Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio is the archive for the premiere website that covered the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. We are now closed for new activity.
There is excitement on the air! This week sees Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation debut on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.
Every Tuesday night at 8 pm ET on the Pop Tunes Deejay Show, I will spin the very latest and greatest melodic pop releases by artists you love and some that may be new to you. This week, thrill to top tunes from Tommy Lorente (his brand-new pop and roll single), Daniel Wylie’s Cosmic Rough Riders, Fun of the Pier (their first long player!), Sitcom Neighbor, Jared Lekites (with a great cover of a song by one of my favorites, Coke Belda), Terry Draper, and many more. (Repeats Friday at 2 pm ET)
The Thursday edition of the Pop Tunes Deejay Show (8 pm ET) will feature a mix of catchy melodic pop songs from today and across the decades. It’s a mirthful melange of melodies you won’t want to miss! (Repeats next Monday at 11 am ET)
On this week’s all-new Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation (Wednesday at 9 pm ET), I talk to one of my favorite-ever melodic pop artists, the great Richard X. Heyman, whose smashing 12th album, Incognito, has just been released. It’s a spirited half hour show with one of the great instrumentalists, songwriters and performers in melodic pop. You won’t want to miss it. (Repeats Saturday at 2 pm ET)
Don’t miss a minute of the fun: Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET), and Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation (Wednesdays at 9 pm ET).
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 basket teeming with new music added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist…
Arvidson & Butterflies | Arvidson & Butterflies Ensconced in the Gothenburg, Sweden music scene playing in bands and then going solo with an album released in 2001, Roger Arvidson has fashioned a vehicle for his songs. The six-member Arvidson and Butterflies announce themselves with an explosive collection of dynamic pop songs, each one imbued with catchy melodies and played with verve, like the upbeat, hit-songs-in-the-making “Tired of Running” and “Changing All the Time.” The mid-tempo charmer “Will Follow” is nearly a song that the Byrds could have pulled off. The cover drawing, from French popster Tommy Lorente, is among the most attractive to grace a pop release in many years. Top drawer all the way. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Tired of Running,” “Lights Go Out,” “Butterflies,” “Will Follow,” “Changing All the Time,” “Want What I Can’t Have,” and “Not a Dream.”
The Del Zorros | “Yes I Want You (We’re Gonna be Married)” Monty and Stede continue their appropriation of all things melodically satisfying with a sweet, sentimental mid-tempo ballad that boils down to a single truth between two who love each other: “You’re the only one I want.” A pretty melody drives this song, perfect for weddings and toasting nuptials. Gorgeous. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
Adam Walsh | Thoughts in Time Wonderful, rustic folk-pop, played in toto by Walsh, recorded in the quiet sanctity of Dublin’s Cabin Studios with Martin and Gibson acoustic guitars, Fender, Hofner and Epiphone guitars and basses, Pearl drums and a Korg synthesizer at the ready, all played by Walsh, making his songs come to melodic life. Like a determined river flowing at sunset, these tunes ripple through the senses: “Life With You,” pretty and determinedly driving, and “Rosemary,” a warm finger-picking exercise dripping with love, are decidedly tops. A single listener or a full house, lights lit silently, would be spellbound if Walsh were on stage, playing these songs. Really special. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “(I See Her Dance) Across the Ballroom” “(I’m a) Fool in Love,” “Drifting (Requiem for the Lost Soul),” “High Time (at Frisco Bay),” “Life With You,” “Rosemary,” “Sweet Dakota Blue,” “The River,” “Thoughts in Time,” “Waiting for Someone.”
Duerte Sanchez | “Mournin’ Glory Story” Trading under cover of alias Duerte Sanchez, the Lunar Laugh’s Jared Lekites sings and percusses over Taylor Johnson’s nimble acoustic guitar and mellotron stylings, delivering a lovingly-rendered version of Harry Nilsson’s 1969 classic, “Mournin’ Glory Story.” Essential, and quite lovely. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
Sally Stitches | End Up on 98 An offshoot of Vista Blue, the Hons, and 35 PSI, the technicolor-y named Sally Stitches offers up a powered, plugged-in bubblegum tune from their rocking EP that might have found a home in Buddah Record’s stable back in the good old days. Probably not, actually, but it’s chewy nonetheless and carries on its shoulders some catchy do-do-do-dos. Sing along. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
Maps and His Mothball Fleet | Fighting Season The story goes: Matt Wanamaker, a Philadelphia railyard worker, goes to Afghanistan to build hospitals for the Navy. While he’s there, he records songs on a handheld cassette dictation machine to pass the time as the sting of war surrounds him. After he gets home and time passes, friends take his tapes and add overdubs and a musical record of his time away from home is complete. Releasing on August 5 via Azteca Records, Wanamaker’s diary of audio impressions painted with notes and words really resonates. “Walk With Me Madeline,” played out with lovely pedal steel, sounds like a song that would be sung around a campfire as emotions felt are recounted, and “Rocket Sled” is a pop song with a catchy chorus and just as much feeling. A particularly fine waxing in a year teeming with them. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “A Lot Becomes a Little,” “Walk With Me Madeline,” “Private Planes of the Old West,” and “Break Up With a Poet (Manas).”
The Well Wishers | Comes and Goes Pop and rock meet at the net and jump over together with a dozen slices of pop and roll fueled by multi-instrumentalist Jeff Shelton, who knows a thing or three about making a musical impact. Lisa Mychols adds a layer of sweetness to the choruses of speedy pop-rocker “Come Around,” just one song here sounding like an outtake from early R.E.M.; “In Love With” chimes in with upbeat balladry. Another home run from Shelton. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Comes Around,” “Love Lies Last,” “Tomorrow,” “In Love With,” and “Nobody’s Dancing Alone.”
The Beat Parade | “Rainy Day” Back just about a year and a half after first gaining spins here, Sydney, Australia’s Matthew Shacallis returns as part of a three-piece band with a jangly song about love supplying the light to cut through the cloudy, rain-soaked skies (“So put the kettle on/And make a tea/I will light the way for you to see”). A pretty melody combines with expert playing. Album on its way. Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
Bringing you songs and artists new to the Pure Pop Radio playlist is our favorite thing to do in the whole wide world. We sure do know the feeling that hits you when you read about and then hear something that makes you smile–something that raises the hair on the back of your neck and makes you tap your toes, or dance the night or the early afternoon away, or take up air guitar or air piano or air celesta. In some measure, and this is a well know truth–in some measure what you hear changes your life, and when that happens, well, we’ve done our job.
So here is some more music that’s currently spinning in rotation–music that will make you happy!
Popboomerang Records | (PB:100) Popboomerang Records’ Scott Thurling knows how to throw a party. He’s celebrating the 99th record released by his company with a gala, 100th musical extravaganza–a two-CD set stocked deep with specially-recorded and previously-unreleased tracks from his label’s artists and friends. (PB:100) features 32 smashing songs from a diverse roster of artists. Job well done: we’ve added 11 great numbers to the playlist, including the Solicitors’ quirky “His Robe” and Kelly’s Heels’ “Popboomerang,” a catchy, upbeat label-history-in-song that celebrates Scott’s longstanding brief of exposing great sounds to music lovers all over the world. The aforementioned songs are now playing in rotation, along with the Killjoys’ “Marching Out of Time,” Danny McDonald’s “The Melbourne Divide,” The Little Murders’ “Kings Cross Dawning,” Central Rain’s “What a Day,” Tim Reid’s “In the Dark,” D. Rogers’ “Don’t Smile ’til Easter,” Mick Thomas’ “Mermaid Song,” Lazybirds’ “Slinky Skanky,” and Jona Byron’s “Sun Daughter.” (PB:100) drops April 1; pick up a copy and help support a worthy independent record label.
Spencer Albee | Mistakes Were Made Get ready for a wild blast of cool air that will toss you across your living room, through your front door, and to the far side of your yard. Spencer Albee’s hall-of-fame worthy album, Mistakes Were Made, will thrill you, delight you, and make you beg for more. A multi-instrumental wonder, Spencer dons all manner of pop music masks: uptempo balladeer in the harmony rich title song; straight-ahead popster in “So Bad”; infectious, retro, late-period Beach Boys funster in the delectable “Put Your Sweatshirt On”; and pure popster in the melodic love song, “This Will Be Our Year.” The sumptuous tip of the hat to the late ’50s/early ’60s, the catchy “I Don’t Know,” and the four-on-the-floor rhythm happy joy of “One 2 Three” are more highlights. So is the jaunty, clapalongable “Hold Me Close,” and ditto for the heartbreaking piano instrumental, “Something Something Heartbreak.” Well, we could go on, and we will at a later date, but for now… we swear on a stack of pop album classics that this is the real deal. We’re playing almost all of these incredible songs: “Mistakes Were Made,” “So Bad,” “Put Your Sweatshirt On,” “I Don’t Know,” “One 2 Three,” “This Will Be Our Year,” “Why am I a Fool,” “Something Something Heartbreak,” “So Long,” “Please Come Home,” “Skulls,” “Love is Not Enough,” It’s Not the End of the World,” and “Hold Me Close.” A sure bet for best of 2015 honors. In a few words, this is so very grand and, in just one word…wow! Get this for your very own when it drops on May 1. Come on, get Spencer!
Brandon Schott | Dandelion (Live at the Treatment Room, January 10, 2008) Recorded in a friend’s studio as a way of sketching out songs for his next album, Brandon Schott laid his emotions on the line. He was in the eighth week of a 12-week-long chemotherapy treatment. “I wanted to get these songs down in the moment, as it was happening,” Brandon says. Some of the songs were later re-recorded for his record Dandelion. As heard on this heartfelt album, these songs, sung with simple accompaniment, may be the singer-songwriter’s most revealing collection yet. Records like this don’t come along every day; we wanted to be sure to play some of these songs in rotation so listeners could experience their majesty. We eagerly await Brandon’s new studio record, coming soon; until then, spin this recording as a reminder of how wonderful an artist Brandon is. We’ve added nearly the entire album to our playlist: “It’s Alright (Baby Blue),” “Unknown,” “Falling Forward,” “Four Winds,” “Fire Season,” “Toward the Sun,” “Blue Star Highway,” “All Will Be Well,” and “The Last Swan.” [One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of this album are being donated to Gilda’s Club NYC, an organization that supports, educates and empowers cancer patients and their families.]
The Davenports | “Five Steps ’15” and “Away from Me” This latest release from Scott Klass and the Davenports, a true double a-side single, pairs a newly-arranged and remixed version of “Five Steps,” which originally appeared on the group’s debut album Speaking of the Davenports and continues to be part of the A&E network show, Intervention, with the brand-new song, “Away from Me.” Full of slightly obtuse imagery and the usual mastery of language, “Away from Me”‘s lyrics make a case for disconnection. Yin meets and overpowers yang: “There’s a heart around a number on the paper in the case/In a glove compartment–chaos by the seat loved out of place/With a boy beside the window with an answer in your face/Smiling as he drives away from me.” And, yang meets and topples over yin: “Every mile up in the air/Every masterful win–I’d burn it to cinders/To be tangled up in your hair/Sturdy inside September.” The song starts out as sort of a lazy country and western number, but the slightly ominous-sounding strings cast a pall over the proceedings. Scott’s sturdy yet rubbery vocal in the chorus creates added tension even as it carries forward as a beautiful expression of melody. It’s another superb song in a long line of superb Davenports songs, and we’re now playing it, along with “Five Steps ’15,” in rotation.
Vanilla | “Katherine the Grating” Variety is the chief spice in Jayson Jarmon and company’s rack, as evidenced by the new, twelfth song released as part of the growing album-to-come, Vanilla 2.0. A bouncing snare drum leads into a lively, show-type catchy tune, all surface smiles and virtue with a darker purpose afoot: a girl leaves her baby’s care in her guy’s hands. She vamooses. She’s a no remorse kind of gal: “Why oh why did the rabbit die?/Leaving me up to my eyes in diapers.” She isn’t called Katherine the Grating for nothing. When Jayson is finished with Vanilla 2.0, expect and, well, demand that it winds up on every best of 2015 list known to man…or Katherine. Awesome.
Jared Lekites | Five Separate Lives We’re always thrilled to bring new music from Jared Lekites to your waiting ears. This time around, Jared has released a single featuring two songs written for the soundtrack of the movie, You’re Killing Me. “Five Separate Lives” is a bouncy pop song with a great melody; a lovely middle-eight; and a great, catchy chorus. “And It’s Over,” a chronicle of a broken relationship, is a marvel of a number with soaring vocal harmonies and a luscious melody. Of course, we’re playing both of these songs in rotation. Next up: Jared’s upcoming album with Connor Anderson, billed under the name the Lunar Laugh. We can’t wait.
Miss Tess and the Talkbacks | “One Match Fire” We’d never heard of Miss Tess and the Talkbacks prior to bumping into this joyous and masterful country-rock number, being released on Record Store Day this coming April 18. Until you can hold this limited edition 7-inch in your hot little hands, you can hear it playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. It’s a great number, another don’t miss track, without a doubt.
Quakers on Probation | Love and Distance Pop and rock and roll and a dash of contemporary spice are at the heart of this band from the Pacific Northwest. Their songs are atmospheric and catchy and we’re spinning five from this terrific album: “Cosmic Crawl,” “The Honorable Mention,” “Love and Distance,” “Story of Your Life,” and “Out of the Blue.” Great stuff.
A strong lineup of artists and songs, wouldn’t you say? We’ve got more treasures coming up next week. Keep listening to Pure Pop Radio for the greatest melodic pop from the ’60s to today!
We’re always listening to music here at the well-appointed, Ikeafied Pure Pop Radio headquarters. Headphones on or headphones off, we’re constantly looking for just the right sounds that we can add to our ever-growing playlist. We’re dedicated, we’re steadfast, and we’re here to say we’ve found some more great platters that do indeed matter.
So, without further ado, here are the latest songs and artists now spinning in rotation:
Vanilla | “South Tacoma Way” It goes without saying that Jayson Jarmon and his band of merry musical souls are held in the highest of esteem by our singular staff. Releasing one song a month toward the completion of an album-length release to be called Vanilla 2.0, Vanilla have been wowing us with their seemingly no-holds-barred way of coloring outside of the lines. The retro, clarinet-fueled, Harpers Bizarre vibe of the group’s latest song, “South Tacoma Way,” is a kind-of close cousin to last month’s wacky and quite insane (in a good way) “Monkeypox,” because, well, monkeys play a prominent role here, as well they should.
Jayson says that this song is a “1930s period piece celebrating the virtues of my hometown’s most, eh, remarkable street. It features coffee-pot-shaped buildings, a legendary lowland gorilla, seedy watering holes, and a glimpse into that area’s special indomitable spirit.” I’m not sure where the gorilla comes in, but the Vanilla monkey brigade is sure jumping through various hoops in the “South Tacoma Way” narrative: you can “watch the monkeys” and remember when you danced “until the monkeys screamed.”
“South Tacoma Way” is a wistful travelogue that points to landmarks across the sum of one’s travels. “You say these memories/Don’t amount to much/But to a guy like me, they’re the stuff (full stop)/That dreams are made of,” the narrator sings. This one’s got all of the food groups, folks. It’s another stellar offering from the Vanilla Corporation, and it’s playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. Hotcha! – Alan Haber
Dana Countryman | “What If” Written for his wife this past Valentine’s Day and slated to be a part of his next album, Dana Countryman’s “What If” is a sweet, Harry Nilsson-esque love song with wonderful, imaginative lyrics (“Would you just look at me like I’m crazy/And maybe I’m crazy, it’s true/But I could be handy and fix your toaster for you”) and a lovely chord progression that surprises and delights. Alone at the piano, Dana has crafted yet another classic song, and we’ve got it spinning in rotation. A Pure Pop Radio exclusive (thanks, Dana!).
Jean-Jacques Perrey and Dana Countryman | “Beyond the Milky Way” Dana Countryman and his longtime friend and collaborator Jean-Jacques Perrey, the French creator of cool electronic music, birthed this ELO/Klaatu-sounding number, which features a lovely melody and a computerized vocal. “Beyond the Milky Way” is the only song with a vocal done by the duo; it’s from their 2008 album, Destination Space. We’re proud to be featuring this great song on Pure Pop Radio.
DC Cardwell | Bonus Tracks from Pop Art Because we can never play enough of DC Cardwell’s songs, we’re spinning the three bonus tracks that accompany his latest album: “Birthday Present,” a gorgeous ballad with lovely background vocal harmonies and atmosphere to spare; a guitar instrumental version of Pop Art’s “In the Cloud”; and a uke and bass version of “Know Me,” from DC’s Some Hope album. Sweet stuff from one of our favorite singer-songwriters.
Promise | Promise This privately-pressed classic, originally released in 1980 on Promise’s own label, Cumulus, and rescued for reissue (from the original master tapes) by Got Kinda Lost records, is a wonderful power pop album that fans of Badfinger, Emitt Rhodes, the Sweet, and Raspberries will love. A couple of cool rock and rollers bookend the album: “Say Allright!,” a number that sounds like it was taken off Badfinger’s No Dice album, and the mid-tempo, harmony-rich “Putman’s Ranch.” We’re playing all but one song in rotation: the two aforementioned tracks, plus “Back in My Heart,” “Guitar,” “Later on Tonite,” “Hands of Luck,” “Lucky Star,” “The Find,” and “Captain Domino.” The find of this young year.
Turnaround | Let’s Do It Zero Hour Records has done its usual great job compiling this classic Australian band’s previously-released tracks and unreleased demos for a 16-song audio bonanza that power pop fans will love. Sounding like a cross between Shoes and the Cars, the band makes a splash with rockers “Turnaround” and “Nobody’s Child,” and the lovely, mid-tempo ballad, “Is It the End,” which sounds like it’s being sung by Steven Lindsay from the Scottish band, the Big Dish. We’re playing the aforementioned songs, plus “I’m Here for You,” “I Need You,” and “Boom.” Great stuff.
Jeff Cameron | Giraffe Featuring the talents of Adam Marsland and Three Dog Night’s Chuck Negron, who duets with Jeff on the powerful “Heroes,” Giraffe is a solid collection of pop-rock numbers that will surely catch the ears of listeners. We’re playing “Heroes” and four other songs in rotation: the melody-rich, melodic stomper “Princess Blue”; the beautifully-sung, hooky “Two Hearts One Love”; the early Prefab Sprout-sounding “Let It Roll”; and the catchy “Long Island Sound,” which sports an infectious middle-eight and cool background vocals. Another great addition to our playlist.
DB Cooper | The Catherine North EP and “The Election” We dig the sound of this indie rock band from up north–so much so that we’re playing songs from their 2014 EP and their new single, the upbeat, high-energy and melodic “The Election.” From 2014’s The Catherine North EP, we’re spinning the equally energetic “The World.”
Jared Lekites | Looking for Diamonds While we wait for Jared Lekites’s next album with Connor Anderson, performing together as the Lunar Laughs, we are pleased to add four songs from Jared’s 2010 EP, Looking for Diamonds: the poptastic, harmonica-laced “Looking for a Diamond”; the sixties-influenced “The Electric Car Ballet”; and the lovely ballads “Love that Lasts” and “Let Your Hair Down (Once in a While).”
The Jeanies | The Jeanies Thanks to Ray Gianchetti at Kool Kat Musik, this album, previously released only on cassette and as a download, gets a proper CD release. This Brooklyn, New York quartet rocks a heady combination of garage aesthetic with sprinkles of Badfinger, Chuck Berry and T. Rex. We’re spinning three songs: the straight-ahead pop-rocker “I Think You’re the Wrong One,” the rocker “It’s for You,” and the T. Rex-into-Chuck Berry high-energy rocker “The Girl’s Gonna Go.” Sweet.
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