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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