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:

Robyn Gibson’s Bob of the Pops Vol. One is in the Spotlight Tomorrow on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation

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robyn gibsonThe Junipers’ Robyn Gibson pops by Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation tomorrow to chat about his (in our words) “buoyant exercise in the art of homage,” Bob of the Pops Vol. 1. We’re so excited for you to hear this rather charming conversation that we’re airing it twice tomorrow, May 31: noon and 8 pm (both times ET).

bob of the pops front coverBob of the Pops Vol. 1 gathers together 14 glorious, sweetly-sung covers of some of Robyn’s favorite songs from (mostly) the 1960s and 1970s. These mostly reverent renditions of such beloved chestnuts as The Beatles’ “Nowhere Man,” The Who’s “I Can’t Reach You,” and The Hollies’ “Listen to Me” star in this collection that is a free download on Bandcamp (run, don’t walk!).

Robyn says fun is the point of these recordings, and he’s absolutely right–if you close your eyes, you can actually feel the fun just dripping from these covers of some of the greatest pop songs of all time. You’ll hear all about how Robyn approached recording and a whole lot more.

As a bonus, and to whet your appetite for Bob of the Pops Vol. 2, which will be available from Futureman Records before you know it, you’ll hear Robyn talk about one of the tracks contained therein: his version of The Dukes of Stratosphear’s “Vanishing Girl” (sounding so much like The Hollies). Bring it on!

Don’t miss The Junipers’ Robyn Gibson talking with me on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation about Bob of the Pops Volumes 1 and 2, tomorrow at both noon ET and 8 pm ET. See you on the radio.

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New on Pure Pop Radio 05.15.17: Robyn Gibson’s Bob of the Pops Vol. 1, Cirrone, The Cool Whips, and More

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Spins and Reviews | 05.15.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Robyn Gibson | Bob of the Pops Vol. 1 (2017)
bob of the pops front coverA buoyant exercise in the art of homage, Bob of the Pops Vol. 1 finds The Junipers’ multi-instrumentalist Robyn Gibson having a good old time putting his warm, wide-eyed spin on 14 favorite songs. This free download on Bandcamp is the bargain release of the year and, quite surely, one of the best collections we’ve heard in ages.

The reason for that? Bob of the Pops Vol. 1 is fun to listen to; every song essayed bears Gibson’s unmistakable stamp, his softhearted vocals casting a warm glow over every melody line and emotional keystone communicated. In his hands, these classic constructs breathe new life into familiar musical landscapes.

robyn gibsonThe Beatles’ “Nowhere Man,” certainly a familiar and iconic number, fairly drips with the joy Gibson obviously had recording it. The opening, harmony drenched a cappella couplet is sweetly delivered; the song reveals itself as a modern-day folk song, every harmonic element glimmering with life and hope. The Hollies’ “Listen to Me” adopts a bit of a softer pace than the original, the soft harmonies taking a smidge off of the edge of the proceedings for a bit of a warmer performance.

Similarly, The Who’s “I Can’t Reach You” feels more personal, and again it’s Gibson’s assured, sweet vocal harmonies that do the trick. Tracey Ullman’s 1983 top 10 “They Don’t Know” practically glows with charm. And just to show he has a sense of humor, or because he knows, as do we all (probably), Gibson rolls through the theme song to the 1970s television smash, Laverne and Shirley, in a kind of England Dan and John Ford Coley-meets-The Ramones way. Sort of sweet punk, short and delicious.

bob of the pops back coverA collection that purports to be brought to life by such musicians as born-as-anagrams Boryng Bison and Sonny Orbbig, bridges the gap between a Beatles classic and a well-known soundalike homage (The Rutles’ “With a Girl Like You”), and sits comfortably within a wrapper designed to mirror the presentation of the old British Top of the Pops album series (with the Leave it to Beaver-ish “Bob,” a staid pipe in hand, subbing for the usual sexy model depicted), deserves a place in your heart.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “They Don’t Know,” “With a Girl Like You,” “I Can’t Reach You,” “Yes I Will,” “He Doesn’t Love You Like I Do,” “Strawberries are Growing in My Garden,” “Did I Say,” “Nowhere Man,” “How Long,” “Making Our Dreams Come True,” “Listen to Me,” and “The End/Listen for You,” a Gibson original
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

cirrone kings for a nightCirrone | Kings for a Night (2017)
The extended play, studio followup to Alessandro, Bruno, and Mirko Cirrone’s 2011 Uplands Park Road shares near total lineage with that classic album; four of its songs were first worked on during the Uplands sessions. The upbeat, Badfinger-ish pop-rockers “Everything’s Fine Now” and “It’s Gonna Be the Right Time,” the swaying charm of “Love Comes Again (Radio Edit),” and the gorgeous mid-tempo ballad, “Unforgotten Dream” continue the brothers’ time-honored tradition of mixing melodic vocalizing with strong instrumentation for a catchy, knockout musical punch. A full-length album is intended to follow this five-song taster, to which we say we can’t wait.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Everything’s Fine Now,” “It’s Gonna Be the Right Time,” “Unforgotten Dream,” and “Love Comes Again (Radio Edit)”
black box Where to Get It: CD Baby, Bandcamp

the cool whips baddiesThe Cool Whips | Baddies (2017)
Naturally, the follow-up to Portland, Oregon’s 2014 long-player debut Goodies goes by the name Baddies, but it’s a joke, son, so don’t get your knickers in a twist…unless your appetite for good old pop ‘n’ roll has bit the dust. To wit: The Farfisa-powered “Linda Lu,” all thump and bop and circumstance, is an exciting, primal listen; “Time Will Tell” sounds like it emerged through a time portal connected to a garage in 1965; “Splash” plops playfully beat by beat with Beatles bops; and “Inside Outsider” fashions an upbeat Monkees vibe for two toe-tapping minutes. Rollicking fun.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Another World,” “Splash,” “Linda Lu,” “There Must Have Been Sugar in It,” “Time Will Tell,” “Move Like That,” “Inside Outsider,” and “Live in a Dream”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

Also added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist and currently spinning in rotation:

lisa mychols Lisa Mychols | “Loving You” (2017) CD Baby

red caravan ho humRed Caravan | “Ho Hum” (2017) Bandcamp

anchor and bear 2Anchor and Bear | “Hard to Say You’re Sorry” (2017)

r. stevie moore and jason falkner make it beR. Stevie Moore and Jason Falkner | Make It Be (2017) | “Sincero Amore,” “Don’t You Just Know It,” and “Play Myself Some Music” Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, Bandcamp

michael slawterMichael Slawter | An Assassination of Someone You Knew (2017) | “Count to 10,” “Too Dumb for You,” and “My Marion” Bandcamp

the deep six brand new dayThe Deep Six | “Brand New Day” (2017)

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