We’ve rolled up our collective sleeves and we’re digging the sounds. All you need to do to join in on the excitement of our Four-Day New Music Songfest is tune into Pure Pop Radio by clicking on one of the listen links below, and, of course, see what we’ve just added to the playlist by reading the reviews that follow below.
As in the past, we’ve added hundreds of new songs and artists to our playlist. There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s get going. Here comes day one! We lead off with a song that’s making a lot of music fans sit up and take notice…
The Monkees | “She Makes Me Laugh” You’d have to be living well under a rock–somewhere so deep that even Pizza Hut won’t deliver there–to have missed the biggest news of the century: The Monkees are back with a new album in mere weeks from now with songs written by such talents as XTC’s Andy Partridge and Paul Weller. Produced by Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger. Did we say the Monkees are back? Good Times is the album, and the first single is “She Makes Me Laugh,” written by Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo. That it’s inordinately catchy and very Monkees-ish goes without saying. That we’re playing this song in heavy rotation…well, that goes without saying, too. Welcome back, boys.
The Posies | Solid States We continue with this week’s festivities with this new, long-awaited album from power pop heroes the Posies–an album that is poised to be a massive hit with fans, and for very good reason. Solid States finds Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, in large part, in pure, melodic pop mode throughout. Lovers of gorgeous, catchy melodies will swoon to such terrific songs as the should-be-hit-bound “Unlikely Places,” with its seductive verse melody and knockout chorus; the dramatic, powerful “Squirrel vs Snake” (the album’s title is part of the lyric); and “Rollercoaster Zen,” sounding like it could have been on a late-period Steely Dan album (a good thing). Do Auer and Stringfellow hit the ubiquitous “it” out of the park? You know we like a good baseball metaphor, so…yes they do. Essential listening. We’re playing six songs in rotation: “Unlikely Places,” “Scattered,” “Titanic,” “Squirrel vs Snake,” “The Definition,” and “Rollercoaster Zen.”
Lindsay Cowsill | Love is Strange A shot of joy like you haven’t felt in seemingly forever will hit you squarely in the melodic pleasure zone upon listening to the bright and lovely sounds on this mighty terrific EP from Mark Lindsay and Susan Cowsill.
You will so dig the five covers of classic songs from the ’50s and ’60s and one incredibly great original from Mark (that wouldn’t be out of place on a Prefab Sprout album); all of these recordings will have you jumping for…well, you know. Mark and Susan sound as good as they ever have–even better, if that’s possible (and it is). The duo delivers top-flight performances throughout. Susan’s vocal on the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’,” in particular, is a complete, yes, joy.
This is not only one of the best melodic pop releases of the year, it’s one of the best in many years. We’re playing, in rotation, the aforementioned Righteous Brothers hit, plus Mickey and Sylvia’s “Love is Strange,” Sonny and Cher’s “Baby Don’t Go,” the Dave Clark Five’s “Because,” the Mark Lindsay original “Love Will Make You Smile,” and Bobby Darin’s “Dream Lover.”
Love is Strange, which was produced by Mark Lindsay, was recorded, mixed and mastered in slambang fashion by Kurt Reil at the House Of Vibes. The Grip Weeds do a smashing job backing Mark and Susan on “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin'”; other guest musicians include the Doughboys’ Mike Caruso, and Mike Fornatale from the Left Banke reunion. Another essential release. You’ll love it.
McPherson Grant | “Cheese” and “My Favorite Thing” Pop 4’s Scott McPherson and his partner-in-musical mayhem, Jamie Grant, return to Pure Pop Radio with another two massively entertaining tunes–a double a-sided single, no less–that will have you desiring so much more.
“Cheese” is a lively, jumpy, tasty, funky hunk of, well, musical cheese that bemoans the state of, well, just about everything from TV network news to the quality of current music and contains this rather choice bit of verbiage: “I need a mighty mouse to get all this cheese outta my house.” Mighty Mouse costume not included. “My Favorite Thing,” a lovely, lyrical tip of the hat to Harry Nilsson that features one Zak Nilsson on drums and percussion, is a waltzy bemoaning of the loss of the narrator’s favorite part of a treasured relationship. McPherson Grant: Your new melodic pop obsession, now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio!
Joe Giddings | Better from Here Joe Giddings, forever a Pure Pop Radio star for his work with Star Collector and the JTG Implosion, returns with a knockout collection of one-man-band tracks that sparkle and explode out of your speakers. Joe serves up everything from pure, melodic pop nuggets (“If I Don’t Have Love,” with just a hint of the Partridge Family sound in the background vocals, “Gone So Far” and “Always Raining Somewhere”) to power poppers (“Brand New Day,” with a slight country-campfire element, and “Irrelevant”) and even a heartfelt ballad, inexplicably titled “Final Track.” It’s a veritable feast of Joe, and we’re popping and rocking with seven tracks, including those just mentioned, and “Better from Here.”
Sundown | Sundown From Paris, France (not Texas) comes this pop trio with varying degrees of power in its sound. Sundown’s self-titled EP announces itself with catchy songs performed with gusto. We’re playing all four songs: “Solutions and Remedies,””All Woman Like,” “After Some Time,” and the amazing, saxophone-charged “It’s Very Strange.” Good stuff.
Hector and the Leaves | Little Bee London, England’s pure pop explosion Hector and the Leaves, aka Tom Hector, delights with a four-song EP that covers all the catchy, melodic bases we love. Two songs strike a Beach Boys chord: “Loved by You” is a love letter to harmony singing and, in particular, Beach Boys vocal arrangements, and “I Ride My Bicycle” charms with the kind of instrumental flight of fancy the Boys of Summer might have indulged in circa Smiley Smile. “Good Times” is a gorgeous ballad with a lovely melody, and “Little Bee” is a concise, mid-tempo melodic wonder. A home run (there goes another baseball metaphor).
Matt Duncan | Free Music This little wonder from up New York way (well, up from where we are) is a fine melodic pop specimen ground in a soulful ’70s, sorta-Bee Gees pop groove (and you can dance to it). “Chutes and Ladders” is a catchy mid-tempo number; “Waking Up” sports beautiful harmonies; and “Night Job” is a pretty ballad, soulful and swinging, with more delicious harmonies. We’re playing these songs, and “Somewhere in Between,” “Tell You What I Know” and “Light Bright.” Lovely.
This seems like a good place to take a rest. We’re coming back tomorrow for day two of our Four-Day New Music Songfest. We’ve got a ton of top releases to chronicle and play on the air for you. Don’t miss a second!
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.
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