New on Pure Pop Radio: The Nines’ Alejandro’s Visions: A Harmony- and Melody-Drenched Delight, Chris Murphy with Michael Carpenter, Dana Countryman, and More

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Spins and Reviews | 11.15.16 | by Alan Haber alan 5 small

Lovingly crafted and full of heart, Alejandro’s Visions is Steve Eggers’ masterpiece

The Nines | Alejandro’s Visions | 2016

the-nines-alejandros-visionsAfter incorporating a variety of styles into a stream of releases spanning a nearly-20-year-long career, the Nines’ Steve Eggers has delivered perhaps his most heartfelt musical statement—a love letter to the classic song structures that populated the output of artists in the pre-1962 era and the more contemporary sounds that have influenced him.

Rolling and then filtering the influence of the music of writers such as George Gershwin and Rodgers and Hart into a mix peppered with the harmony styles of the Beach Boys, the Four Freshmen and even doo-wop, and then topping the resulting flow with his love of artists such as the Electric Light Orchestra and XTC, Eggers has delivered a harmony- and melody-drenched soundtrack to an imaginary film, somewhat of a sequel to the last Nines album, Night Surfer and the Cassette Kids.

In the story that drives the songs on Alejandro’s Visions, Alejandro, one of the main characters of the garage-rock-centered Night Surfer, travels back in time to an alternate version of the late 1950s, where he falls in love with a girl named Marie. Unfortunately, it’s a love that doesn’t last.

The songs on Alejandro’s Visions bring Eggers’ ideas to life. Witness such lovingly crafted creations as the beautiful, bittersweet, old-fashioned “When Our Love Was in Bloom,” stacked deep with gorgeous harmonies and an irresistible melody; and the early rock and roll/pop hybrid “Operator (Coming Home to You),” which sports a meaty, catchy, percussive piano riff, opens with an aural allusion to the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” and lays out a delectable Jeff Lynne-ish bridge that will make you smile.

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Steve Eggers

A student of popular songs created across the decades, Eggers continues to write and record music that moves him and, as evidenced by his ongoing popularity, his ever-growing audience. Alejandro’s Visions, while perhaps a collection of songs that is unexpected, is moreover a sterling addition to a body of work that stands tall among pop music’s greatest achievements. This is Eggers’ best and most assured work yet, an immensely satisfying work that belongs in every melodic pop music fan’s collection.

black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “And Suddenly,” “Beachfront in New York,” “Can’t Go Back to Ocean Town,” “Darling I Adore You,” “Escape from a Small Town,” “Everybody Knows Me,” “I Have Found You,” “I’m an Old Soul and You’re Old Fashioned,” and “Operator (Coming Home to You)”
black box When and Where to Get It:
Kool Kat MusikCD Baby, and Amazon (mp3)

Here are four more recent additions to the Pure Pop Radio playlist:

chris-murphy-and-michael-carpenter-real-love-sleeveChris Murphy with Michael Carpenter | “Real Love” This absolutely gorgeous ballad recasting of John Lennon’s song, released in 1996 on the Beatles Anthology 2 as the second new group track after “Free as a Bird,” is one of this year’s major triumphs in melodic pop music. For one thing, the tempo has been slowed, allowing Murphy to lovingly communicate the depth of the emotional lyric. Murphy’s vocal may well be the best vocal performance of the year. His ability to hold a melody line’s final note in such an artful way, to sustain its resonance and maximize its impact on the listener, is something to behold.

Recorded with precision and heart by Carpenter on the occasion of singer Kylie Whitney’s wedding (Whitney also sang background vocals), this new version of this wonderful song is proof positive that covers can reveal new layers of emotion not previously brought to the surface. Murphy, whose superb solo work can also be heard on Pure Pop Radio, proves, in the space of four minutes and ten seconds, all this and much more. Carpenter plays all of the instruments. Essential listening.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio
black box When and Where to Get It: iTunes. Hear it on Spotify, and see the lovely video on YouTube

dana-countrymans-girlvilleLisa Mychols | “I’ve Run All Out of Tears (To Cry Over You)” I had the great pleasure and distinct honor of premiering this lovely retro-charmer, the first single from the forthcoming labor of love, Dana Countryman’s Girlville! New Songs in the Style of Yesterday’s Hits, on November 10. The occasion was an exclusive interview with Dana on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, during which he talked publicly for the first time about this album, which I predict will be one of the most talked-about long players of 2017.

Close your eyes while listening to this three-minute-long, lovingly-crafted number, built on a genuine love for the girl group and Brill Building sounds of the early 1960s, and you will find yourself transported back to a much simpler time, perhaps, when melody and joy were king. Lisa Mychols’ authentic, warm-hearted vocal is a blast of musical love. Dana paints his soundscape with colorful, period brushstrokes, even as he tops his creation off with a Brian May-like guitar solo from Klaatu’s Dee Long.

You will hear more, much more, about the girl group sounds lovingly celebrated on Dana Countryman’s Girlville! New Songs in the Style of Yesterday’s Hits closer to the album’s January 13, 2017 release by Australia’s Teensville Records. Until then, savor this lead track and smile.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio (exclusively through November 15)
black box When and Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the-flat-fiveThe Flat Five | It’s a World of Love and Hope From out Chicago way comes this group of harmony-centric harmony hounds. A supergroup of sorts due to the member’s affiliation with artists such as Neko Case and the New Pornographers, the Flat Five took a long road toward making this, their first album, playing a growing number of gigs during which they performed songs written by group member Scott Ligon’s brother Chris. Intent on getting a wide audience for Chris’s songs, they set about recording them. The result is a deliciously wondrous assortment of luscious pop dressed in a variety of comfortable musical clothing that runs the gamut from the Manhattan Transfer-meets-hep cat vibe of the delightful “Buglight” to the Paul McCartney retro-sway of “I Could Fall in Love with You” and the pretty back porch balladry of Roches-like “Bottom Buck.” Records like this one don’t come along every day, which makes It’s a World of Love and Hope pretty special.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Florida,” “Buglight,” “Bottom Buck,” I Could Fall in Love with You,” “Birmingham,” and “This is Your Night,” which sounds like a cross between the Free Design and the Association, an unlikely combination perhaps, but oh so tasty.
black box When and Where to Get It: Bloodshot Records, Amazon, and Bandcamp

cult-of-wedge-loch-nessCult of Wedge | Loch Ness Monsters and Motherships This latest musical missive from UK parish Rowley Regis’s Pete Hackett notches a best-album-yet nod for its top-notch selection of catchy songs, all performed with gusto. Hackett’s obvious love of the pop form glistens on the half-dozen songs from this album now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. Earworms all.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “That Song Last Summer,” “When I Was Young,” “Miss America,” “Oh Lindsay,” “Wish Ourselves Away,” and “Shine on Me”
black box When and Where to Get It: Bandcamp

carl-funk-black-horizonCarl Funk | Black Horizon Vanilla fans will be familiar with Carl Funk from his widescreen lead vocal on “The Angel of Swain’s Lane” from the group’s 2.0 album (also appearing here), sung, as I said in my October 15, 2014 review of the song, “with deep emotion and old world style.” Carl’s committed, soulful voice drives these songs, carved with (and yes, I am coining a new word) an Amerisoulfulcana blade which fit perfectly among the various pop colors in our on-air mix. Wonderful stuff.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Time and Time,” “Resolution,” and “The Angel of Swain’s Lane”
black box When and Where to Get It: carlfunk.com

More tomorrow.

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High “Fives” All Around! It’s Day Five of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion. And We’re Still Just Getting Started!

wow-5This week has practically flown by! Wasn’t it just Monday…yesterday? Wow! Well, it’s Friday, and that means it’s day five of Pure Pop Radio’s exciting New Music Explosion, which is great news all by itself, but the even greater news is that we’ve got so much new music to add to our playlist that we’ll be exploding next week, too! Look for another great list of newly-added songs and artists next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Meanwhile, here’s today’s quartet of great melodic finds. Let’s make it happen, shall we?

never-surrender-coverNever Surrender: The Cheap Trick Tribute |  Various Artists We’ve long been big fans of Australia’s Zero Hour Records, a great independent label run by George Matzkou. Zero Hour continually releases great-sounding compilations in smart looking packages that you can hold in your hand and admire as works of art. The latest in a series of tribute albums curated by the label is an exciting two-CD celebration of the songs of Cheap Trick. Never Surrender serves up 40 songs from across the wide-ranging body of work produced over the years by one of the most loved bands of the rock era. All manner of artists deliver their versions of such great songs as “ELO Kiddies,” “Oh Candy,” “”Come On Come On,” and “I Want You to Want Me.”

Naturally, many of pop music’s greatest artists wanted, and probably even needed, to be part of the celebration of some truly great songs; quite a few of these artists are Pure Pop Radio favorites. We’re thrilled to have added to our playlist 16 tracks, each one guaranteed to have you up and running with your favorite imaginary axe, playing air guitar to these venerated classics.

Here’s the rundown: The Cry, “ELO Kiddies”; The Running Jumps, “If You Want My Love”; Chris Richards and the Subtractions, “Downed”; Stephen Lawrenson, “Such a Good Girl”; Lannie Flowers, “Oh Candy”; Spike Priggen and C. P. Roth, “So Good to See You”; Lisa Mychols, “Tonite It’s You”; Bill Lloyd, “Come On Come On”; Corin Ashley, “I Want You to Want Me”; Jeremy, “Takin’ Me Back”; Easterly, “Let Go”; Rob Smith and Danny McCarthy, “Had to Make You Mine”; Rob Bonfiglio, “Taxman Mr. Thief”; The Affections, “Say Goodbye”; honeychain, “I Can’t Take It”; and Michael Carpenter, “Surrender.” Not only is this an eclectic bunch of songs, it’s an electric bunch of artists, joining together to pay tribute to a classic group that has wowed the world’s music fans for so long. We’re proud to be bringing you tracks from this album, in rotation. Good job, Zero Hour!

the-corner-laughersThe Corner Laughers | Matilda Effect The award for the most enchanting melodic pop music album released so far this year must, without question, go to the well-appointed members of the Corner Laughers, who have produced a song cycle that sounds bright and cheery, wonderfully enchanting, and lyrically invigorating. From the opening, Motown vibe of “Fairytale Tourist” to the lively pure pop pleasures of the happy, bouncy “Go Fly Your Kite,” Matilda Effect, which releases today, puts a big smile on your face that nary a tissue or wet towel will be able to wipe clean. The reggae-meets-pop vibe of the closer, “Good Hope,” is quite intoxicating and joyous and mighty hard to resist, which you wouldn’t want to do anyway under any circumstances at all. Big hugs to the enchanting Karla Kane, who wrote most of the songs here; Khoi Huynh; KC Bowman; and Charlie Crabtree. Equally big hugs to Allen Clapp, who produced, along with the Laughers. We’ve added all 10 of the songs on this delightful album: “Fairytale Tourist,” “The Girl, America,” “Octavia A,” “Queen of the Meadow,” “Sophie in the Streets of Stockholm,” “Midsommar,” “Lammas Land,” “Go Fly Your Kite,” “Martha (Cincinnati, 1914),” and “Good Hope.” Color us enchanted.

adam-walsh-epAdam Walsh | The Crooked Trail of Midnight We’ve been playing a host of tracks from this mighty talented singer-songwriter for months. Whether on his own or with his pal Colm Gavin, his talent sparkles and lights the sky. Country, folk and a decidedly keen pop sense permeate everything Adam records. Might we refer to his music as Americana Pop? Perhaps. This EP is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to Adam’s considerable charms as a musician of the highest order. We’re playing, in rotation, “Child of Love,” “Hidden Times,” “Of Our Love,” “Love that’s Gone,” “Steamboat Dream (for John Hartford),” and ” Sun Goes Down.” Great stuff.

But that’s not all. We’re also playing a few other Adam tracks: a cover of the Bee Gees’ “Sun in My Morning,” Gene Clark’s “Here Tonight,”  and Jeff Lynne’s “Can’t Get It Out of My Head,” all three performed with Colm Gavin. Lovely, all.

andy-reed-2Andy Reed | “Darlin’, You Don’t Know,” “Good Girl,” and “The Show Goes On” Producer, engineer, songwriter, performer, member of the Legal Matters and all-around musical magician Andy Reed’s latest single is another one of his can’t-miss creations that even before the first chorus has been sung burrows into your brain and holes up there for, you know, ever. So, naturally, we’re playing it in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. The two b-sides are remixed versions of songs that appeared on the split EP Andy released with Brandon Schott a little more than a year and a half ago. We love them both. And you will, too.

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Thanks for checking in this week and exploring our latest adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Click on one of the listen links below to hear hundreds of new songs and a total of more than 6,800 melodic pop nuggets from the ’60s to today! See you back here next Tuesday or Wednesday for another edition of our New Music Explosion!

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

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

Lisa Mychols Interview from Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation Now Posted on PodOMatic Podcast Page

Lisa Mychols

Lisa Mychols

Our exclusive interview with Lisa Mychols, from last week’s Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, is now posted on our PodOMatic podcast page and is available for listening and downloading.

You won’t want to miss this heartwarming, deeply moving conversation with one of pop music’s brightest lights. A handy list of Spotify links will allow you to listen to the songs talked about in the interview.

Simply click on the link above or the link below to check out this wonderful conversation. 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

Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on PodOMatic!

Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on PodOMatic!

Pure Pop Radio Welcomes Lisa Mychols to the Airwaves Tomorrow Night!

Lisa Mychols' latest album is Above, Beyond & In Between

Lisa Mychols’ latest album is Above, Beyond & In Between

We are honored and thrilled to welcome Lisa Mychols as tomorrow night’s very special guest on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.

Lisa has been a longtime favorite at Pure Pop Radio since the very early days of her career. During this wide-ranging interview, we hear from her about her music making process and spin some Mychols classics, including a track from her latest and perhaps best album, Above, Beyond and In Between. We also find out about Lisa’s life process, about her spirituality and her pure and honest approach to life. We can guarantee that you have never heard Lisa reveal so much about herself. If you’re a fan of this truly gifted artist, you won’t want to miss this 80 minute chat.

Air dates are tomorrow night, Tuesday, March 4, and Wednesday, March 5, at 8 pm ET. Please join us for a very special edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.

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

Lisa Mychols Guests on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on March 4 and 5

Lisa Mychols' latest album is Above, Beyond & In Between

Lisa Mychols’ latest album is Above, Beyond & In Between

We are honored and thrilled to welcome Lisa Mychols as next week’s very special guest on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.

Lisa has been a longtime favorite at Pure Pop Radio since the very early days of her career. During this wide-ranging interview, we hear from her about her music making process and spin some Mychols classics, including a track from her latest and perhaps best album, Above, Beyond and In Between. We also find out about Lisa’s life process, about her spirituality and her pure and honest approach to life. We can guarantee that you have never heard Lisa reveal so much about herself. If you’re a fan of this truly gifted artist, you won’t want to miss this 80 minute chat.

Air dates are next Tuesday and Wednesday, March 4 and 5, at 8 pm ET. Please join us for a very special Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.

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