Reviews | 9.6.18: Nick Piunti and Phyllis Johnson

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Nick Piunti | Temporary High (Jem, 2018)
nick piunti temporary high album coverThe guy in the salmon-colored sneakers about to teeter off the ledge high up off the ground on the cover of Nick Piunti’s new album is just kidding, right?

I mean, oh, the horrors! Stay put, my friend, get back inside and crank up the stereo for the latest high-energy, ultra-satisfying tour de force from Detroit, Michigan’s ace guitar-and-keyboard-toting purveyor of pop, rock and roll.

Working with kindred collaborators Donny Brown, Andy Reed and Chris Richards (from the Legal Matters), Geoff Michael (who co-produced with Nick), Ryan Allen (Extra Arms), and Plink Giglio, Piunti lays down a mix of melody-rich, guitar-centric jams that keep the beats pumping and speak to the hearts of power pop fans everywhere.

Whether breathlessly rocking (the four-on-the-floor title track about boxing life’s possibilities into a corner and “Keep Me Guessing,” about a second chance at love with conditions on the table) or ruminating about a disconnected romance (“If This Was Right”), Piunti hits the mark every time with this tip-top 10-song collection.

Another popping platter from Marty Scott’s Jem Records.

black box Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Bandcamp, Amazon, and iTunes

Phyllis Johnson | “Foolish Girl” (2018)
phyllis johnson foolish girlPossessor of one of the great, most expressive and powerful female voices in pop and roll, Phyllis Johnson returns with one of her too infrequent releases–a song, tinged with sadness, about the perils of missed opportunity. A seductive melody and a wide stereo soundfield draw the listener in. Phyllis tackles keys, bass and drums; husband Stefan turns in a deft, George Harrison-like slide part and plays the electric guitars. A free download from Phyllis’s Bandcamp page, this is a must-get and cause for celebration. Don’t miss it.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

radio1Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the premiere website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. The 24-hour Pure Pop Radio stream ran from 2013 to August 25, 2018. Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today.

Favorite Records of the Year: Stars of 2016

favorite records of the year - stars of 2016

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio
(Originally posted 01.03.17)

2016 was a terrific year for melodic pop music from both new and heritage artists, perhaps the best in recent memory. My list of 28 Favorite Records of the Year from 27 artists–The Stars of 2016–is presented below in random order.

It has long been my view that ranking entries on best-of-the-year lists is an impossible task, at least for me. If I made such a list on Monday, would the number nine entry still be in that slot on Tuesday? Perhaps not. Sometimes, I fear, agonizing over a particular placement would be akin to splitting hairs and not particularly a worthwhile enterprise. So, I’ll go with I like these a lot instead.

Here are my Favorite Records of the Year–The Stars of 2016–in no specific order. All are more than worthy of your time, and all should be added to your core collection of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe.

And now, on with the show…

The Stars of 2016

bob lind magellanBob Lind | Magellan Was Wrong Pop bard Bob Lind’s latest is a typically heartfelt collection of songs that deliver his always magical one-two punch: emotional lyrics and beautiful melodies, brought to life with stellar arrangements and production, much of it supplied in grand fashion on this album by the Spongetones’ Jamie Hoover. Gorgeous soundscapes abound, such as the romantic, catchy “From the Road,” awash with poppy background harmonies from Hoover and perceptive, picturesque lyrics from Lind (“In moments others call mundane/My soul is warming by your flame/Turning just like a sailor to the harbor/And I will carry back my songs and tales/Of calms and gales/And sing and tell them all/To you”), and Lind’s emotional cover of Tom Paxton’s “Bottle of Wine.”

Where to Get It: Amazon

Legal Matters cover conradThe Legal Matters | Conrad With this album, the Legal Matters have set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music. Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith are the players, and their human voices are their instruments. The songs are sweetly realized, from the opener “Anything,” not the first track on this album tipping its hat to the much-loved Beach Boys vocal vibe, to the upbeat, single-worthy “Short Term Memory,” which tips its drumsticks to Ringo Starr in a delightful fill and puts forth some top-notch electric guitar playing. To listen to this album is a thrilling experience.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, iTunes, CD Universe

the weeklings studio 2The Weeklings | Studio 2 The beat-betrothed, Beatlesque foursome from New Jersey, steeped in the Fab tradition and nom de plumed in the spirit of all that started off holy in Liverpool’s Cavern Club a fair number of years ago, follows up their self-titled long player, affectionately known as Monophonic, with a sterling 12-song set composed of eight superlative originals and four rare John Lennon and Paul McCartney songs not given away to other artists. Recording in Abbey Road’s hallowed Studio 2, where the Beatles made their astounding magic, Glen Burtnik, Bob Burger, John Merjave and Joe Bellia, aka Lefty, Zeek, Rocky and Smokestack, respectively, make considerable Merseyside hay with delightfully brisk and catchy songs steeped in the effervescent spirit of the Fab Four. A splendid time, to be sure.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon

caper clowns 2Caper Clowns | The Buca Bus Delicious pure pop from Odense, Denmark delights with a dozen beautifully written and performed pearls. Lovely melodies and vocal harmonies are always present, particularly on instant classics such as the should-be-hit-bound earworm “A Tale of Romance and Magnetic Trains” and the gorgeous ballad “Lizard Heart.” Debut of the year? Most certainly.

Where to Get It: iTunes, imusic, Amazon UK (mp3 download)

kenny herbert forever and beyondKenny Herbert | Forever and Beyond A gorgeous, romantic song cycle inspired by Caroline, the love of his life, Forever and Beyond is Herbert’s melodically-charged survey of the power of true love. The 14 songs on offer, encompassing 1930s, 1950s and modern melodic pop vibes, are tremendously affecting, beautifully drawn snapshots of a happy existence. The pretty “Queensferry Girl” and the catchy, McCartney-esque pop song “It’s All Good” shine among a rich collection of gems.

Where to Get It: Kenny’s website, iTunes

TYIFinal2Nick Piunti | Trust Your Instincts Guitars, bass, drums, powerful vocals, and a whole lot of moxie power the pop on Nick’s latest, high-energy collection. These songs make heads turn and hearts embrace its many charms. “One Hit Wonder” is the big, splashy, pure pop hit here, a clear winner on an album full of winners.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, iTunes and Bandcamp

gleeson curse my lucky starsGleeson | Curse My Lucky Stars Austin, Texas band Gleeson have made their White Album, a sparkling collection of songs varied in approach and tone that makes a case for melodic pop being the genre of the moment. Encompassing beautiful balladry, art-pop, rock and retro charm, Curse My Lucky Stars is a marvel.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp

teddy thompson and kelly jonesTeddy Thompson and Kelly Jones | Little Windows A true, modern classic bathed in retro charm, Little Windows’ rewards are many. There is a decidedly romantic notion at play here, one that slips in and out of hand holding echoes of the Everly Brothers at Cadence, Roy Orbison, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, Buck Owens and a thousand other country-pop artists and their golden recordings. These lovely, heartfelt songs, brought to life by two of pop music’s finest vocalists, make up an album that is like a bright lighthouse shining across the sea, drawing you in.

Where to Get It: Teddy Thompson store, Amazon, and iTunes

ray paul whimsicalityRay Paul | Whimsicality Thirty-six years after the release of Ray Paul and RPM’s album Go Time, the artist is once again regaling listeners with enticing tales set to everyone’s favorite power pop beat. A delicious mix of originals and well-chosen covers, such as the Grass Roots’ “Temptation Eyes” and Paul McCartney’s “Oh Woman, Oh Why,” meets wonderfully-realized originals like the dynamic “A Fool Without Your Love” and McCartney-esque “Jeannie.” With Ray’s gorgeous melodies and strong vocals out front, this is a treat from first note to last.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, and iTunes

myrtle park's fishing coverMyrtle Park’s Fishing Club | Benches A monumentally towering testament to melodic and harmonic excellence, Benches is a delight from start to finish. There is nothing quite like Kate Stephenson’s take on melodic pop music, just as there is nothing like her soaring imagination, and her ability to express all manner of emotion and make the listener feel. Working in concert with musical partner John Steel, Kate delivers wondrous songs (and three-dimensional vocal harmony stacks) like “Somebody Called Me an Onion,” a smile-inducing, upbeat, energetic pop number with faux-reggae shadings about peeling back the layers to reveal the full, human package of emotion; and the a cappella wonder “Silent Letter,” a tune about inner beauty and the sanctity of thought that doesn’t always have to be laid bare. For those of you keeping score, this is the second Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club album to wear our Favorite Records of the Year mantle. As it should be.

Where to Get It: Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club’s website, Amazon, and iTunes

the nines alejandro's visionsThe Nines | Alejandro’s Visions 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, Steve 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. Standout tracks include 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. Alejandro’s Visions is Eggers’ best and most assured work yet, an immensely satisfying collection that belongs in every melodic pop music fan’s collection.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, CD Baby, and Amazon (mp3)

seth swirsky new album coverSeth Swirsky | Circles and Squares Proving that a creative, heartfelt approach to making music will yield magic almost every time, Seth Swirsky has crafted a collection of songs that draws on all of his strengths, and perhaps incorporates a couple of new ones. Moreover, these songs reveal the truth about all of our lives, right from the first track, “Shine,” his statement of purpose, the one that sets the stage for what comes next. And what comes next is winner after winner, such as the lovely confessional and autobiographical “I Don’t Have Anything (If I Don’t Have You),” in which the narrator allows that life means nothing at all without the proverbial “one”: “I’ve got some baseballs/That are pretty rare/Got a swimming pool/And a fast car/But I don’t care/’Cause I don’t have anything if I don’t have you…I’ve got gold records/Hanging on my wall/But without your love/Baby you can have ’em all…” This 16 song collection is the latest expression of craft from one of pop music’s most important artists.

Where to Get It: seth.comKool Kat Musik, Amazon, and iTunes

lucy wainwright roche and suzzy roches mud and applesLucy Wainwright Roche and Suzzy Roche | Mud and Apples A sparkling duo release from Suzzy Roche and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche. Warm harmonies, clever songwriting and the inclusion of beautifully-sung covers such as Paul Simon’s “Bleecker Street” and the Cascades’ “Rhythm of the Rain” push this 11 track masterpiece into hall-of-fame territory. Roches fans will be charmed, and so will everyone else. Surely one of this year’s top expressions of musical joy.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the monkees good timesThe Monkees | Good Times! Good Times! is a classic-sounding Monkees album that happens to have been released 50 years after Monkeemania began. A mix of recordings based on sessions produced during the group’s heyday and new songs written by top-flight, current songwriters of note, this is a fun listen from start to finish. A shining example of how good this album is: The perky, catchy “You Bring the Summer,” written by XTC’s Andy Partridge, fulfilling a childhood dream. A great album.

Where to Get It: Amazon and iTunes

mimi bettinis music soundsmimi betinis basement tapesMimi Betinis | Music Sounds and Basement Tapes Vol. 1 Pezband’s Betinis scores with two sterling releases in 2016 that are really two sides of a rather entertaining coin, so they both rate a spot in this Stars of 2016 feature. Music Sounds is a vivid, quite alive offering of melodic treasures. Its songs are wonderfully realized pop confections that hit the hooky bullseye, like “She Wants You,” which surreptitiously recalls the famed intro to the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” in the intro, and “Summer Love,” a warm love letter and look back to a seasonal romance (that, perhaps unknowingly, taps the sound of 10cc member Eric Stewart’s guitar playing in the solo).

Basement Tapes Vol. 1 collects tracks that Mimi has been working on over the years, like “Ray of Light,” a melodic sweetness that sounds like an Andy Partridge outtake off of XTC’s Nonsuch album, and simply lovely covers (Paul McCartney’s song for Mary Hopkin, “Goodbye,” and the Hudson Brothers’ “So You Are a Star” are glorious). Saying that some heritage artists are only getting better as time passes by can sound like rather an empty assertion, but my, how that phrase does indeed fit snug as a bug, listening to Music Sounds and Basement Tapes Vol. 1.

Where to Get Them: Pop Music Sounds and CD Baby

winterpills love songsWinterpills | Love Songs The numbers on Winterpills’ seventh album get under your skin; they become you in some celestial kind of way. The vocals of songwriter Philip Price and his wife, guitarist and keyboard player Flora Reed, are the collective glue that holds these proceedings together–the glue that gives them life. Consider “Wanderer White,” a rolling, rhythmic song about a fall from grace, in which Philip takes the lower notes and Flora the higher ones, and “Freeze Your Light,” which starts off as if in a church with a slight, ghostly choral singsong and becomes a folk-into-pop number with a delectable chorus buoyed by the same low-and-high vocals. The poppy bopper and should-be-hit-bound “Celia Johnson” turns the tables with Philip initially taking the high vocal part and Flora following closely. A trumpet and coronet serenade add to the song’s beauty; a lovely, echoed piano part comes in for a beautiful coda. A real treat.

Where to Get It: Winterpills’ web store and iTunes

butch youngButch Young | Mercury Man Butch Young’s miraculous, hall-of-fame-worthy album is a modern classic by way of its dazzling array of 1970s-styled instant classic songs, peppered with a mix of Paul McCartney and Harry Nilsson-esque magic. Every one of these Los Angeles-based artist’s songs is a clear winner, like the title track, “Persephone,” “One Foot In,” and “The Fools of May.” Awesome.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, CD Baby, and iTunes

the dowling poole one hyde parkThe Dowling Poole | One Hyde Park One Hyde Park, the sterling follow-up to the Dowling Poole’s Bleak Strategies, is a virtual tour de force and, if that weren’t enough, it’s an album influenced by sounds from across the pop landscape that doesn’t actually sound like its influences. Witness “Vox Pops,” which incorporates a very Partridge Family-sounding keyboard line and a very Brian May-sounding guitar solo; “Hope and Glory,” an upbeat pop song; and “Bring Back the Glow,” a smooth, rolling ’70s number. Joy from across the pond.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp, Amazon, and iTunes

chris murphy and michael carpenter real love sleeveChris Murphy with Michael Carpenter | “Real Love” This absolutely gorgeous ballad recasting of John Lennon’s song is one of this year’s major triumphs in melodic pop music. For this rendition, 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.

Where to Get It: iTunes and CD Baby

emitt rhodes rainbows endEmitt Rhodes | Rainbow Ends Forty-three years after his third album, Farewell to Paradise, was released, this new collection surfaces to critical and listener acclaim, and rightly so. Here are songs that feature all of the Rhodes hallmarks: beautiful, catchy melodies; inventive chord changes; and those velvety, smooth, sturdy and emotive vocals. Perhaps this is no more evident than on the emotional ballad “I Can’t Tell My Heart.” Somewhat reminiscent of Mirror‘s “Love Will Stone You,” this is a showcase for Emitt’s committed, vocal delivery; the gorgeous melody and emotional lyrics combine to sketch the breakup of a relationship and a considered plea for the other party to embrace the option to heal. A wonderful surprise and an instant classic. Welcome back to a truly special artist.

Where to Get It: Amazon and iTunes

daisy house western manDaisy House | Western Man Doug Hammond and his daughter Tatiana’s album for the ages features golden harmonies and great songs that will melt your heart all the way through. The heavenly duo channels the Byrds in the uptempo “She Comes Runnin’ Back” and “Twenty-One,” offers up a catchy, playful vibe with the singalong number “Willow,” and delivers a strong, emotive ballad with the orchestrated tune, “Western Man.” Best news of all: a new album is soon to be released. Happy new year, indeed.
Where to Get It: Bandcamp

brain circus use this jpeg instead of the other oneBrain Circus | Brain Circus This smashing collection of impossible-to-resist songs performed in grand style by ace songwriter and keyboard wizard Brian Curtis, late of the much-loved band the Oohs, serves up 13 numbers in all, performed entirely by this transplanted Virginian. The majestic, heartfelt love song “Finally Found the One,” a musical sculpture formed with smiles and tears and a whole lot of heart, is but one highlight. You’ll detect essence of the Beach Boys, Jellyfish and Queen, among other classic touchstones, but this is all Curtis and don’t you forget it.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the flat fiveThe Flat Five | It’s a World of Love and Hope This Chicago-based band of harmony-hounds deserves supergroup status, thanks to the members’ affiliation with artists such as Neko Case, NRBQ and the New Pornographers. Welcome 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 the Roches-like “Bottom Buck.” Pretty special all the way through.

Where to Get It: Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp

bent van looy pyjama daysBent Van Looy | Pyjama Days Based in Paris, France and a member of the band Das Pop, Bent Van Looy’s 2016 release is a lovely, pure poppy collection of sweet-sounding catchy melodies sung with assured style, like the upbeat pop number “My Escape,” beautifully arranged with little Beach Boys vocal flourishes weaved in; “Mr. Fletcher’s Song,” a melodic mid-tempo ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Randy Newman album, and the sumptuous title track, a three-minute genius construct, nicely orchestrated and adorned with a smile-inducing whistle. Pop on.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the junipers red bouquet fairThe Junipers | Red Bouquet Fair This charming collection from the Leicester, United Kingdom band recalls the sweet sunshine pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s in such lovely songs as “Summer Queen” and “Like a Merry-Go-Round.” Red Bouquet Fair is no less than the audio equivalent of smiling at your good fortune on a warm day in the park while sipping cool lemonade (the effect is equally transcendent wherever else you may be). The vocals are enchanting and the instrumentation is perfectly played. Lovely.

Where to Get It: Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp

tommy and the rocketsTommy and the Rockets | Beer and Fun and Rock ‘n’ Roll This ace project, featuring 10 pop-rockers, co-written, except for one, by super criminal defense attorney Michael Chaney and Thomas “Tommy” Stubgaard, who plays all of the guitars, bass, and provides handclaps, shake the house, as it were. Check out the catchy, Beach Boys-influenced sunshine anthem “Here Comes Summer,” and a couple of  energetic Ramones nods, “Silly Teenage Love” and “You Want Me (But I Don’t Want You)”). Cheery, toe-tapping fun.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, and CD Baby

explorers clubThe Explorers Club | Together This collection of songs imbued with the spirit of the best of the Beach Boys, the Four Freshman, the Association and other time-honored practitioners of the art is one of the sweetest offerings of the year. Here are songs that are beautiful and beautifully sung, lovely and lovelier still, from Jason Brewer, Wyatt Funderburk, Paul Runyon,  Kyle Polk and Mike Williamson. From the southern California harmony- and sun-soaked sound of “California’s Callin’ Ya” to the Four Freshmen-meets-“Graduation Day”-by-way-of-Les Paul ballad “Perfect Day,” Together invites listeners to bathe in the beauty of harmony-filled dreams.

Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, and iTunes

The Road Ahead

Harmony-filled dreams… Ah, as ever, they feel so right. With 2016 now in our collective rearview mirror, it is time to look ahead into what is just around the corner. Your favorite artists, and those new to the melodic pop scene, are itching to get going…to release their latest creations, crafted with a mix of melody, harmony, and keen performance.

Already, I have heard a few upcoming albums that I predict will knock your socks off. Nick Bertling, who records under the name Bertling Noise Laboratories, has been making a name for himself with a few rather extraordinary platters; the Lab’s latest, releasing later this month, is a covers collection called, in a nod to the great Harry Nilsson, A Little Touch of Bertling in the Night. This is a sweet mélange of favorite songs from yesterday, filtered through today’s singular sensibilities. It is uniquely Bertling, and you’re going to love it.

Dana Countryman, of whom much has been said throughout these pages, all of it sweeping-me-off-my-feet good, is about to release in 10 days, through Australia’s Teensville Records, his passion project, a tribute to the 1960s girl group and Brill Building sounds that continue to bring joy to ears around the world. Dana Countryman’s Girlville!: New Songs in the Style of Yesterday’s Hits will transport you back to a much simpler time, perhaps, when melody and joy were king. Lisa Mychols, Swan Dive’s Molly Felder, and Lisa Jenio are just three of the vocalists that help to bring Dana’s vision to life on an album that you will hug tightly. Look for Dana to appear on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation soon to talk about this landmark release.

Bill DeMain, whose solo music and treasured albums with Molly Felder as Swan Dive will always have a place here on Pure Pop Radio, has a new record that will soon be released. After hearing and playing on the air a bonus track from Beans, a lovely arrangement of the Beach Boys’ “Wendy,” we hope the release date comes very soon.

The Word is Love

“Spread the word,” the Beatles sang back in 1965. They were talking about love, not melodic pop music written and recorded in the 2010s, but they might as well have been looking forward, as should we all.

In 2017, we look forward to bringing you more of the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. We’re on the job 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. A click of any of the Listen links that follow will connect you with our stream. Spread the word about Pure Pop Radio, if you will and, if you haven’t already, please click the Follow button on the homepage of this very website to ensure that you will be notified by email every time we make a post.

Thanks for reading our list of our Favorite Records of the Year: The Stars of 2016. Add them all to your collection; your ears will thank you, as will I.


Pop’s Hot Artist of the Moment is on In Conversation Tonight at 8 pm ET

nick-piunti-2Nick Piunti, pop music’s hot artist of the moment, is on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation tonight at 8 pm ET. No surprise really–he’s top of the pops here at Pure Pop Radio; tracks from his new album, Trust Your Instincts, are playing in hot rotation. And no surprise number two: Nick is blazing a hooky trail on the satellite airwaves at Sirius/XM’s channel 30, with tracks playing during Mike Marrone’s noontime show, In Spite of All the Danger.

nick piunti - trust your instincts smallTonight, though, Nick talks with Alan Haber about his fantastic new album releasing in just two days (September 9). Alan plays three songs, including the big-time pop smash, “One Hit Wonder.” You’ll hear the stories behind Nick’s new songs, and you’ll travel along the path that led a 12-year-old Michigan boy with guitar in hand to his current release on the great Jem Records label.

nick piunti photo smallDon’t miss this chance to go in-depth with musician Nick Piunti on tonight’s all-new edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation. And stay tuned right after In Conversation for an all-new all-vinyl spin on Brian Bringelson’s Needle Meets Vinyl. Tonight’s artists include George Harison, the Monkees, the Band, Electric Light Orchestra, Big Star, and a whole lot more.

We’ve got the goods all day and all of the night right here on Pure Pop Radio.

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Just in the “Nick” of Time: Great Talk, Tunes, and Beatles too on This Week’s Specialty Shows

mic-small 10In other words, it’s another week of spectacular specialty shows coming up right here on Pure Pop Radio.

everylittlethinglogo-smallchuck gundersonWhat’s on tap? We kick off the cool proceedings on Monday, September 5 at 8 pm ET, with an all-new edition of Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing, which this time around features an interview with Beatles author Chuck Gunderson and a pair of tracks from the Fab new Live at the Hollywood Bowl album, releasing on September 9.

waveFollowing Every Little Thing on Monday night, it’s the second show from Jammin’ James Riley in our new series, Catching a Wave, at 9 pm ET. Groove along with tracks from the Surfaris, the Chantays, Jan and Dean, Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, and many more.

philip priceTune in Tuesday and Wednesday, September 6 and 7, for a rousing Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation twofer. On Tuesday, September 6 at 8 pm ET, Winterpills’ Philip Price sits down with Alan Haber for a two-hour marathon session detailing the many, varied stops through his musical career. Listen for tracks from the Maggies, Philip’s solo releases (including an unreleased tune), and Winterpills, whose latest album, Love Songs, is a big airplay item on Pure Pop Radio.

nick piunti - trust your instincts smallnick-piuntiThe next evening, Wednesday, September 7, also at 8 pm ET, we’ve got popster-of-the-hour Nick Piunti dropping in to speak with Alan about his smashing new album, Trust Your Instincts, releasing on Friday, September 9 through Jem Records. You’ll hear three songs from the album and Nick’s comments on them. Plus who knows what else?

needle meets vinylThe specialty show excitement continues on Wednesday night with this week’s all-new Needle Meets Vinyl at a special time. Tune in right after the Nick Piunti interview, at approximately 9 pm ET, for another great all-vinyl mix from host Brian Bringelson, featuring songs from George Harrison, Electric Light Orchestra, Rick Nelson and the Stone Canyon Band, Big Star, and many more of your favorite artists from across the decades. Sweet.

the-beatles-things-we-said-todaykit o'tooleWe finish this exciting week of specialty shows with the latest back-and-forth from our panel of Beatles experts on Things We Said Today on Thursday, September 8 at 8 pm ET. This time around, Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman, and Allan Kozinn discuss Paul McCartney’s album Press to Play with returning guest Dr. Kit O’Toole, author of the Deep Beatles column and the book Songs We Were Singing. Also up for discussion is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles final concert, held at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, and a concert appearance by the Claypool Lennon Delirium; Ken was there and he has an on-the-spot report.

So, looking to the week ahead in specialty shows: Don’t miss a second of Alan’s interviews with Winterpills’ Philip Price and Nick Piunti on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, all-new editions of Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing and the weekly Beatles roundtable, Things We Said Today, as well as the second Catching a Wave show from Jammin’ James Riley and the latest all-vinyl mix from Brian Bringelson on Needle Meets Vinyl. Pure Pop Radio has the goods this week…and every week!

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Lots of Guitars, Bass, and Drums

And 10 pretty great songs. Nick Piunti’s latest has it all.

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Nick Piunti | Trust Your Instincts (2016)
A review by Alan Haber alan 5 small

(Win one of two copies of Nick Piunti’s Trust Your Instincts by entering our latest contest. Click here.)

nick piunti - trust your instincts smallThe black-and-white collage that sits underneath the plastic CD tray depicts a bespectacled Nick Piunti, eyes shut tight, t-shirt and sports jacket-clad, singing into a microphone maybe an inch from his lips, his Fano guitar slung over his shoulder at PJ’s Lager House in Detroit, pick plucking the strings, the fingers on his left hand perfectly placed on the fretboard. Nick’s cohorts–guitarist Ryan Allen and drummer Donny Brown, also bespectacled, and not-bespectacled bassist Andy Reed–are tending to their positions, strumming, plucking and pounding. You get the sense that the room they are playing in is shaking, or humming with at least the fury of the mighty Thor.

Just moments into the title song of Nick Piunti’s third solo album, you know your sense is spot on. The electric guitars rage and Donny Brown’s drums power up with Keith Moon-like intensity, and Nick’s vocals, committed and assured, take hold of the proceedings. If you close your eyes, you can imagine this song blowing through a packed house, raising the collective blood pressure of the people populating the dance floor.

This is how Trust Your Instincts rolls: Lots of guitars, bass, and drums played by the core band, with only a touch of guest accompaniment–pedal steel from David Feeny and a harmony vocal from Rachael Davis on “Dumb It Down”–added to the mix. This is the engine that powers these songs that fuel the intensity of Nick’s vision. This is the mix that makes these songs sing.

nick piunti photo smallThese songs take hold with emotion-filled spirit. The mid-tempo, melody-rich “Stay Where You Are” tells the tale of a stale relationship, one-half of which doesn’t quite get it: “Don’t you want to stay out of this dead end conversation/I think I’m gonna bail out/Running on fumes in the inspiration department…Stop me if you’ve heard this one before,” Nick sings. The title song, about trusting in yourself (“Time heals the deepest wounds/just as soon as you move on”), takes root, matching its lyrical prowess with every powerful beat.

“One Hit Wonder,” the album’s big, splashy, hit bound pure pop song, is perhaps the clear winner in an album full of them; the lyrics, always a high point of a Nick Piunti collection, are especially clever and vibrant (“Burned out before it began/If it was destined to be then we stuck to the plan”), and the melody is designed to never wear out its welcome.

The road to Trust Your Instincts, releasing on September 9 on Jem Records, has been a long and fruitful one for Nick Piunti, encompassing membership in a few bands, most notably the Respectables, and solo work that made heads turn and hearts embrace its many charms. Decades since first strapping on a guitar at age 12, the Michigan musician is trusting his instincts and has consequently turned in one of the best albums of the year. Guitars, bass, and drums indeed.

(Win one of two copies of Nick Piunti’s Trust Your Instincts by entering our latest contest. Click here.)

black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Trust Your Instincts,” “One Hit Wonder,” “Dumb it Down,” “Ready for Whatever,” “As Far as I Know,” and “Stay Where You Are.”
black box When and Where to Get It: September 9 at Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

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Win Nick Piunti’s Trust Your Instincts CD!

nick piunti - trust your instincts smallIt’s let’s-give-something-away time again here at Pure Pop Radio. We’ve got two sealed copies of Nick Piunti’s soon-to-be-released CD, Trust Your Instincts, in our hot little hands. They could be in yours. (See Alan’s review of this contender for best-of-the-year honors by clicking here.)

As usual, it’s easy to enter. Simply fill in the form that follows and send it on its way to us by this Friday, September 2, at 5 pm ET. Be sure to include your email address and type “Nick” in the comments field.

We’ll pick two winners, each of whom will get this CD on or about the release date, September 9, courtesy of Jem Records. You could be a winner. You, too! Enter today! And good luck!


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New Tunes for Pure Pop Radio’s Swinging New Music Dance Party | 8.5.16

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Swinging Spins and Reviews | 8.5.16 | by Alan Haber

We fold up our well-worn dance floor as our Swinging New Music Dance Party comes to a close. We hope you enjoyed all of the new music we’ve added to our playlist, all of it now spinning in rotation.

In case you missed the reviews we posted this week, you can read them all below. They’re preceded by a new review of a terrific new compilation, the Mahoney Brothers’ Rarities Vol. 1, put together with heart and soul by one of our favorite singer/songwriter/performers, Timmy Sean.

Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back here next week, with a big Tuesday announcement you won’t want to miss!

the mahoney brothersThe Mahoney Brothers | Rarities Vol. 1
Meet Timmy Sean, one of the hardest working folks in show business, what with his duties at the heart of Sir Video, Timmy Sean and the Celebrities, and his Noisewater Records imprint. Speaking of which, this fun and tuneful compilation is just out and, what, you haven’t been acquainted with the Mahoney Brothers? Let me make some introductions: The Mahoney Brothers stars Timmy’s father and his father’s two brothers, with around 30 other members in the lineup at one time or another. They’ve been performing their Beatles tribute show since 1977; a show called Jukebox Heroes Live!, which presents tributes to a wide variety of artists including Buddy Holly, the Beach Boys and Elvis Presley, has been around since the late 1980s.

Where does Timmy fit into all of this? When he was domiciled on the east coast, he performed full time in Jukebox Heroes Live! and every so often filled in as “Ringo” in the Beatles show. When Timmy moved to the left coast, Pure Pop Radio favorite Nick Bertling settled into the drum chair for Jukebox shows, but then he moved and…

It’s a tale of first class entertainment that has now been commemorated by this Rarities Vol. 1 collection, which mixes original songs and choice covers. It’s a great way to get a solid overview of what the Mahoney Brothers do. I dig it big time, especially the fantastic cover of the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby,” which puts deep harmony stacks in the spotlight–really, all of the vocals are peerless and the cover is lovely.

Also rocking your stereo are solid covers of a trio of Beatles tunes: “Boys,” all fierce and pounding and, thanks to a recent remix, filling the room with crystal clear thrills; “I’ll Get You,” played live in 2003 in South Bend, Indiana, oh yeah; and “Strawberry Fields Forever,” performed live in Atlantic City in 2004 to an adoring audience that gets every nuance, beautifully and lovingly performed by the Brothers. And there’s more, of course–much more and you will love it all like I do.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Someday,” “Boys,” “Too Late for Love,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” and “I’ll Get You.”
black box When and Where to Get It: Bandcamp

And now, in case you missed our other reviews of new music being added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist during this week’s exciting Swinging New Music Dance Party, here they are–19 in total, all great releases you can hear in rotation on our air and in your homes:

vanilla be not coy coverVanilla | “Be Not Coy”
A Pure Pop Radio Thursday Exclusive 
Robert Herrick, born in 1591 and never married, was a vicar and a poet whose gaze was trained, for the most part, on themes that were pastoral in nature. One of his works, a short poem entitled To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time, was partial inspiration for Jayson Jarmon’s potent song.

Herrick’s poem offers sage advice that has been passed down through the ages and is as valuable and wise today as it ever was: “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” Don’t let opportunity pass you by; grab the brass ring before somebody else does. Reap the rewards that life offers to you while you can.

Struck by Herrick’s words and by his meaning, and by the barrage of music industry passings this year, Jayson set about writing this song, which arrived fully formed, words and music and sentiment. “I was reflecting on all of the losses in the music business thus far this year,” he says. “A lot of the great ones have passed and every week in 2016 seems like a new wave of sad news washing up on the beach.

vanilla be not coy photo 1vanilla be not coy photo 2“So I found myself out in the desert a while back in southern California at the Joshua Tree Inn, where Gram Parsons died…decades ago.” And then, seemingly in a flash, with sadness for the fallen and inspiration afoot, “Be Not Coy” came into being, initially as an acoustic guitar take and then as a fully-formed track, fleshed out by Jayson’s band members.

The title of this song comes from a line in Herrick’s poem: “Then be not coy, but use your time…” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, coy can mean shy, which in this case is apropos and appropriate, for shyness, practiced at the crossroads where decisions call for brisk and brave action, hardly has any place. Or shouldn’t.

So Jayson’s song, affecting and hopeful, proffers its message while dressed in folk-poppy clothes, with Eric Robert’s Hammond B3 and Sean Gaffney’s lyrical electric guitar providing powerful accents along the way. And the seductive melody, ultimately joyous and hopeful, is a panacea for people who maybe can’t take charge of a situation and commit to gathering the rosebuds placed before them.

“Be Not Coy” provides a nice counterpoint to Vanilla’s other songs. The direction the band takes when crafting new tracks, building surprises and stylistic detours into each one, is a large part of what makes the songs so attractive. Being coy, or simply unable to embrace such artistry, never comes into the mix when listeners are presented with one of Vanilla’s new creations. This one, like all the others, and perhaps even more so than some of the others, is a joyous listening experience, and it’s playing here on Pure Pop Radio as a Thursday Exclusive, and then into the future. Be not coy…and get it for your own tomorrow.
black box Playing exclusively today on Pure Pop Radio, and tomorrow and into the future in rotation.
black box When and Where to Get It: Bandcamp

erik voeks reasons your conditionErik Voeks | “Your Condition” b/w “Reasons”
The August entry in Erik’s current run of single releases is another standout double a-side, this time pairing “Your Condition,” a Big Star (with a smattering of Rolling Stones sauce sprinkled on top) homage with “Reasons,” a pretty ballad about sealing one’s fate as far as the pearly gates are concerned (“You’ve been around this cloud one too many times/And the elevator man’s resigned”). Erik handled all the instrument playing and singing, except for the drumming and percussion thumping, which were handled expertly by Patrick Hawley. The run of hits after hits after still more hits continues.
black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Your Condition” and “Reasons”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

Tthe bangleshe Bangles | Ladies and Gentlemen… The Bangles!
As it’s the heart of baseball season, I see no reason to hold back on the oft-used phrase: Omnivore Records’ collection of Bangles vault rarities from the 1980s is an explosive out-of-the-park home run. From early recordings of the group as the Bangs to demos, live tracks and other rarities, this is a Bangles fan’s early Christmas present, previously available only as a download. All killer and no filler, indeed.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Getting Out of Hand” (The Bangs), “Call on Me” (The Bangs), “The Real World,” “I’m in Line,” “Mary Street,” “Outside Chance,” “No Mag Commercial.”
black box Where to Get It: Amazon

champagne beach closedChampagne | Beach Closed
The follow-up to 2005’s ready, steady, go! finds Spain’s pop quartet delivering another top-flight collection of melodic gems, from the upbeat popper “Where is Barbara Ann?,” the beginning of which recalls the opening to the Wonders’ “That Thing You Do,” to the gentle ballad “Hawaii” and the upbeat, catchy “Plastic Feelings.” A fun listen.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “It’s Alright,” “Where is Barbara Ann?,” “Welcome to the World,” “Plastic Feelings,” and “Hawaii.”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

freeholm wilsonFreeholm Wilson | Children of June
London one-man-bander Wilson straddles the line between retro and contemporary with this debut album, a mix of upbeat and ballad numbers always stressing melody and hooks. Among the top tracks here are the powerful “Run Back to Me,” that somehow, to me, evokes the Rooftop Singers’ “Walk Right In,” and the harmonica-ized, hint-of-Americana instrumental “Shelly’s Colours.” A plethora of pleasures, to be sure.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Be There,” “State Lines,” “Shelly’s Colours,” “Run Back to Me,” and “Long Way Home.”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

tobbe and the teenage tantrums smallTobbe and His Teenage Tantrums | “Don’t”
The Theme Music conclave on Facebook continues to provide Tobbe Petersson, Keith Klingensmith and crew with golden opportunities to record classic-sounding melodic pop songs; this sweet, very ’60s-sounding tune, written by Torbjorn “Tobbe” Petersson, sung by Keith, and played by Tobbe (guitars, keyboards, background vocals), Lee Wiggins (drums, percussion), and Teresa Cowles (bass and background vocals) is the latest. If there’s a best-kept-but-not-really-so-secret weapon in pop music, it’s got to be Tobbe. Essential, as usual.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
black box Where to Get It: Not currently available for purchase.

dirty watertony valentino 5Tony ‘n’ the Recruiters | “Dirty Water”
The Standells’ classic “Dirty Water” sizzled into the number 11 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in July of 1966. It’s still sizzling today, this story of dirty water and curfews and women and, yes, Boston, spoken/sung/snarled by Dick Dodd over one of the great, meaty, down-and-dirty guitar riffs of all time. Guitarist Tony Valentino is still at it–still spreading the dirty gospel by playing the song live and by waxing a brand-new recording of it that sizzles like the original so a whole new generation and older fans, too, can get down and dirty with it in the context of today’s skewed world. This new version, produced by Tony and sung with pumped up passion by Steve Loizos, is lit up at a faster pace, chugging through the last measure of the chorus with a thrilling, ascending chord pattern, and it’s all to get the pressure rising, which it does and which it should. This track won’t calm anyone down, but it’s not supposed to. Take a bow, Tony; we’ll all wade through that dirty water with you anytime.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
black box Connect with Tony Valentino on Facebook 

bent van looy pyjama daysBent Van Looy | Pyjama Days
Bent Van Looy, based in Paris, France and a member of the band Das Pop, released his first solo album, Round the Bend, produced by Jason Falkner, in 2013. This top-notch follow-up, released this past March, is a lovely collection of sweet-sounding catchy melodies sung with assured style. Every song sparkles; every song will make you smile, from the upbeat pop number “My Escape,” beautifully arranged with little Beach Boys vocal flourishes weaved in; “Mr. Fletcher’s Song,” a melodic mid-tempo ballad that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Randy Newman album, and the sumptuous title track, a three-minute genius construct, nicely orchestrated and adorned with a smile-inducing whistle. The next time a friend asks what’s new–what’s good–you can point to this artist, to this album, and tell them it’s not just good…it’s great.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “30 Days Without Sun,” “1000 Deaths,” “Downtown Train,” “High and Dry,” “Mr. Fletcher’s Song,” “My Escape,” “Pyjama Days,” “Sink or Swim,” and “Wind is Blowing.”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

drums and wires uk 2drums and wires ukDrums and Wires UK | “All the Things” and “I Should Have Known”
Ex-Squire bassist Jonathan Bicknell’s current project will be releasing, later this year, a concept album titled Ups, Downs and Merry Go Rounds,  which concerns itself with the trials and tribulations of life. Until then, we have this smashing single pairing a couple of power popping classics. Performed with gusto and infused with strong melodies and passionate playing, I’m sufficiently jazzed for the album’s arrival.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
black box Where to Get It: iTunes

corey landis therapy dogCorey Landis | Therapy Dog
The precursor to Corey Landis and the Attacks, added to our playlist this past Wednesday, is a different beast all around, but no less vital. More of a personal approach informs these songs, three of which are now playing in rotation: the emotional waltz “Poltergeist,” the equally emotional title  track, and the punchy, quirky “Airport.” Corey Landis is one of my favorite, recent discoveries.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Poltergeist,” “Therapy Dog,” and “Airport.”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the del zorros yes i want youThe Del Zorros | “Yes I Want You (We’re Gonna be Married)”
Lance and Leigh Bowser’s latest is a sweet, pretty paean to love, love, love. It’s the same old story with the Del Zorros–infectious melodies, top-flight songcraft, and the ability to push the right, catchy buttons each and every time. Why, oh why, can’t these guys release a new song every day, ’cause that would suit me just fine.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
black box Where to Get It: CD Baby

the recreationsThe Recreations | “Swing Together”
Update: My pal Scott McPherson (Tiny Volcano, Pop 4, McPherson Grant) turned me on to this amazing track, and I reviewed it in early May. I’d like to echo and expand on my earlier rave: Fronted by pop visionary Yohei, this is a vital mix of soft pop, Burt Bacharach, Jellyfish, swing and jazz that comes together as a wholly unique creation you will never forget. A true kitchen-sink production. You’ll be singing this one to yourself for a month after hearing it. From Tokyo to your waiting ears.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
black box Where to Listen to It (Other than Pure Pop Radio):
Soundcloud (This song is not yet available for purchase.)

TYIFinal2Nick Piunti | “One Hit Wonder” (from the forthcoming album, Trust Your Instincts)
Michigan musician Piunti hits all the melodic marks with this catchy slice of pop perfection, a three-minute pearl of a tune pairing a sweet, catchy melody with an introspective lyric about trying to make it big in the music business. Piunti was a smart, thoughtful lyricist from the start of his career; the words that power this song’s message are among his best. “Burned out, before it began/If it was destined to be then we stuck to the plan,” he sings at the top of the tune, the second half of the couplet particularly telling and dripping with foreshadowed insight. “Over our heads, it was out of our hands, it was gone.” Yet, the song’s narrator doesn’t clue the listener in on where he is in the present tense. Did he carry on with trying to tackle the top of the chart despite his downbeat experience, or did he switch career paths? It’s all quite the cautionary tale and interesting given the upward trajectory of Piunti’s career and his acceptance by fans in the pop community. From the soon-to-be-released album Trust Your Instincts, Piunti’s third solo long player, “One Hit Wonder” is fantabulous.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
black box Where to Get It: Trust Your Instincts is due to be released on JEM Records on September 9.

mimi bettinis music soundsMimi Betinis | Music Sounds
An incredible, vivid, quite alive offering of melodic treasures populates this glorious album, without question one of this year’s best releases. Every song is a wonderfully realized pop confection, particularly three that hit the hooky bullseye: “Say the Word,” “She Wants You,” which surreptitiously recalls the famed intro to the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” in the intro, and “Summer Love,” a warm love letter and look back to a seasonal romance (that, perhaps unknowingly, taps the sound of 10cc member Eric Stewart’s guitar playing in the solo). A pure pop masterpiece that will spin in your orbit for years to come.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Corrina,” “Listen to Me Boy,” “Palm of Her Hand,” “Say the Word,” “She Wants You,” “Sound the Alarm,” “Summer Love,” and “This Girl.”
black box Where to Get It: The Pop Music Sounds Store

brandon schott revisitedBrandon Schott | (Revisited)
Another monumental release from this California wonder, whose eyes and ears are fixed on his next proper record, the follow-up to the impressive Crayons and Angels, this generous sampler aims to offer fans something to ponder while they wait for their next Schott of classic pop. They’ll be busy, to be sure; this magical mélange of outtakes, remixes, b-sides and the like contains 14 strong slices of peerless pop. The stripped-down, poppy version of “Simple Life,” a track off the Golden State album, is one such nugget; the inspired take on the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” complete with tabla and sitar for a decidedly world music feel, and the amazing “Yellow Bird,” a gushingly pretty charity single from 2011 sung with and co-written by Brandon’s friend Amy Petty, also lead this impressive pack, but “Full Circle Round (Acoustic Mix #13),” a previously unheard version of a song from 13 Satellites, spotlights some particularly winsome Beach Boys harmony wizardry and garners its own huzzahs. Peerless, really.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Now,” “Carousel (Revisited),” “God Only Know,” “Simple Life,” “Ballad of El Goodo,” “Full Circle Round (Acoustic Mix #13),” “Delight,” “Yellow Bird,” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the armoiresThe Armoires | Incidental Lightshow
Coloring their comfortably eclectic sound with aural swatches of English folk and psychedelia and American pop and rock, the Armoires hit upon a decidedly different presentation that is at once surprising and wholly absorbing. Witness the mystic wash of the folk-poppy “Wire Girl,” which, in a ghostlike manner, recalls the opening to Chicago’s “Wishing You Were Here,” the psych-fueled, engrossing rocker “Doubtful Sound,” and “Live and Direct,” a folk-rocker that shares sensibilities with the English group Ruby Blue. The band’s story is multilayered and deep (see link); the music that they make is deeply satisfying.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Double Blades,” “Doubtful Sound,” “Fort Ashby,” “Live and Direct,” and “Wire Girl.”
black box Where to Get It: CDBaby

the melbourne divideVarious Artists | The Melbourne Divide
A fine sampler released to commemorate a showcase for the Popboomerang record label during the Leaps and Bounds Music Festival, held July 9 at the Yarra Hotel in Abbotsford, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Compiled by Popboomerang’s chief Scott Thurling, one of the great champions of Australian pop music, this eight-song grouping collects nine superb songs from two guitar-pop bands from the ’90s, Oscarlima and Jericho, and an otherwise-unavailable (as of this writing) song from the Wellingtons, among other pearls. With melody at the core of these offerings, pop fans can’t go wrong with this disc, available for as little as zero dollars (see link for details).
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: Oscarlima, “Penny Dreadful”; The Wellingtons, “The End of the Summer”; Bryan Estepa and the Tempe Two, “Object of My Disaffection”; Tim Reid, “Small Black Box”; Adrian Whitehead, “Spector’s Dead; and Danny McDonald, “The Melbourne Divide.”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the cherry bluestorms see no evilThe Cherry Bluestorms | “See No Evil” and “Dear Prudence”
A hard-charging pop-rocker with a great hook, driven by a strong drum track and Deborah Gee’s Chrissie Hynde-timbered  vocal, pairs up with a moody, psych-infused version of the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” on a vinyl single that offers up a download card and a skewed Beatles A Hard Day’s Night/Brady Bunch-styled picture sleeve. Essential.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
black box Where to Get It: The Cherry Bluestorms’ website.

VistavieChardRy | “Les Femmes Sont Courbes” and “Vis Ta Vie”
French singer ChardRy, also known as Richard Verlan, delivers a delicate, orchestrated ballad (“Les Femmes Sont Courbes”) and a catchy, medium-tempo pop song (“Vis Ta Vie”) to great effect, both perfect for the wide-ranging playlist brought to you 24 hours a day by Pure Pop Radio.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
black box Connect with ChardRy on Facebook

alan-mic-zeeAlan 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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Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes