ’60s mod flavor; “Pretty Cherry Custard” marries a light dance groove with elements of ’60s psych and lovely harmonies. Both songs are aces high and bode well for what’s to come from this great band in the future.
The Del Zorros | Summer Fields A mix of influences as far and wide as the Everly Brothers and the Smothers Brothers (the folk side) helps shape the recordings of these twin brothers who make their home in North Carolina. Their light pop sound is perfect for Pure Pop Radio. We think you’ll fall in love with the nine numbers we’ve chosen from their latest album, Summer Fields, and added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. The songs you’ll hear are “Heading North,” “Lanesville Rag,” “My Old Hometown,” “On the Pond,” “Our Little World,” “Some Days,” “Summer Fields,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Til I See You Again.”
Dermot | Drink Some Water Dermot’s previous collection, 2013’s Pilot, was released under the name Michael Dermot. Now, the name is shorter but just as sweet and the upbeat pop songs are just as wonderful on this glorious EP. We’re now playing all five songs in rotation: “If We Had Never Met,” “I am a Map,” “This Moment,” “Wade,” and “Heaven Help Me (Water Song).”
Robin Gibb | 50 St. Catherine’s DriveThis wonderful, posthumous collection is a warm and fitting tribute to one of pop music’s greatest, most heartfelt voices. Don’t be surprised if tears well up in your eyes while listening to any of the eight songs we’ve added to the Pure Pop Radio rotation: “Days of Wine and Roses,” “Alan Freeman Days,” “Wherever You Go,” “I am the World,” “Anniversary,” “Sorry,” “All We Have is Now,” and “Sydney.” A truly special album and highly recommended to all.
Star Collector | Collected Stars: Live, Demo and Unreleased 1997-1999 The songs of Joe Giddings’ great band from the late ’90s were favorite spins on the early, weekly Pure Pop Radio shows on WEBR. We were sad to say goodbye to the band’s extremely catchy brand of melodic power pop, always featuring great vocals and deep, three-dimensional harmonies. We were thrilled to hear about this just-released collection of new-to-all-of-us tracks and we are just as thrilled to bring you six sterling examples of the greatness that was Star Collector. Now playing in rotation are “Desperate (I’d Do Anything),” “Pet Rock,” “King,” “Lost and Lonesome,” “Already There,” and “Angels Cry.” This great album is now available on Keith Klingensmith’s vital Futureman Records label.
Esa Linna and Milla Maria | “Tonight” Finland’s own Esa Linna, along with Milla Maria, recorded an acoustic version of the Raspberries’ iconic song “Tonight” for Zero Hour Records’ just-released Power Pop Unplugged, Vol. One. There is much more to come on Pure Pop Radio from this compilation, but for now enjoy this wonderful take on one of Eric Carmen’s greatest tunes, a classic power pop nugget.
Sproutless | “Hannah, Are You Out There (Zodiac Mix)” Scott McPherson, from the much-loved band Liar’ s Club, came up with the genius idea to record two Prefab Sprout tribute albums, about which we’ve written previously on this site. This song, originally part of the Insights from Retrospect album, has been reborn as, for lack of a better term, a dance mix (because we have to call it something), but it’s really just a clever, fun re-imagining of a great song. And, boy howdy, does it sound Sprout-esque. It’s now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
Identical Suns | “The Turn” This 10-minute epic exhibits all the colors of the musical rainbow…and then some. A dazzling array of stylistic turns and instrumentation almost demands headphone listening, but we’re pretty sure Todd Stanton and crew will say it’s okay to listen with your speakers. A wide range of influences has gone into this opus–there’s more than a dab of Abbey Road-era Beatles here–but ultimately this is the result of a lifetime of listening to the right records. We’re proud to be spinning this tune in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
That’s it for today. Pretty cool, huh? More is coming tomorrow–every day this week and throughout the coming weeks, in fact, so stay tuned to the Pure Pop Radio website and Pure Pop Radio for the latest adds to our ever-growing playlist. Thanks for reading…and listening!