New on Pure Pop Radio 08.16.17: Fernando Perdomo’s Golden Hour, This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Vol. 4, and Sitcom Neighbor’s Shag

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Spins and Reviews | 08.16.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

fernando perdomo the golden hour coverFernando Perdomo | The Golden Hour (2017)
The fourth album from vaunted producer (Cait Brennan, Chris Price, Linda Perhacs) and recording artist Fernando Perdomo is a widescreen collection of heartfelt songs.

Recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, and played and sung entirely by Fernando, The Golden Hour bristles with majesty; the title number, a deeply-felt love song about two souls coming together as one, sits alongside other dynamic numbers such as the Beatlesque-meets-James Bondian “Sleep” (I love the Paul McCartney-esque bass line), and the gorgeous, melodically- and harmonically-charged ballad “Sunset,” which is elevated towards the end by some welcome Beach Boys-inspired background vocal turns.

Another top entry for this year’s best-of lists? Yes, indeed.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp (from August 17)

this is rock n roll radio vol 4 coverVarious Artists | This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Volume 4 (Kool Kat Musik, 2017)
Celebrating Carl Cafarelli and Dana Bonn’s longstanding This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Show, this fourth volume of the ongoing series presents a carefully curated selection of exclusive and previously-released tracks by artists that should prove to be welcome by both the TIRnRR audience and pop music fans in general.

Top tracks are plentiful and favorites are overflowing. To wit: Circe Link and Christian Nesmith’s delectably addictive pop confection “I’m On Your Side”; Pop Co-Op’s catchy pop-rocker “You Don’t Love Me Anymore”; Ray Paul’s “I Need Your Love Tonight,” one of his best tracks ever; The Rubinoos’ sweet-sounding “Nowheresville,” featuring the much-loved vocal harmonies the group is known for; Maura (Kennedy) and the Bright Lights’ “Maybe Someday,” a straight-ahead pop song with Maura’s signature vocal in the spotlight; Michael Oliver and the Sacred Band’s passionate “You Won’t Do”; and Vegas With Randolph featuring Lannie Flowers’ jubilant pop-rocker, “The Weekend’s Coming.”

Compilations with this much oomph should be shoo-ins for your collection.

black box Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik

sitcom neighbor shagSitcom Neighbor | Shag (2017)
John Murphy and Steve Refling, the latter of whom plays nearly all of the instruments on and produced Lisa Mychols’ recently-released, soulful cover of “Let’s Stay Together,” achieve melodic pop hero status with this skillful 11-song-strong collection that is sure to please all comers.

Say hello, if you will, to the very Beatles-ish “Goodbye,” in which clever chord construction meets a classic-sounding melody. Murphy’s smooth lead and harmony vocals power the muscular pop of “Your Turn Next” and the pretty, mid-tempo ballad “Insomnia.” And the album opener, “Tourist Attraction,” sounds like a Shoes outtake that got away.

Shag, along with two previous releases, 2012’s Charm and 2007’s self-titled debut, form a  triumvirate of pure pop goodness. So onward with you, who knows what to do.

black box Where to Get It: CD Baby, Amazon (digital)

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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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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:

New on Pure Pop Radio 08.15.17: Coke Belda Wins Again, Bob of the Pops is Popping Again, and the Bye Bye Blackbirds Soar

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Spins and Reviews | 08.15.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

coke belda 3gs cover for websiteCoke Belda | Coke Belda 3 (Gs) (2017)
So natural is Coke Belda’s ability to breathe new life into the songs of the Bee Gees that it would seem perfectly acceptable to call him “Mr. Natural,” at least temporarily, and in honor of one of the songs on this alluring celebration of the charms of the Brothers Gibb.

The long-awaited followup to 2013’s Coke Belda I and 2015’s Nummer Zwei similarly breathes new life into the art of musical homage. Certainly, paying tribute to favored artists is a tradition in pop music; it is not uncommon to come upon covers of certain songs or collections dedicated to a particular group, such as Zero Hour Records’ new tribute to the Knack, Not the Knack. So Coke Belda’s 12 song paean of Bee Gees joy is not all that unexpected, especially when you consider how enamored he is of the group’s songs.

Which is obvious as Coke serves up peerless versions of classics and buried treasures such as “Run to Me,” “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You” and “Sir Geoffrey Saved the World” with both reverent approach and Belda style. Playing all the instruments and singing all the vocal parts (save for some welcome and soulful passages from Gretchen Wheels’ Lindsay Murray on “Run to Me” and “I’ve Gotta Get a Message to You”), Coke delivers a tour de force that should land on more than a few best-of lists later this year.

One of the absolute joys of a terrific album such as the rather cleverly titled Coke Belda 3 (Gs) is discovering the surprises contained within, and seeing the striking cover art by Ignacio Alcázar. Speaking of surprises, 1965’s “Claustrophobia,” arranged and played by Coke as a sweet Merseybeat romp, will have you booking tickets for the Cavern in Liverpool (and a virtual time travel trip back to the 1960s). The album closer, a beautiful take on “Our Love (Don’t Throw It All Away),” a top 10 Billboard chart hit for Andy Gibb in 1978, written by Bee Gee Barry and keyboardist Blue Weaver, is another welcome, perhaps unexpected nugget.

Coke Belda 3 (Gs) is the, yes, natural and welcome third project from the artist whose travels brought him from Spain to take root in Germany and now in the United States. Naturally, this is the next step in Coke’s musical journey, and one you should absolutely follow with glee.

black box Where to Get It: Futureman Records (digital–preorder here), Kool Kat Musik (CDs–preorder here), and Rock Indiana (link to come)

bob of the pops vol. 2Robyn Gibson | Bob of the Pops Vol. 2 (2017)
My love for cool covers of melodic pop songs from across the decades knows no bounds, so it was a fait accompli that a second dip into the treasure trove of Robyn Gibson’s favorite pop nuggets would stir my interest.

And so it has. I raved about Bob of the Pops Vol. 1 back in May; if anything, I feel more strongly about this collection, and that’s really saying something. This time around, “Bob” has essayed some truly spectacular wares with truly spectacular results by such artists as the Tremeloes, the Byrds, Abba, the Soft Boys, the Who, and the Dukes of Stratosphear (aka XTC). He’s also taken flight, in similarly spectacular fashion, with the Monkees’ “Girl that I Knew Somewhere” and Matthew Sweet’s “I’ve Been Waiting.” And a little group from Liverpool’s “There’s a Place.”

Once again, “Bob,” in his various pseudonymous guises, has played all the instruments and sung all the vocal parts. It’s all to, yes, spectacular, highly enjoyable effect, and it’s a free download from Futureman Records’ Bandcamp page, leaving you and yours to simply click the proper links and enjoy. Volume three please, “Bob,” and soonest, if you will.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the bye bye blackbirds take out the poison coverThe Bye Bye Blackbirds | Take Out the Poison (2017)
Bradley Skaught’s Oakland, California-based outfit have been strong performers of the melodic pop art since arriving on the scene in 2006 with their Honeymoon EP. This full-length effort, their latest release, is their best offering yet, with 11 finely wrought, emotionally charged songs that will surely take root in listener’s hearts.

Highlights are many, and varied. The aggressive pop-rocker “Alfred Starr Hamilton” pops hard with lots of guitars and an enticing melody. “Let Your Hair Fall Down” is an out-and-out pop workout, complete with horns, sounding right out of the J. Geils playbook. The mid-tempo country ballad, “Duet,” features strings and a lovely vocal by Lindsay Paige Garfield, who co-wrote the song with Bradley. And “Poison Love,” a fiercely upbeat country rocker, carries a lineage that goes as far back as 1951, when Johnnie and Jack hit big with the Elmer Laird tune on no less than three Billboard country charts.

Take Out the Poison is no less than one of this year’s finest releases. Take a bow, Bradley Skaught, Aaron Rubin, Lenny Gill, KC Bowman, and so many other fine performers. Pop, and rock, on.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

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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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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:

Benjamin Gibbard, Circe Link and Christian Nesmith, and More on this Tuesday’s Night’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show; Plus Jamie and Steve on In Conversation and, Yes, Thursday Night!

pure pop radio radioAnother power-packed run of Pure Pop’s signature shows on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio is set to fly out of your Internet receptacle speaker beginning tomorrow night.

pop tunes disc smallFirst up is the latest all-new edition of Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, kicking off at 8 pm ET tomorrow night. You will most certainly dig the latest from Death Cab for Cutie’s Benjamin Gibbard, a cover of Teenage Fanclub’s sprightly popper, “What You Do to Me”; Circe Link and Christian Nesmith’s “I’m On Your Side,” from the new compilation This is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio Vol. 4; The Surfin’ Burritos’ Buddy Holly-meets-the-Ramones “All Over You”; Bill DeMain’s “Honey Bear”; and much more. Plus the usual smattering of deejay patter from me!

in conversation new graphic blueWednesday night, August 16 at 9 pm ET, an all-new Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation takes over the airwaves. This week, Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel, better known as Jamie and Steve, sit virtually across from me to talk about their new release, Sub Textural. It’s another wide-ranging chat–the type you will only hear on the Internet’s premiere melodic pop talk show.

pop tunes disc smallFinally, on Thursday night, August 17 at 8 pm ET, another edition of the Pop Tunes Deejay Show rolls with a potpourri-style mix of melodic pop tunes from across the decades. The playlist is a secret right now, but stay tuned for some tasty clues to what will be spinning for your ears only.

jamie and steve sub texturalSet your alarm clocks and calendar pages for tomorrow night at 8 pm ET for the Pop Tunes Deejay Show; Wednesday night at 9 pm ET for Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation; and Thursday night at 8 pm ET for this week’s second, potpourri-style mix of great tunes on another edition of Pop Tunes. A great time will be had by all.

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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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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:

New on Pure Pop Radio 08.08.17: Special Karla Kane/Fun of the Pier All Aboard 2017 Tour Edition

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Spins and Reviews | 08.08.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Karla Kane | King’s Daughters Home For Incurables (2017)
Fun of the Pier | 14:42 (2017)

It’s the voices that bind these two superlative releases together. It’s as if the recording of each release was purposeful in that regard, as if these releases were functioning as the last two, most important pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, fitting side by side to reveal a sweet visual treat, although this treat–these treats–are primarily aural in nature but no less sweet.

karla kane king's daughters home for incurables coverEvaluating these releases necessitates considering some correlations. Songbird Karla Kane, whose sound hearkens to classic artists such as Claire Hamill and Kate Rusby, also plays in California popsters The Corner Laughers with her husband Khoi Huynh, pop music’s not-so-secret weapon KC Bowman, and Charlie Crabtree. Here, she steps into the spotlight with her first solo album, King’s Daughters Home for Incurables, her lovely vocals in play throughout its 11 song stretch. Sweet-voiced Helen Luker, who plays in Fun of the Pier with her husband Mark and Richard Hattersley, is the glue that holds 14:42, the group’s first long player, together as its program of 13 songs plays through. Each release holds true to itself, exploring its various, intrinsic nooks and crannies with aplomb.

What’s more, Karla and Fun of the Pier are touring together in California this September, with singular dates for each occurring in the UK and Germany in October. Perhaps there is more that binds these artists together. Perhaps there is a style of coffee the various members all prefer, or a mode of transportation they all would rather employ to get to here from there. Whatever the case, these artists prefer and deliver good songs performed with style and grace; both attributes are in abundant supply on these two albums.

Listeners familiar with The Corner Laughers’ releases will instantly be attracted to the songs on King’s Daughters Home for Incurables; they are, like those on the Laughers’ Poppy Seeds and Matilda Effect, tuneful and melodic. The difference here is that these songs, with the possible exception of two Corner remakes–“Midsommar” and “Grasshopper Clock”–are more folky in nature. The term modern folk comes to mind.

Among the pleasures offered on King’s Daughters Home for Incurables are “Lilac Line” and the title song, which sound like numbers that would fit comfortably on an album released by Elektra Records, had that label’s folk era been ensconced in the present day. The otherworldly “All Aboard” is the welcome, odd duck about these premises, adopting a traveling, train-inspired beat along its path that builds from a treble and bass clef percussive piano riff to add guitar strums, harmonies and subtly rendered percussion. If this album offers up a not-like-the-others showcase, this is it.

fun of the pier 1442Hailing from Nottingham in the UK, Fun of the Pier favors, on 14:42, a bright, happy folk-pop sound that pleases as handily as Karla Kane’s more intrinsically acoustic-based folk approach on King’s Daughters Home for Incurables. Songs such as “Past/Future” and “(In My) Time” are drenched in lovely, clever and catchy melodies and beautiful lead and harmony vocals. Others, such as the beautiful ballads “Lost and Lazy” and “I Live this Life (She Said),” hearken to classic artists such as Claire Hamill and Kate Rusby (and there is another correlation worth noting). 14:42 is a wonderful, delightful collection of songs, expertly performed.

Both Karla Kane and Fun of the Pier please and entertain in the same way that the best magicians approach their art: they don’t call attention to how they do it. They simply imbue their songs and performances with honesty and skill and let the results speak for themselves. Both King’s Daughters Home for Incurables and 14:42 are perfect for these and all times to come.

black box Songs from Karla Kane’s King’s Daughters Home for Incurables and Fun of the Pier’s 14:42 play on Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show, heard Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 pm ET on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio
black box Where to Get It: Karla Kane’s King’s Daughters Home For Incurables releases October 6 and will be available from The Corner Laughers’ Bandcamp page ; Fun of the Pier’s 14:42 releases September 1 and will be available at CD Baby (check back for link)

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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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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:

And the winner of June and the Exit Wounds’ “a little more Haven Hamilton, please” on Vinyl is…

june and the exit wounds vinyl photo…Andrew Milstead. Congratulations, Andrew! One of the great soft pop albums of all time, June and the Exit Wounds’ “a little more Haven Hamilton, please” is a must for any collection. Spinning it on vinyl is an extra-special treat!

Thanks to everyone who entered. More cool Pure Pop contests are coming. Watch this space!

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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.

pop tunes disc smallin conversation new graphic blueListen 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:

Special Contest: Win June and the Exit Wounds’ “a little more Haven Hamilton, please” on Vinyl, with Bonus EP

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june and the exit wounds vinyl photoBack at the tail end of the 1990s, a veritable lifetime ago it seems, Todd Fletcher, working with popster Ellis Clark, perhaps best known to Pure Pop Radio followers as a member of Epicycle, fashioned a lovely, genre-defining album of luscious, melodic, classic harmony-filled soft pop under the perhaps unlikely name June and the Exit Wounds.

The 1999 album, titled “a little more Haven Hamilton, please,” delivers a whole lot of joy with its aural allusions to, most especially, Todd Rundgren’s Something/Anything? phase and the Beach Boys and the Big Dish and Danny Wilson and, likely, countless other masters of melodic excellence. The first song, the very Rundgren-esque soft popper “How Much I Really Loved You,” tells you all you need to know. It’s gorgeous through and through.

As is the entire album. Back in 1999, when “a little more Haven Hamilton, please” was released by Parasol Records, Pure Pop Radio received a number of vinyl copies, which was accompanied by a vinyl EP that contains two demos of songs not on the album. I recently discovered these in our archives; one of them can be yours.

No soft pop collection is complete without this album. On vinyl, it’s quite a catch. To enter, simply fill out the form below–be sure to include your email address and type “June” in the Comment field–and send it on its way.

Entries must be received by this Friday, August 4 at 6 pm ET. One entry per person. Only US residents, this time around. Good luck!

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