Welcome to Pure Pop Radio’s Favorite Records of the Year: Stars of ’14!

stars-5Alan Haber: Proud Music Geek!I have long believed that of the many instruments that help to bring a great song to life, the human voice is capable of the most expression (sleigh bells come in at number two, in case you were wondering). Moreover, the magic that results from a group of people who come together to make a glorious sound that resonates with an audience is incontrovertible proof that music is the fuel that makes the cool kids sing.

The cool kids sang rather sweetly in 2014, a great year for melodic pop music. Whether driving the beat of a song or singing in five-part harmony, artists were inspired to create lasting art in the form of two-, three- and four-minute songs that added value to people’s lives. There is a reason–probably more than one–that great songs stand the test of time, some sounding  as fresh as the day they were born, even decades after they were recorded. And make no mistake–many of the songs that made their way to turntables and CD players this year have that kind of staying power.

Even after 20 years of writing about and broadcasting pop music to the masses, I am still dazzled by much of what I hear. The thrill of discovery is present every time I sit down and prepare to listen. I want every note that fills the room to explode with joy. And, more often than not, I am rewarded with that certain something that drives me to play music on the radio and gather words together to communicate that joy. For me, the magic is still alive and well and lighting my world.

Which brings me to 21 magical records that helped make 2014 a banner year for melodic pop music. I’ve made no attempt to rank them or present them within categories. It is impossible for me to make a distinction between the fourth and fifth best albums of the year, so I haven’t even tried. What follows are simply 21 of my favorite releases of the year: the stars of 2014, if you will–a group of records that will enrich your life in ways that may well surprise you. And they’re presented in no particular order. There were many more records that touched my soul this year; these are the top of the pops. At the very least, they will put a smile on your face, and as the late writer Derek Taylor might have opined, you really can’t say fairer than that. – Alan Haber

And now, in no particular order, please join me in ushering in the Stars of ’14: Pure Pop Radio’s Favorite Records of the Year!

joe-sullivanJoe Sullivan | Schlock Star Coming seemingly out of nowhere, Joe Sullivan and his debut album, Schlock Star, knocked me clean off my feet. Joe’s keenly observed pop songs, about girls and boys and boys and girls and other related topics, are perfect examples of the arts of clever songwriting and performance. In my review of this album, published on September 2 on this site, I said that “Sullivan makes tracks that stick and stack up for imminent replay.” I also stated, without reservation, that  “This is Sullivanmania, attended by screaming fans who dig the sounds of one of the best records of 2014.” No doubt you’ll be hearing a lot more about Joe in the coming years. Joe, as you may have already figured, is the real deal.

marti-jonesMarti Jones | You’re Not the Bossa Me What I know about bossa nova music could fit on the rightmost quadrant of the head of a pin, but thanks to Marti Jones’ radiant album that adds more than a splash of melodic pop to the turntable, I’m something of an expert. Well, not really, but I know what I like and I like the latest chapter of Jones’ music a lot. When I added all of these songs to the Pure Pop Radio playlist on July 9, I said in my playlist report that this is “pop music for discerning listeners….” And indeed it is. I also noted that the songs, “written by [Kelley] Ryan, [Don] Dixon, Bill DeMain, [Paul] Cebar and others, are brought to life with Jones’ magical voice. Jones has never sounded better.” It’s always a celebration when Jones releases a new album. If you think this one is great, well, just wait until the next one spins.

legal-matters-largeThe Legal Matters | The Legal Matters Some albums feel right after only a few notes play. And when the harmonies kick in–when the melodies surround me and take me to some other place–I’m putty in the musicians’ hands. Such was my experience with this debut album by three well-known musicians who came together to form the Legal Matters. In other words, they’re the Rockpile of the melodic pop world. It’s all in the music, I said in my July 23 feature review; the “harmony-drenched law firm of [Andy] Reed, [Chris] Richards and [Keith] Klingensmith” delivers the goods. This is “good, good music for when the snow falls, for when spring turns to summer, during a light rain, and for when fall signals the end of baseball season and the year moves into its closing phase. It’s good for what ails you, a prescription that works wonders no matter the season or circumstance.” It’s really great, and it’s one of my favorite records of 2014.

ed-woltilEd Woltil | Paper Boats, A Reverie in Thirteen Acts The beautiful songs that populate this wonderful album from the Ditchflowers’ Ed Woltil are a wonder to behold. Melody is king and beauty is on display in each of the melodic gems currently playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. Whether he’s wearing his straight-ahead pop hat on the catchy “Algebra” or crooning softly and emotionally on the beautiful waltz, “Dance With Me One More Time,” Woltil is capturing our hearts. I called this a hall-of-fame-worthy release when I wrote about it in my July 9 station update; four months later, its position remains unchanged. A stellar release from a huge talent.

dave-3Dave Caruso | Cardboard Vegas Roundabout When I reviewed this album on September 17, I testified, up front, about it glorious wonders: “This kind of thing, this magical musical mixture exhibiting the tasty influences of Barry Manilow, the Carpenters, the Beach Boys and, hey why not, Paul McCartney, is a thing of beauty, an artful excursion that can and will enrich your life, take you to your happy places and prove to you that good things absolutely do come in all manner of packages–small, medium, large and beyond.” What more do you need to know, except that these songs should absolutely have a place in your life. Caruso’s Beach Boys/Carpenters homage, “Champion,” alone makes this album a worthy purchase. Cardboard Vegas Roundabout is so good and so tasty that many of the other CDs in your collection will aspire to achieve its greatness. Simply fantastic.

bill-lloyd-reset2014Bill Lloyd | Reset2014 Bill Lloyd has been a huge part of the Pure Pop Radio playlist since his career-making Set to Pop was released in 1994. On the occasion of the album’s 20th anniversary, Bill has recreated that mind-blowing collection with wonderfully-updated remakes and early and live takes. Reset2014 is as much a look back as it is a reinvention. “On the list of Best Records Ever Made,” I noted in my October 29 review, “Set to Pop must sit comfortably alongside similarly great waxings drawn from the catalogs of other great artists.” “With Reset2014,” I wrote, “Bill Lloyd has taken pause to smell the roses from 20 years ago and replant them for future generations.” This is such a great achievement from one of pop music’s greatest artists.

the-britannicasThe Britannicas | High Tea Album number two from this international melodic pop supergroup checks off many of the must-haves on power pop fans’ lists: Byrds musings, gorgeous balladry, jangle, harmonies and hooks galore. Veteran U.S. popster Herb Eimerman, who we’ve been playing on Pure Pop Radio for somewhere in the neighborhood of18 years, Australia’s Joe Algeri, and Magnus Karlsson from Sweden have served up a spot of High Tea that all told constitutes a truly classic collection.

myrtle-parkMyrtle Park’s Fishing Club | Nothing to Be Afraid Of A total surprise, this is perhaps the brightest, most inventive, most sincere and happiest-sounding melodic work of the year. Kate Stephenson, trading under the delightful band name Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club, had written a range of songs that recall the best of the Roches, the Dream Academy and Prefab Sprout, but come alive as uniquely her own creations. The deeply-felt, dense harmonies alone are more than worth the price of admission. Plus, the artwork and hand-lettered lyrics in the accompanying booklet prove that the album package is still alive out there in the world. One of the most truly special albums of this or any other year.

robert-crenshawRobert Crenshaw | Friends, Family and Neighbors Speaking of truly special albums, here is one from the great Robert Crenshaw. “One of the sweetest surprises of the year is this joyous celebration of the love of the clever, catchy song,” I wrote in my October 30 feature review. Pairing a couple of covers, including one of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” which features Marshall, Dean and John Crenshaw, with seven originals and a surprise bonus track, Crenshaw turns in his best album to date, tackling such diverse subjects as “…the upside of improbability (the lovely, hymn-like “The Night the Detroit Lions Won the Super Bowl”), familiarity in the face of love (the Bill Lloyd co-write, “You’re So Hip to Me”), detachment versus reality (“What if I’m Really Dead?”), and hiding behind the wall of booze (the gospel-tinged “Turn to Booze”).” A wonderful album, beautifully realized.

the-rubinoosThe Rubinoos | 45 In my November 10 feature review, I wrote that “this latest album from the melodic pop band’s melodic pop band is a master class in songwriting and performing that should be at the top of your holiday gift-giving lists.” 45 is stone-cold triumph–a standout album in a career teeming with them. Among the treasures on offer, besides the great voice of Jon Rubin and some of the best harmonies on the planet, is one of the best tracks recorded by any artist this year–a lovingly-rendered a cappella (with percussion) version of Lou Christie’s classic, “Rhapsody in the Rain,” that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and drive you to recall the classic sound of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Tommy Dunbar originals like the buoyant “I Love Louie Louie” and the upbeat “Countdown to Love,” which tips its hat to the Paul Revere and the Raiders playbook, are modern day classics. Long may the Rubinoos run.

peter-laceyPeter Lacey | Last Leaf Tender and loving and from the heart, Last Leaf bristles with warmth and genuine emotion. Lacey harkens back to his folk roots, taking inspriation from ” the circles of everyday, country life: on patches of grass surrounded by sprouting trees, and by the water, on a calmly-stated lake. Lacey’s new songs are about the simpler, and more important, things in life; every element of this album is calm and soothing and powerful,” I wrote in my station update on July 7. Beautiful songs like “The Woodwind” and “Boy in the Rings of a Tree” populate this entire album, a treasure by any definition of the word.

jamie-two-everJamie Hoover | Jamie Two Ever Pop music’s premiere journeyman returns with a sort-of sequel to 2004’s Jamie Hoo-Ever, and boy does he deliver. Seven originals, eight covers (only on the CD), and a million reasons to keep this album in hot rotation at your pad. As I said in my station update on October 28, “From ace covers of a couple of Beatles tunes and the Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” to a host of originals, including the joyous, almost-completely a cappella “Press Save”; the lovely, gentle Steve Stoeckel co-write, “Lost”; and the bluesy “Oh Darlin’!”-esque “You Took Away the Birds,” Jamie Two Ever practically redefines the word ‘classic.’

kylie-whitney-2Kylie Whitney | Something About Ghosts With a soulful approach and a refreshing touch of honesty, Kylie Whitney has released a classic-sounding album stocked with a wide range of emotions, all conveyed with authority. Although the album is chiefly comprised of originals, most of which were co-written with producer Michael Carpenter, Whitney does deliver a tender read of Don McLean’s “Vincent.” “Bad News Baby” finds Whitney in fine ’60s girl-group mettle, and “Tealite” shines an emotional light on her somewhat fragile vocal. Everything here points to a singer with a bright future.

mylittlebrothermylittlebrother | If We Never Came Down One of the coolest discoveries of the year. Here’s how I summed things up in my October 24 station update: “As perfect as a beautiful day in the country or a clear, wondrous night under the stars, mylittlebrother is a wonderful British band that specializes in lovely, clever, insanely catchy pop songs that capture the imaginations of listeners. Entrancing melodies, gorgeous harmonies and a sense of humanity make this album the find of the year.” The opener, the joyously hopping mid-tempo “Loves of Life, Unite!” and the early rock ‘n’ roll stroll-meets-Teenage Fanclub vibe of “My Hypocritical Friend” are only two of the musical pleasures to be savored. Wonderful.

sam-rbSam RB | Finding Your Way Home Here is a truly lovely album full of truly lovely songs by a New Zealand singer-songwriter who makes truly beautiful music. Here is what I said in my October 28 station update: “Finding Your Way Home features Sam’s beautiful, expressive voice and songs with melodies that will melt your heart.” Sam sings her heart out in such standout tunes as the folk-pop “Blue Sky Day,” the wonderfully catchy, hit-worthy “Say Goodbye,” and the should-be-hitbound and equally impressive title song. Don’t be surprised if Finding Your Way Home soon finds its way to your home.

dowling-poole-2The Dowling Poole | Bleak Strategies The perfect second act after the ashes of the much-missed band Jackdaw 4 had scattered, the Dowling Poole finds that band’s leader, Willie Dowling, teaming up with veteran musician Jon Poole for a similarly imaginative trip down the pop music rabbit hole. Bleak Strategies is hardly a bleak affair, though; rather, it’s a wondrous, album-length expression of strength in the art of composition and performance, with seemingly millions of influences synthesized down to one shared point of view. Full of surprises and all manner of left and right turns, this is your one-stop-shop for XTC-meets-10cc-meets-Kinks, Beatles and Frank Zappa-isms. Put simply, these are pop songs turned on their heads by two men fully poised to do the job right. Any album that segues effortlessly from banjo-fueled vaudeville to straight pop in the same song (the wild and wooly “Empires, Buildings and Acquisitions”) and lays their pop smarts bare with an early-to-late period XTC-like romp (the insanely catchy “A Kiss on the Ocean”) deserves your rapt attention. Grand.

vanishing-actEdward O’Connell | Vanishing Act Four years on from his 2010 debut, Our Little Secret, Edward O’Connell returns with, not surprisingly, another great record.  In our July 10 station update, I wrote that “Vanishing Act is everything a great melodic pop album should be and then some.” Songs include the insanely catchy “My Dumb Luck” (with its George Harrison-esque slide guitar lines), the equally infectious “Severance Kiss,” and “Lonely Crowd,” with a decidedly Tom Petty vibe. With not a single note or clever lyric wasted, Vanishing Act is one of this year’s greatest musical achievements.

linus-of-hollywoodLinus of Hollywood | Something Good Something great is more like it. “Nobody does it better,” Carly Simon once sang, and she might as well have been singing about Linus. His duet with the lovely Kelly Jones on the charming “If You Don’t Love Me You Gotta Let Me Go” is, all by itself, worth the price of admission. His gentle cover of Kiss’ “Beth” breathes new life into the old classic rock staple, putting added emphasis on the melody as welcome, real strings set the song aloft. Spectacular music, catchy as all get out, all the way through.

dana-pop-2Dana Countryman | Pop 2! The Exploding Musical Mind of Dana Countryman Dana Countryman turns the clock back to the panoramic 1970s as the Wayback Machine collects the songs that form the soundtrack of your life–if you’re a sweet, melodic pop fan, and by reading this you might as well flash yout membership card at the door, this is for you. Nobody does this kind of thing better than Countryman, who celebrates “…the kinds of songs they just don’t write and record anymore. His influences, from Gilbert O’Sullivan and Eric Carmen to the Beatles and beyond, are worn on his sleeves and  [are] bathed in his own, unique approach to songwriting and production.” That was my take on this album in my review from October 7. If you’re looking for a warm, musical glow to light your way, then look no further than this collection. It’s like what used to come out of transistor radios a long, long time ago, but it’s now coming from the here and now. Pop 3!, please.

mothboxerMothboxer | Sand and the Rain Mothboxer’s Dave Ody wears his heart, and his influences, on his sleeve on this wonderful new album. Mothboxer just keeps getting better, and this album is their best yet. The influence of the Beach Boys is apparent, however subtly, on the lively and engaging “In the Morning” and the enticing “Looking Out for Summer.” The title cut is clever, technicolor pop. The driving “We’re All Out of Our Minds” is upbeat and rather catchy. Overflowing with great songs, Sand and the Rain is a clear winner and, not surprisingly, one of the best albums of the year.

solicitorsThe Solicitors | Blank Check  Lee Jones’ energetic, widescreen pop songs, hooks always at the ready and raring to go, are fuel for the fire that is Australia’s the Solicitors. A wildly talented singer and songwriter, Jones, along with guitarist Laf Zee and crew tread towards the listener with equal parts vim, vigor and melody. The band means business and their business is clear: knock ’em down with Stiff-era enthusiasm and the joy of performance. One of these days, the Solicitors will venture away from Oz and hit American shores to spread their pop gospel. We patiently wait for that day, but until then we have this new album, one of the best of the year.

(All reviews written by Alan Haber)

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of 21 of Pure Pop Radio’s favorite albums of the year. These are the Stars of ’14: 21 artists with great songs that will enrich your lives and guarantee your status as one of the cool kids. Which artists and songs will make next year’s cut? See you in about 365 days for the answer to that question and many more! Thanks for reading, and thanks, as always, for listening to Pure Pop Radio!

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

Our New Music Explosion Continues and Our First Annual Favorite Records of the Year: Stars of ’14 Feature is Eight Days Away

i-love-music2014 has without question turned out to be a particularly great year for melodic pop music, and as in many previous years, the last few weeks have been top-loaded with sterling releases that prove that any time is a great time for great tunes.

We begin winding up the year with another list of artists and songs just added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. This time around we feature a couple of our favorites, two artists new to our air, and a surprise track pairing a pop star from across the decades with a new pop star, whose group made a bubblegum smash just two years ago. So let’s get our program off and running, shall we? (Check below for a note about where we’re going next.)

the-rubinoosThe Rubinoos | 45 Just released, this latest album from the melodic pop band’s melodic pop band is a master class in songwriting and performing that should be at the top of your holiday gift-giving lists. We think 45 is the Rubinoos’ best album, which is really saying something. More than anything, the group’s harmonies–always a shining hallmark of their sound–are better than ever, and Jon Rubin remains one of music’s greatest vocalists, regardless of genre. The group’s a cappella (with percussion) version of Lou Christie’s “Rhapsody in the Rain” is one of the standout tracks released by any band this or any other year. Donning the melodic skin of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, it’s nothing less than breathtaking. The doo-wop-meets-early rock ‘n’ roll tribute to Richard Berry’s classic “Louie Louie,” “I Love Louie Louie,” is a smile-inducing tip o’ the hat to the pleasures of the passion of a song that’s been misunderstood for decades. And the upbeat bopper, “Countdown to Love,” sounds like something right out of Paul Revere and the Raiders’ playbook. With great, crisp, clear sound and passion to spare, 45 is one of this year’s finest platters, and we’re playing the whole thing in rotation: “Run Mascara Run,” “Graveyard Shift,” “I Love Louie Louie,” “Does Suzie Like Boys,” “Countdown to Love,” “What More Can You Ask of a Friend,” “Party Insurance,” “You Are Here,” “Rhapsody in the Rain,” “That Thing You Do,” “Kangaroo Court,” “All It Takes,” and “She’s Driving Me Crazy.”

secret-powers-6Secret Powers | 6 Montana’s own power pop magicians are back with their sixth long-player, a delectable collection of–let’s not be shy about it–instantly enjoyable pop songs with surprising turns and the kind of melodies that only come from seasoned, natural talents. Ryan “Shmedly” Maynes and crew have outdone themselves with nine brilliant slices of smile-inducing pop that exhibit more than a hint of Jeff Lynne in their DNA. From the ELO-ish “Spare Parts” to the opener, “Bitter Sun,” with its lovely choral section, and the Stiff label echoes of “The Way the Story Goes,” this is the hot pop potato of the moment. We’re playing the entire album in rotation: all of the aforementioned tracks, plus “Palarium,” “Reservoir,” “She’s Electrical,” “Paula Brown,” “New Moon,” and “Ready to Get Old and Die.” A wonderful, late year surprise.

Myracle Brah | The Peach EP Imagine our complete surprise to find that one of the first bands wmyracle-brahe played religiously on the old, weekly Pure Pop Radio show had released a brand new EP, a fantastic quartet of recordings that does no less than restore your faith in the power of power pop (we’re playing all of them in rotation). Andy Bopp and crew have come up a clear winner with the Big Star-influenced “Sleeping in My Car”; the mid-tempo ballad “Alicent in Time” (complete with great harmonies); ” the psych-pop instrumental “Red Eye #2”; and a lively, lovely cover of the Troggs’ “With a Girl Like You.” We’re playing all four songs in rotation. Side note: Bopp has released a solo EP called Time to Rock that pays tribute, in glorious one-track-mono, to the early days of rock. End-of-the-year presents for music fans everywhere!

tony-and-vernTony Valentino featuring Vern Shank of the Cherry Drops | “I Believe, I Believe” Here is another late-year surprise, pairing an original member of the Standells with Vern Shank from the Cherry Drops, whose 2012 debut, Everything’s Groovy, continues to be a Pure Pop Radio favorite. Valentino plays guitar, bass and sings backup vocals on “I Believe, I Believe,” while Shank sings the lead and harmony vocal. Garage rock-meets-bubblegum in this modern day classic track, which is currently spinning in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. A real treasure! (That’s Tony on the left and Vern on the right in the picture. All hail rock ‘n’ roll!)

deadbeat-poetsDeadbeat Poets | Hallelujah Anyway The latest, just-released long-player from Deadbeat Poets glistens with a wide variety of pop ‘n’ roll tunes that position them at the top of the beat-meets-melody ladder. We’re playing eight great songs from this exciting record: “Baby Doll,” “Love Is On the Right Beat,” “Getting Over You,” “Johnny Sincere,” “A Dark-Haired Girl in Piccadilly Circus,” “The Bag I’m In,” “There Ain’t No One But You,” and “Falling Without Annette.” A terrific record all the way through.

john-hunter-phillipsJohn Hunter Phillips | John Hunter Phillips and the Hurricane Beach Band Here’s the best Beach Boys album released in 2014, from a man who’s not actually in the Beach Boys, but has sung on stage with the band. A tremendous singer who understands and can inhabit the Beach Boys sound like no one else in recent memory, Phillips has recorded a wonderful album full of Boys of Summer-esque songs, from the glorious, harmony-filled “Darlene” to the clever and catchy tribute to the individual Beach Boys, “Dennis, Carl, Alan, Brian, Bruce and Mike (and David)” that features outta site harmonies and a great melody. The limited, deluxe edition of this album includes a second CD jam-packed with alternate versions of the songs, including a number of a cappella takes that will blow your mind in all directions. We’re playing 15 tunes, including “Stay in Kaneohe,” “Back in Hawaii,” “Backseat Driver,” “Darlene,” “I Don’t Feel Bad Anymore,” “The Girl in the Rearview Mirror (2014 Driving Version),” “The Ghost of Hurricane Beach,” “If We Ever Need a Super Man,” “Not So Fast,” “You Can’t Do It Alone,” “I’ll Get Right Back to You” (a duet with Pure Pop Radio favorite, Dana Countryman), “Dennis, Carl, Alan, Brian, Bruce and Mike (and David),” Back in Hawaii (a cappella),” “Backseat Driver (a cappella),” and “Love’s Song.” Superb.

robert-crenshaw-2Robert Crenshaw | Atheist Christmas Hot on the heels of adding to our playlist the whole of Robert’s new album, Friends, Family and Neighbors, we’re adding three songs from his 2012 EP. You’ll have to wait until our second annual Christmas Extravaganza, beginning at noon ET on Christmas Eve day, to hear the title cut, but the second, third and fourth tracks are now spinning in rotation, and they’re typically wonderful: “Breakdown in the Passing Lane,” “23 1/2 Degrees,” and Neil Young’s “Don’t Let it Bring You Down.” We’re happy to be playing so many treasures from Robert on Pure Pop Radio.

bell-gardensBell Gardens | Slow Dawns for Lost Conclusions Another just-released album makes its way to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. We’re playing three beautiful, passionate numbers that will wash over you with a peaceful, easy feeling: “Sail,” “She’s Stuck in the Endless Loop of Her Decline,” and “Take Us Away.”

Duncan Faure | Machine from the Other Side We’ll have more coming duncan-faurefrom the great Duncan Faure in the near future, but for now dig four wonderful pop songs that put the spotlight on Duncan, a pounding, percussive piano, and a decidedly strong, early Elton John influence: “Billy in the Big Band,” “Hullo Baby,” “Leaves,” and “England Doesn’t Sleep.” Great stuff.

That’s it for today. As hinted above, we’ll be taking a bit more than a week off while Alan undergoes and recuperates from surgery. We’ll be back on Tuesday, November 18 with our first annual Favorite Records of the Year: Stars of ’14 feature. See you then! And, while we’re gone, keep listening to Pure Pop Radio (listening links below).

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

Listen Up! Check Out Even More New Songs Added to the Pure Pop Radio Playlist! It’s More of Our New Music Explosion!

celebration-2Check it out: We’re turning today–day 10–of our ongoing New Music Explosion into a celebration. Well, every day over the past two weeks has been a celebration of the greatest pop in the universe. So let’s shout and dance the night away to some of the latest adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist.

Here’s a half-dozen nuggets now playing in rotation for your listening, dancing and romancing pleasure:

lannie-flowersLannie Flowers | Live in NYC Longtime Pure Pop Radio favorite plugs in and wows patrons at Brooklyn’s Trash Bar with the cool sounds of power pop. What more can we say, other than we’re now spinning nine tracks from this energy-filled album, including Big Star’s “Back of a Car (Radio Remix),” “Give Me a Chance,” “Favorite Song,” “Where Does Love Go,” “Come On Girl,” “Another Weekend,” “Rusty Circles,” “Circles,” and “Turn Up Your Radio.” Power pop in the borough of Brooklyn rocks!

robert-crenshawRobert Crenshaw | Friends, Family and Neighbors One of the sweetest surprises of the year is this joyous celebration of the love of the clever, catchy song. In these nine wonderful and witty tunes, Robert Crenshaw looks at the upside of improbability (the lovely, hymn-like “The Night the Detroit Lions Won the Super Bowl”), familiarity in the face of love (the Bill Lloyd co-write, “You’re So Hip to Me”), detachment versus reality (“What if I’m Really Dead?”), and hiding behind the wall of booze (the gospel-tinged “Turn to Booze”). Add in gorgeous covers of Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand” and Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (the latter featuring Marshall, Dean and John Crenshaw), and guest turns from Graham Maby and Don Dixon, and you’ve got a a miraculous entry in this year’s best-of sweepstakes. We’re actually spinning all of the songs on this album–all of the above and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Revisited,” “Everything in its Place,” “In Its Place,” “Down Here in Heaven,” and “Cowgirl in the Sand (Hidden track).” Simply fantastic.

myrtle-parkMyrtle Park’s Fishing Club | Nothing to Be Afraid Of From completely out of left field comes this delicious collection of sweet, happy-sounding pop from Kate Stephenson, trading under one of the most delightful band names in like ever. From the delightful, truly musical close background harmony vocals (all Kate) to the genius songs, this will become an instant favorite before the first song is finished playing. You’ll hear a mix of touchstones within these dozen songs, all of which we’re playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. The Roches (especially on the astounding, a cappella “Why Do I Cry?”), the Dream Academy, Prefab Sprout, and so on creep in and out of the mix, but it’s Kate’s incredible talent that shines through strongest of all. Here’s what you will hear in rotation: “Nothing to Be Afraid Of,” “Wonderful You,” “This Kind of Longing,” “Colour the  Blue,” “Dancing on My Doorstep,” “Bad News,” “Keep on Dreaming,” “Afternoon Moon,” “Goodnight My Darling,” “Lazy Baby,” and “Widest Smile.”

jeff-larsonJeff Larson | Close Circle We’ve been spinning Jeff Larson’s records since he first burst onto the soft pop scene with Watercolor Sky in 1998. Jeff’s instantly recognizable sound charms listeners each time out. We’re proudly playing four songs from his latest full length, and we can’t wait for you to hear them: “Rescue,” “Following the Echoes,” “Goodbye Ocean Street Beaches,” and “The Lay of the Land.”

george-usher-and-lisa-burnsGeorge Usher and Lisa Burns | The Last Day of Winter We’ve missed the warmth that George Usher’s timeless music has brought to our airwaves over the years. Color us so happy to have new songs to spin from the duets album he’s recorded with Lisa Burns. Despite not being able to use his hands or play an instrument during the two harsh years he was dealing with a cancer diagnosis and attending neuropathy pain, he was able to craft a set of lyrics which Burns set to music. We’re playing four of these delicate songs: “Wake Me When Tomorrow’s Here,” “My Precious Wisdom,” “Dark Blue Room,” and “Never Ever Land.” Welcome back, George.

rick-hromadkaRick Hromadka | Trippin’ Dinosaurs If you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack for the hazy moments that pass between the time you close your eyes and fall asleep, this is your go-to platter. Trippy, hippy, top-notchy and charged with elastic, melodic goodness, Trippin’ Dinosaurs takes psychedelic pop to the outer limits and blasts the dark away with a lively, smiley-faced collection of songs shot full of imagination and a whole lot of fun. Rick Hromadka (Maple Mars), take a bow. We’re playing six of these great songs: “Conversation,” “It’s All in Your Head,” “Dreams of a Hippie Summer,” “Twice a Sunny Day Tomorrow,” “Tough Love Letter Bomb,” and “Listen I’m Waiting to Sleep.”

There ya go! Day 10 is done, but day 11 is just around the corner…next week, in fact, so see you here then for another list of new adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist!

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