Week Two. Day One. It’s Another Selection of New Adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Dig in!

Hundreds of newly-added songs are now airing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio, and we’ve only just begun. We’re anxious to tell you all about them, so let’s get right to it, shall we? Week two, day one begins…now!

Peter Lacey's Last LeafPeter Lacey – Last Leaf. Lacey’s latest, a song cycle that harkens back to the singer-songwriter’s folk roots, is a tremendous collection and without question one of the best albums released by any artist so far this year. Many miles away from the beach, Last Leaf plays its hand in 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. Recorded with precision and heart, songs such as the beautiful “The Woodwind” and the astonishing instrumental “Seven Hills to Hangleton,” which paces itself carefully until a fiddle infused, percussive attack ends the song cold, are acoustic keepers. In addition to these two songs, we’ve added “Right as Rain,” “Harvest Moon,” “Fisherman,” “He is Sleeping,” and “Boy in the Rings of a Tree,” a particular favorite. We are proud to be featuring Lacey’s new songs that enter as a blessed whisper and move on in the manner of a sprite granting wishes to deserving souls. Best of the year material for sure.

The Tangerines' Turn on the LightThe Tangerines – Turn on the Light. An album packed with equal measures of delight and magic, Turn on the Light delights with no less than 16 catchy songs and as many merry melodies, all crafted with care and songwriting prowess. The Tangerines have put together a spirited group of songs laced with chiming guitars that practically demands repeat play. Honestly, we loved this album so much that we were happy to add all of its songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. The rundown: “Turn on the Light,” “It’s Alright,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “Girls’ Girls’ World,” “Sitting in the Greenhouse,” “She,” “She’s so Fluffy,” “Everyday a Drama,” “How Does it Feel,” “Don’t Get Lonely,” “Waiting at Her Door,” “Late,” “Heartbeat,” “Up the Country,” “Love You Still,” and “All Through the Years.” This is the Tangerines’ White Album and, not surprisingly, an instant classic. A whole lot of fun awaits you.

Identical SunsIdentical Suns – “Show Me a Sign” and “Common Ground.” We’ve added two more songs from Identical Suns, a band to watch and grow with. “Show Me a Sign” is a soulful number, kicking off with single voice and electric piano, adding harmonies, bass, drums and expressive electric guitar. “Common Ground” is an upbeat, harmony-rich summer song that features out-of-this-world background vocals from the Sonic Executive Sessions’ Christian Phillips. More pearls to come from this spirited group of music makers. We love the Identical Suns.

 

Also playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio this week, and new to the playlist:

* Cool King Chris – “You Can’t Stop It.” While we wait for the highly-anticipated, brand-new EP from this Pure Pop Radio favorite, who not long ago was featured with producer pal Jamie Hoover on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, we are able to bring you this musical pearl, produced by Jamie. The moral of this song’s story? Once a movement gathers enough steam, you can’t stop it. A timely lyric from a great singer-songwriter, now playing in rotation.

* The Simple Carnival – “The Problem with Friends.” We are longtime fans of the Simple Carnival. We always hope and pray that the Carnival (aka Pennsylvania’s own Jeff Boller, a most creative fellow) will record a new album of wonderful songs, but Jeff’s attention has lately been on creating 3D moving pictures. We’re happy as can be to be able to share this wonderful song, an easygoing, Bacharach-David-esque tune that even mentions 3D in its lyrics. We’re interested in anything Jeff does, so we hope for more at some point in time. Meanwhile, enjoy “The Problem with Friends.”

* Marc Platt – “I Can’t Hide”, “What a Life” and “Selling Crazy.” This top talent continues to write and record top-flight songs. We’ve got three of them for you: “I Can’t Hide” is a Byrdsian kind of tune, “What a Life” sounds like it was plucked from somewhere around 1966, and “Selling Crazy”? Yeah, about 1966 or so, too. Great stuff, now spinning in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. More to come, soon.

* Lauren O’Hara – Sol. We’ve got two songs from this intriguing EP now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “No Remission,” a spirited, lovely acoustic song, topped off with a wonderful violin part; and a meaty tune, “Sunday Sun,” powered by our friend Joe Algeri’s drums, bass and organ. Joe also mixed this song and mastered the entire EP. Lauren O’Hara is definitely a talent to follow.

That’s it for today. More tomorrow, of course, and through this second week of our exclusive melodic pop songs explosion. Ka-boom, indeed!

 

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

Pure Pop Radio Sizzles this Week!

It's sizzling on Pure Pop Radio!
It’s sizzling on Pure Pop Radio!

Despite the fact that it’s not summer here at Pure Pop Radio headquarters, we’re hearing the chorus of Sly Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” because our airwaves are sizzling with the excitement of this week’s special programming.

Ken Michaels' Every Little Thing...For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!
Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing…For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

First up tonight, at 9 pm ET, is this week’s notable edition of Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing–notable because it’s show number nine, number nine, number nine… That should raise the neck hairs on end for most Beatlemaniacs. For this go-round, Ken is spinning a cool Beatles cover from Emmylou Harris (“Here, There and Everywhere”); playing a couple of Wings classics; running a special, archival interview with Billy Preston, accompanied by a quartet of spiritual numbers such as Preston’s “Sing One for the Lord”; and presenting the weekly theme segment, this time focusing on songs with years in the titles, like Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five.” And don’t miss the weekly trivia question at the end of the show. Sounds like an hour well spent! Number nine, number nine, number nine…

This week’s guest on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation is none other than the great Kurt Reil from the Grip Weeds. In this typically wide-ranging interview, you’ll hear about the long, detailed history of the Grip Weeds and go inside the band’s latest release, Inner Grooves – Rare and Under-Released Tracks–a delicious melange that covers just about all of the band’s musical colors. If you’ve ever wanted to know what makes this band tick, this is the interview for you. And, of course, we play a selection of cuts from this wonderful, hall-of-fame-worthy collection. Air dates are Wednesday and Thursday, March 26 and 27, at 8 pm ET.

The Grip Weed's Kurt Reil gets the beat going!
The Grip Weed’s Kurt Reil gets the beat going!

Last week’s Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation interview with Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel, aka Jamie and Steve, is now available for listening and/or downloading on our PodOMatic podcast page. Jamie and Steve go in-depth, from conception to realization, on four of the great songs from their new EP, Circling (“Spin Drift,” “Origami Woman,” “You,” and “Wonder Girl”). This is a fascinating and unique look at how songs get written, played and produced from two of our greatest artists. You won’t want to miss this show! Maneuver over to our podcast page to listen.

The animated Jamie and Steve in the "Imaginary Cafe" video, created by Cool King Chris
The animated Jamie and Steve in the “Imaginary Cafe” video, created by Cool King Chris
Paul Revere and the Raiders!
Paul Revere and the Raiders!

We’ve also served up a classic, bonus interview for you. We’ve gone back to December 12, 1998 and the old, weekly, live Pure Pop Radio show for an invigorating talk with none other than Paul Revere, from Paul Revere and the Raiders. For those of you who have never heard Revere interviewed, he’s a master of the craft with any number of fascinating anecdotes at hand. You won’t want to miss one of pop music’s greatest showmen telling tales of his long and melodic career. Check it out on our podcast page–click here to make the magic happen!

Every way you look at it, this week Pure Pop Radio is sizzling with lots of exciting programming. Thanks for listening, and enjoy!

 

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

Listen to Jamie & Steve and Paul Revere on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on PodOMatic!
Listen to Jamie & Steve and Paul Revere on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on PodOMatic!

This Week’s Gonna Be Like Finding Brigadoon Two Days a Year! Fantabulous!

It's like finding Brigadoon, we tell ya!
It’s like finding Brigadoon, we tell ya!

It’s like a volcano erupting, like finding Brigadoon two days a year, like winning a stuffed animal in one of those drop-the-claw-and-win-a-prize machines you find in restaurants along the New Jersey Turnpike. It’s like, wow, a pretty darned exciting week ahead on Pure Pop Radio!

Ken Michaels' Every Little Thing...For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!
Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing…For the Beatles Fan Who Craves All Things Fab! Airs Every Monday at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio!

Coming up tonight at 9 pm ET, it’s the latest edition of the fabbest Beatles radio show this side of Liverpool: Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing. This time around, Ken is spinning a classic tune from Mary Hopkin, interviewing famed recording engineer Dennis Ferrante, who worked with John Lennon, and going all acoustic for a special set. As usual, Every Little Thing is not to be missed!

The animated Jamie and Steve in the "Imaginary Cafe" video, created by Cool King Chris
The animated Jamie and Steve in the “Imaginary Cafe” video, created by Cool King Chris

This week, Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation is celebrating the release of the latest recordings from Jamie and Steve, aka Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel. The duo’s new release is an EP called Circling, and it’s another home run–another reason to celebrate melodic pop music. Jamie and Steve gather around the In Conversation microphones to talk in-depth about four of the songs, and you get to hear them, masterpieces all. Tune in tomorrow night–Tuesday, March 18–at 8 pm ET for all of the fun. The show replays on Wednesday, March 19 at 8 pm ET.

And, speaking of In Conversation, our lively, funny, full-of- cool-information and rockin’ and poppin’ interview with Cool King Chris and, wearing his producer’s hat, Jamie Hoover, which aired last week, is now available for listening and/or downloading on our PodOMatic podcast page. Never before have we put the spotlight on musical magicians who apparently moonlight as standup comedians, but there’s always a first time. This one’s going into the In Conversation Hall of Fame, folks!

Cool King Chris Makes Magic at the Microphone!
Cool King Chris Makes Magic at the Microphone!

So don’t miss this week’s top-flight Pure Pop Radio events: Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing, tonight at 9 pm ET; Jamie and Steve on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, tomorrow night and Wednesday night at 8 pm ET; and last week’s In Conversation interview with Cool King Chris and Jamie Hoover, now posted on our PodOMatic podcast page for listening and/or downloading.

Much more to come this week here on the Pure Pop Radio website. Stay tuned!

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

Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on PodOMatic!
Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on PodOMatic!

Jamie and Steve Circle Around the Microphone on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on March 18 and 19

Jamie & Steve's Circling
Jamie & Steve’s Circling

Jamie and Steve’s just-released EP, Circling, is arguably their keenest, most absorbing release yet. The set takes chances, allows the dynamic duo to stretch a bit, introduces horns to their ever-creative musical mix, presents some complex chord progressions, and rewards listeners with a rousing good time. In other words, business kinda sorta as usual, with a twist.

Making a return visit to Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, Jamie and Steve take listeners through the writing and production of four of the songs on Circling, most notably the alternately soft and muscular centerpiece, “Spin Drift.” Songwriters, recording artists and fans will be riveted by the in-depth discourse. Additionally, four songs from Circling will be played. Glorious sounds for everyone!

Air dates are next Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18 and 19 at 8 pm ET.

The animated Jamie and Steve in the "Imaginary Cafe" video, created by Cool King Chris
The animated Jamie and Steve in the “Imaginary Cafe” video, created by Cool King Chris

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear two of the masters of melodic pop music go deep inside their art.

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

Jamie & Steve’s Circling: An Exciting Paradise

Jamie & Steve's Circling
Jamie & Steve’s Circling

Jamie & Steve | Circling | Loaded Goat (2014)

*****

There is a certain safety in knowing that you are in good hands–hands that have seen much the same landscape as you, hands and heads and hearts that have witnessed what you have, even if such witness comes from a slightly different perspective. In our lives, especially as we get older, we are either strong in our resolve to carry forth with a determined effort and create art that lives and breathes with a force of strong will, or we coast on our past triumphs, our heads held in our hands and pointing down, down, down.

Thankfully, the team of Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel, Spongetones and Van DeLecki’s and writers and co-writers and solo and duo performers on the world music stage, have the strength and resolve to carry on swinging for the fences. Their guitars and mandolins and percussion instruments tuned and strung and subsequently alive, they continue to perfect their sound, always looking to raise their bar and achieve something new and grand and simply outstanding.

When, not too long ago, the power went out in the venue they were playing one fateful night, Jamie and Steve took the ball and punted. They created, on the spot and in the moment, the concept of circling, of eschewing the stage and performing on the floor, the patrons surrounding them–circling them–as they hung their acoustic guitars over their shoulders and simply played. Lit candles, their flames glowing, added more than a touch of intimacy to the proceedings. The duo played and sung their hearts out, and those patrons, witness to a new and exciting concept in performance, came away with an experience they would remember always.

In this newly-charged manner of performance, the audience circles around Jamie and Steve, who become the inner circle. This concept of circling, a term which, if all is fair, will enter the various dictionaries that watch the language of the world, has given way to the fourth Jamie and Steve release, an EP called Circling, a six-song collection in which the duo applies the very idea of circling to their always fertile imaginations. Just as they have invented a new way of performing, they have come up with new ways of giving birth to songs, of surrounding them with their deep skill and delivering a new experience to their audience. Thus, at least two of the songs on Circling take the collective output of Jamie and Steve and turn it on its very head.

Jamie & Steve's Circling (Back Cover)
Jamie & Steve’s Circling (Back Cover)

The opener, the upbeat, propulsive, sort-of psychedelic “Origami Woman,” is one example of Jamie and Steve’s bold new approach. With electric guitars that sound like they were borrowed from Queen’s Brian May, the song starts out with a pseudo-Who vibe and quickly sports a complex chord structure and a couple of rhythmic shifts. Steve’s bass is a standout as the story of the vision of a woman who appears through the smoke and mirrors of, perhaps, a dream is laid out: “like a paper just unfolding/turns to vapor as I’m holding/bits and pieces tiny creases/revealing secrets of/my Origami woman.” Mysterious and tantalizing–a dream turns to reality turns to…

Another song that surprises with new touches of bold creation is the rather amazing and vital “Spin Drift,” which begins life as a pretty ballad, telling the story of perhaps the most perfect place on earth and then the sudden, as the music turns dark and stormy and percussive, tumbling down into waves of turmoil: “Down down to see the headlights next to bones of Atlantic sea flights/Cold and darkness it bubbles up eventually to see the…Sunlight!” and then calmer seas and sky erase the scare of the ocean… “Such a perfect place to be found/Bleeding me of desire to ever go home/I’ll spin and drift.” The moral of the story: Even paradise has its dark corners. But never has paradise, even with its hidden treachery, seemed to exciting.

Two of Circling’s songs are straight-ahead, linear pop numbers with lovely melodies and, especially in the wonderful “You,” delicious chord changes and harmonies. “Wonder Girl” sits firmly in A Hard Day’s Night ballad territory, with a delectable guitar solo pulled straight out of the 1964 George Harrison playbook. The rather contemporary, upbeat pop song, “Skeletons,” and the gorgeous ’60’s vibe of the title song, a  jazzy specimen thanks to an understated horn arrangement, complete the latest Jamie and Steve package.

What occurred to me as Circling played through was that if musicians are on top of their game, they will deliver disc after disc of purely magical songs. Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel have been on top of their game for more than three decades. Here, for 21 minutes, they are more than on top of their game. They are just about floating above it. They have worked hard on these songs, and it shows. You, thankfully, don’t have to work as hard. You just have to listen.

Alan Haber

February 27, 2014

Visit the official page for Jamie & Steve’s Circling EP at Jamie & Steve’s website. And while you’re there, why not purchase a copy of the EP? It’s Pure Pop Radio approved!

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