Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation Podcasts: Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Airdate: May 2, 2018)

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Roger Joseph Manning Jr., late of Jellyfish and now a once-again solo artist (his terrific new EP Glamping releases via PledgeMusic on May 18), joined me on a very special edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on May 2 to talk about his new release, and a whole lot more.

roger joseph manning jr. glamping coverGlamping’s four hooky songs lasso a variety of pop styles from pure to power for an exhilarating listening experience, helped along by friends such as Chris Price, Jason Falkner and Bleu McAuley. “Operator” tells the sweet story of a lonely man aching for a relationship with a telephone operator. “Funhouse” injects a rock stance into the pop proceedings with Jason Falkner’s guitars and Freddie Mercury-style background vocal harmony stacks. “Is It All a Dream” is an uptempo pop ride, and the closing power ballad “I’m Not Your Cowboy” rides to its finish atop a 10cc-esque approach.

During this program, Roger went in-depth on the making of Glamping, his work on Emitt Rhodes’ 2016 record Rainbow Ends and Secret Friend’s new release, The Divorce Album. He also talked about his time in Jellyfish, and helped me discover the engine that powered one of the band’s most inventive songs, Spilt Milk’s “Sebrina, Paste and Plato.” Plus: What exactly is glamping?

Check out Roger’s PledgeMusic store for the latest availability information on the Glamping EP.

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pprListen to my interview with Roger Joseph Manning Jr. from the May 2 edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation by clicking the play button on the following player, or click on the Pure Pop Radio button to the left to download (then right click and choose “Save audio as” to save the file to your computer). (This interview is presented in scoped format; the songs have been removed due to copyright concerns.)

 


Listen to a wide selection of previously-aired Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation interviews by clicking here.

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day. Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!

Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation Podcasts: Secret Friend’s Steven Fox (Airdate: April 4, 2018)

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

secret friend divorce albumSecret Friend’s new record, The Divorce Album, may well be the ultimate breakup long player, but it sounds like a happy, peppy pop album, and I predict it will be a favorite of many pop fans this year.

Falling somewhere sound-wise between the expansive second Secret Friend album, Sleeper, and the Linus of Hollywood-produced pure pop debut, Time Machine, The Divorce Album serves up six Secret Friend songs, written and produced by Steven Fox, and six reinventions of those songs produced by other artists. It’s a fascinating approach, heady lyrically but effervescent musically. It’s a clear winner by an artist not afraid to stretch and keep things interesting.

secret friend steven foxDuring this lively edition of In Conversation, you’ll learn about the origins of this album and hear all about the writing and production of the songs. Direct from Thailand, meet Secret Friend’s Steven Fox as you listen to this in-depth podcast, originally broadcast on April 4.

Secret Friend’s The Divorce Album is available from a variety of e-tailers at the album’s website.

in conversation new graphic grey

pprListen to my interview with Secret Friend’s Steven Fox from the April 4 edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation by clicking the play button on the following player, or click on the Pure Pop Radio button to the left to download (then right click and choose “Save audio as” to save the file to your computer). (This interview is presented in scoped format; the songs have been removed due to copyright concerns.)

 


Listen to a wide selection of previously-aired Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation interviews by clicking here.

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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 4.3.18: Secret Friend’s The Divorce Album

new on pp banner hybrid 2-use this one, it's fixed

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 4.3.18

secret friend divorce albumSecret Friend | The Divorce Album (2018)
This third Secret Friend album, whose vibe falls somewhere between 2013’s Linus of Hollywood-produced Time Machine and 2015’s sound expansive Sleeper, could well be the ultimate breakup record, but with a pop twist. In any case, it’s terrific.

Which is to say that these songs cut right to the bone lyrically while also sounding happy and peppy and poppy. You might also say that there are two sides to Secret Friend pal Steven Fox’s new songs. Indeed, there are two sides to them–each song (there are six in all) appears as both a Fox production and as produced by another artist painting with a differently colored brush.

With the two approaches, one labeled “Mine” and the other “Yours,” you get different takes on the art of the breakup and snapshots of the forlorn from familiar pop voices who anchor Fox’s latest creations. Welcome, then, the supporting talents of Rooney’s Taylor Locke, Jellyfish’s Roger Joseph Manning, Jr., Jimm McIver, Willie Wisely, Linus (of Hollywood) Dotson, Christian Nesmith, Wyatt Funderburk, Karla Kane, and a mysterious female vocalist mysteriously known as “K.O”. Welcome, also, Rich Hinman, whose lyrical pedal steel playing elevates every song he plays on.

“Every songwriter has at least a few break-up songs tucked away,” Fox writes in the accompanying digital booklet’s introduction. Within The Divorce Album are just a few of them, including the opener, “Castaway,” a bright burst of ’80s pomp, happily sounding like a cross between early Wondermints and Haircut 100. Powered by Taylor Locke’s spirited vocals and electric guitar, and Roger Manning’s inventive keyboards, this tale of an unloved and unhappy drifter pining for companionship is the perfect opener.

The differing versions of “Difficult” perfectly illustrate The Divorce Album’s “Mine” and “Yours” concept. The “Mine” version, sung with fervor by Jimm McIver, and played by, among others, Roger Manning and Linus Dotson, barrels forward as a questioning of a partner’s attitude (“Why do you have to be so/Difficult”) and a sad assessment of faulty character: “You can be sentimental/When you’re not so judgmental/You can be fascinating/When you’re not calculating/I will be damned if I knew/What I did to deserve you.”

The “Yours” version of “Difficult” turns the tables on the song’s concept with a decidedly softer sound and a rewritten lyric espousing the female point of view. This, and there is no other way to say it, lovely version, co-written by the Corner Laughers’ Karla Kane and Steven Fox, takes a more mannered approach to sizing up the situation: “When I get your attention/You call me a drama queen/But you’re thriving on the tension/Of me wondering what you mean.”

Of course, “Castaway” and “Difficult” only scratch the surface of the power of The Divorce Album. And it should be said that not every song on this record chronicles the art of the breakup. In fact, “Undeniably Blue,” a beat-driven pop-rocker anchored by Roger Manning’s vocal and instrumental prowess, Reade Pryor’s insistent drumming, and Rich Hinman’s fluid pedal steel, offers a welcome, positive outlook–a lifeline for the sad and lonely: “Undeniably you will see/The world is quite forgiving (Yes it is!)/Even when you’re down/The sky above is undeniably blue/With a little time you’ll see/The end of undeniably blue.”

secret friend steven foxSteven Fox, who plays instruments on every one of this album’s songs, is a bit of a musical maverick, in that each of his albums exists on a different plane, even as they are connected as repositories for beautifully written, melodic songs. I always look forward to his offerings, and marvel at their ability to surprise and delight in equal measure. You, I suspect, will too.

Steven Fox guests tomorrow night at 9 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation. (9 pm ET on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.)

black box Where to Get It: A wide selection of online retailers. Links to all are here on the album’s website. Dig in!

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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:

 

It’s an All-Star Week for Pure Pop’s Specialty Shows. Secret Friend’s Steven Fox Stops By Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, and Top Popsters Populate Two All-New Editions of Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

This week, Secret Friend’s affable head musical pal Steven Fox pops in to spread the cheer on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, and your favorite popsters sing sweetly on two all-new editions of Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show.

secret friend divorce albumSecret Friend’s new record, The Divorce Album, releases this Friday, April 6. It may well be the ultimate breakup long player, but it sounds like a happy, peppy pop album, and I predict it will be a favorite of many pop fans this year. Falling somewhere sound-wise between Secret Friend’s expansive second album, Sleeper, and the Linus of Hollywood-produced pure pop debut, Time Machine, The Divorce Album serves up six Fox-written and produced songs and six reinventions of those songs produced by other artists. It’s a fascinating approach, heady lyrically but effervescent musically. It’s a clear winner by an artist not afraid to stretch and keep things interesting.

During this lively edition of In Conversation, you’ll learn about the origins of this album and hear all about the writing and production of the songs. Direct from Thailand, meet Steven Fox this Wednesday at 9 pm ET.

pop tunes disc smallThe first of two Pop Tunes Deejay Shows airs tomorrow night, Tuesday, at 8 pm ET. Don McLean kicks things off with the complete version of his hard-to-beat-after-all-these-years classic “American Pie.” Also on the agenda: new and recent top tracks from Adrian Whitehead, Ian Thompson, The Gold Needles, Jeff Litman, Farrington, Magpie, and more top sounds from across the decades.

michael simmons album front coverWe’re back with another Pop Tunes Deejay Show this Thursday night at 8 pm ET. All Day Sucker’s classic 2004 track “Get High” leads this packed show, which features new and new-to-you spins from Matt Bruno, Roger Klug, Crime Scene, Michael Simmons, Lord High Admirals, Fireproof Sam and the Network Stars, Dropkick, The Orange Peels, Radio Days, and TC&I (XTC’s Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers). And more, too, including my snappy deejay patter!

It’s all for you–another all-star week of top pop programming from Pure Pop Radio, as broadcast by Pop that Goes Crunch Radio. Don’t miss a minute!

alanhaberspurepopradiographiclarge1-wp header

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:

 

Premiere Week Continues With More New Music and Artists Added to Our Playlist. Dig in!

purepoplogoAs Pure Pop Radio’s Premiere Week rolls on, we ask that you open up your hearts and your ears, of course, for an avalanche of songs and artists just added to our playlist. We’re talking hundreds of songs, and not just new ones–we’ve also significantly beefed up our Beach Boys and Beatles playlists (remember that we ring the bell for America’s Band and the Fab Four every hour of our broadcast day!).

All this week, we’ll be telling you about the new music we’re now playing in rotation on our air. Here’s today’s list, all shiny and sparkly and Tuesday-riffic, full of melody and harmony!

brady harrisBrady Harris | Ukulele Days We’ve been happily playing Brady Harris’s music on Pure Pop Radio for many years, enjoying his creativity and melodic gifts, album after album. So it was with great pleasure that we played this new album, released just two weeks ago. Centered around the glorious sounds of the ukulele, this entrancing mix of originals and covers makes for a beautiful listening experience. From his gorgeous cover of Brian and Carl Wilson’s “Good Timin’,” which features Brady’s vocal harmony stacks to magical effect, to the perfect-for-a-summer’s-day sojourn, banjo accented “Welcome Me Back,” this is one of the best albums we’ve heard in a long while. We’re playing the entire run of songs, including the ones just mentioned. And: “‘Til the End of Days,” “Wear Your Love Like Heaven,” “Save Yer Love for Me,” “I’ll Miss These Days,” “Right Down the Line,” “End of May,” “Points of View,” “Lauren, Lauren,” “This Boy,” “Bring Flower Power Back,” and the wonderful instrumental, “Camarillo Beach,” which wouldn’t have been out of place on the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album. Nice job, Brady. Very, very nice.

secret friend sleeperSecret Friend | Sleeper Steven Fox’s musical vision, a three-dimensional soundscape of aural imagery, is at play on his alter ego Secret Friend’s second album. Sleeper, which releases this Friday, August 14. Sleeper is somewhat different in execution than Secret Friend’s first album, Time Machine, but it’s no less affecting.  Dressing up lovely melodies in a suit of electronic clothes fashioned on top of traditional instrumentation, Fox has created an expansive, electronic group of songs that is a singular, original experience. The original lineup that performed on Time Machine is back and joined this time around by the Nines’ Steve Eggers and Kurt Baker producer, and pop artist extraordinaire, Wyatt Funderburk. We added two songs to our playlist about a month ago; these nuggets are now joined by five additional tracks: “Something’s Happening,” “Any Day Now,” “And Ever,” “Nobody Listens,” and “Do You.” We’re proud to be featuring Secret Friend’s music on Pure Pop Radio.

all day sucker the big pretenddenim daysAll Day Sucker | Denim Days and The Big Pretend We were in on the All Day Sucker craze back in 2004 when the group’s self-titled album came out. In fact, we’ve been playing the anthemic, fast-paced “Get High” on our air ever since. Now, we’re playing songs from All Day Sucker’s latest album, Denim Days, and their 2008 record, The Big Pretend. The band favors a decidedly pop-rock sound, with the most emphasis placed on the pop side of the equation. From Denim Days, we’re now playing the title track, “The Single,” “Listening to the Liars,” “Faded,” “Sweet Surprise,” “Crossword Puzzle,” and the astounding, beautiful “One Long Day,” which opens with a gorgeous a cappella section that will send chills down your spine. From The Big Pretend, we’re spinning six songs: the old-fashioned sound of “Beverly Park” and the following pop numbers which will roll around in yours heads as treasured earworms: “Santa Ana,” “The Picture (That Took Me),” “Nobody Somewhere,” “Strange Orbits,” and “The Man (From the Big Pretend).” Joyous.

the unswept todaythe unsweptThe Unswept | The Unswept Today! and The Unswept Cousins Charlie, Liz, and Ryan O’Brien came together as the Unswept in Chicago after leaving their native Sheffield in England. We’re a bit late in reporting on our adding of both this groovy band’s 2014 self-titled album and their latest long player, The Unswept Today! So, let’s play catchup, shall we? We’ve added every song from both albums, so one might say it’s a clean sweep for the Unswept! From Today!, we’re playing “Super Sad,” “Peace of Mind,” “Please Look My Way,” “Another Bubble,” “(You Can) Do the Math,” “Unimpressive,” “Magnet’s Coil,” a cover of Teenage Fanclub’s “Mellow Doubt,” “Cheater,” “Getaway,” and the wonderfully titled “Surf Song (I Wish I Was a Beach Boy).” From the self-titled album, we’re spinning “So It Goes,” “I Can’t Sleep,” “Cynical Girl” (Marshall Crenshaw cover), “Certain Flowers,” “You’re Going Home,” “I Must Be in Love” (Rutles cover), “You Trip Me Up,” “Listen to the Band” (Monkees cover), and “She’s So Cool.” And what’s cool about the Unswept? Their unerring sense of melody, great songs and a terrific presentation. We love the Unswept!

the foreign filmsThe Foreign Films | The Record Collector (Side 3)  On October 21st of last year, we added four tracks from the second side of the in-progress, two-record set that Bill Majoros has been recording up in Canada under his band nom de plume, the Foreign Films. Side three of the album, called The Record Collector, was recently released. This time around, we’re adding all six songs on offer because they’re just so incredibly wonderful. “Northern Love Songs,” which we played on last night’s premiere edition of Alan Haber’s new deejay show, Pop Tunes, is an old-fashioned, dramatic, beautifully written song with an indelible hook and allusions to World Party, the Wondermints, and the arrangements of early Elton John records; “Empire of the Night” is an upbeat pop-rocker sounding like it could have sat quite comfortably on the Beach Boys’ Wild Honey album; and “A Foolish Symphony (Wait)” centers its lovely melody around a classically-styled chord progression where varied instrumentation–including emotive pedal steel lines–lead up to a satisfying ending. We’re playing these three songs, and three more still: “Stars in Her Eyes,” “Girl by the River,” and “The DeLuxe.” The Record Collector looks to be a top contender for best-of-the-year honors when the ballots are counted later this year. Stunning.

larry o. deanLarry O. Dean | Good Grief If the individual albums in Larry O. Dean’s back catalog were bricks, we could all get together and build a 4,000 square-foot house, such is the depth of his output. It’s all led to Larry’s forthcoming album (due September 25) called Good Grief, which is in the dictionary (we checked) next to a sign that proclaims “Good Music is Here.” Sounding like a cross between Lou Reed and Neil Young (if Lou and Neil favored pop more than rock), Larry has a poet’s heart (which makes sense, since he is a poet and teaches English at Indiana University Northwest and Northeastern Illinois University). Good Grief’s strong set of songs are catchy and commanding, possessed of fertile imagery and good humor. We’re playing, in rotation, six songs from this great album: “(Driving) Under the Influence (of Love),” “Didn’t See it Coming,” “Don’t Climb the Mountain,” “Heather’s Diary,” “Sniper,” and the lovely “Botox Party,” in which the art of improving one’s self worth turns out not to be an art at all (we love the Van Dyke Parks-styled string arrangement, done by Wim Oudijk). A fine album through and through, and highly recommended.

jeff litmanJeff Litman | Primetime Longtime Pure Pop Radio favorite Jeff Litman’s new EP, which drops next Tuesday, August 18, is a coming together of three previously-released singles tracks that haven’t been on an album (“Nothing,” “Debutante,” and “Go”) and three previously-unreleased songs (“That’s On You,” “Primetime,” and “Don’t Slow Down”). The title song is a driving, slightly punky number; “Debutante” is a slow burning, bluesy rocker; and “That’s On You” is Beatlesque pop song with a John Lennon-like vocal. We’re playing all of these songs in rotation, and proudly so. Good stuff all around.

chris stameyChris Stamey | Euphoria The dB’s co-founder delivers another great collection of melodic songs on this new album. The lovely, upbeat number, “Dear Valentine,” surprises with a nod to the Beatles about two-thirds of the way through. “Invisible,” a mid-tempo pop song, is a delightful, beautifully constructed piece of work. We’ve added both of these songs to our playlist, plus three others: the spacey rocker “Rocketship”; “Where Does the Time Go?,” another mid-tempo pop song with a more-than-pleasing chord construction; and the quite pretty, Paul McCartney-esque “You are Beautiful,” with George Harrison-y guitar lines. All now playing in rotation.

*     *     *     *     *

That’s it for today. We’ve got more new songs and artists to let you know about tomorrow. With the music we’ve added to our playlist over the past few days, our grand total of songs in rotation has passed the 7,300 mark. Is there any doubt that Pure Pop Radio, the original 24-hour-a-day melodic pop radio station on the Internet, has the widest variety of songs from the ’60s to today?

See you tomorrow with another list of adds!

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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

Looking for New Music? Jump On In…The Water’s Fine! Pure Pop Radio’s Big Week of Summer Fun Is Making Melodic Waves All Over the World!

music at the beachPure Pop Radio’s Big Week of Summer Fun is here! We hope you’re having the swellest time imaginable at the beach, having a picnic with friends and family, and listening to all of the new music we’ve just added to our playlist.

Summer means fun, and we’ve got lots of it now spinning in rotation on our air. How about we run down a list of some of the new songs and artists we’ve just added? We’ve got a baker’s dozen for you today, and more coming this Thursday. Sounds like a plan!

So, here we go!

brandon schott crayons and angelsBrandon Schott | “Every Little Song (Featuring Kelly Jones)” The first focus track from Pure Pop Radio favorite Brandon Schott’s forthcoming, fifth album, Crayons and Angels, is a bittersweet rumination on the healing power of music that glows in the face of emotional darkness. Brandon’s pretty melody and sensitive vocal, made all the more magical by singer Kelly Jones’ lovely, atmospheric vocal harmonies and a short, beautifully-realized instrumental section struck with Brian Wilson finesse, take charge and deliver a truly affecting song that will haunt your heart. “There’s no escape from being pulled under her spell/And when my spirit’s dry, there’s water in the well/Reflecting light for all the darkness I have held,” Brandon sings of his faithful muse, always by his side in good times and bad and always his safety net. This is a truly special song from an album that will fill your soul with hope and strength. Releasing August 4, Crayons and Angels will prove to be one of this year’s best albums. We can’t wait to spin all of it for you.

pop 4Pop 4 | “Don’t You Be Like That” Another album that will, we predict, land on more than a few of this year’s best-of lists, is Summer, the debut release from melodic pop supergroup Pop 4. Both supergroup and, well, super, Pop 4 brings together the considerable talents of Liar’s Club’s Scott McPherson; the great singer and songwriter Andrea Perry; the Corner Laughers’ not-so-secret weapon KC Bowman; and Vanilla’s Kirk Adams for a virtual master class in pure pop songwriting and performance. The mid-tempo ballad “Don’t You Be Like That,” presented as an exclusive to Pure Pop Radio listeners (it debuts at 8 pm ET tomorrow night, Tuesday, July 14–set your alarm clocks), is painted with a harmony-soaked brush. Featuring lead vocals from Andrea, Kirk and Scott, a middle-eight sent from nowhere less than heaven, and a subtle, George Harrison-esque electric guitar run, this is one of the catchiest songs we’ve heard in ages. Don’t miss Summer when it drops later this summer which, by the way, is now officially our favorite season of this year.

secret friend sleeperSecret Friend | “Blue Sky” and “I Don’t Know You” Steven Fox, recording as Secret Friend along with such luminaries as Willie Wisely, Kelly Jones, and Linus of Hollywood, burst onto the worldwide pop stage with Time Machine, a set of straight-ahead melodic, hook-filled songs just after the calendar flipped on 2013. Secret Friend’s second album, Sleeper, which releases on August 14, is somewhat of a different beast, in that the soundscapes are a bit more expansive, electronic, and somewhat less compact, which is to say that the overall package may be somewhat different even as the songs remain as catchy and affecting as ever. The original lineup is back and joined this time around by the Nines’ Steve Eggers and Kurt Baker producer, and pop artist extraordinaire, Wyatt Funderburk. The first two songs, released ahead of the album’s late-summer bow, are terrific, creative numbers fueled by top-flight imagination and skill: “Blue Sky” is a perfect summer song, sung with typical finesse by Jones alongside a bopping beat and atmospheric instrumental passages. “I Don’t Know You” finds Funderburk tenderly delivering another luscious melody atop a decidedly Jeff Lynne-styled base that fades out with an atmospheric instrumental passage. We were delighted with these songs; we were also delighted with the other eight numbers that comprise this album, a good and important step forward on Fox’s musical journey. We love this album, another sure candidate for best-of the year honors.

one like sonOne Like Son | Classic Stephen Poff’s most varied set of songs yet grace this new release that brings the power and softer side of pop and roll for a terrific listening experience. The rocking opener, “As Seen on TV,” kicks the proceedings off with a crunchy guitar riff and powerful drumming. The slower, but no less rocking “Five Good Years,” is another keeper. And our favorite track, “Summer Days,” is an acoustic toe-tapper with a marvelous melody and strong, sensitive vocals. We’re playing these songs in rotation, plus “Down to Hollywood,” “Holidays,” and “They Know I’m Right.” And that’s the situation with this album–it’s right as rain.

FADdigipak.inddThe Fad | The Now Sound Power pop smarts fueled this terrific Philadelphia band, influenced without question by the British Invasion, during the early-to-mid-1980s. Despite their obvious chops and great, catchy songs, circumstance played with their fate (an ill-suited producer mucked with the tracks on their six-song, 12-inch EP). Kool Kat Musik has rescued that EP and added an additional six tracks, classics that will absolutely slay listeners upon first hearing. We’ve added a half-dozen numbers to our lineup, including “Where the Colors Are,” “Countdown,” “Genie,” “Broken Hearts,” “Fad Twist” (a blazing, Merseybeat instrumental that will transform your living room into a swinging dance floor), and “The Swing’s the Thing” (speaking of swing). A classic release from the archives that makes the grade and then some.

orange humble bandThe Orange Humble Band | Depressing Beauty This third album from Daryl Mather’s sterling collective follows on from 2001’s Humblin’ (Across America) with a pair of Posies, Big Star’s drummer, and super producer Mitch Easter in tow, forming a powerful core of visionary musicians in the service of a grand musical calling. This sturdy, hour-long set mixes balladry and uptempo songs, some co-written with such all-star guests as Dwight Twilley and Posie Jon Auer, for a melodic and lyrically-strong experience that stands as a towering achievement. From the lively, horn infused pop-rocker “Get Straight Down” to the pretty testament to love’s power, “Sowannadoit,” and the gorgeous “Emma Amanda,” about love in the face of sadness, these 15 songs shine. We’ve added 11 numbers to our playlist: the aforementioned songs, plus “You Close Your Eyes,” “The Girl Without a Home,” “Ain’t Tougher than Me,” “Our Beautiful Selves,” “If That’s What You Want,” “Oughta Feel Ashamed, “Upon Cindy’s Will,” and “Something Goin’ On.” Extra points for putting together a great, visual package with stunning artwork and full credits. A great album.

maraudersMarauders | The Strasbourg Tapes Hailing from Strasbourg, France, Marauders incorporate a romping mix of power pop and garage styles into their songs, propelled by a steady beat laced with great, harmony vocals. We’re playing three of the four songs on this smashing EP: “Different from the Crowd,” “Too Late to Delete,” and “Give It a Try.” Fans of early Who will love these spirited numbers. Count us among the band’s fans.

the sandwitchesThe Sandwitches | Our Toast This alluring San Francisco trio, new to Pure Pop Radio, is apparently splitting up; on the basis of this wonderful album, that’s sad news. Reminiscent of the Roches, the Sandwitches are a wonderful addition to our playlist; their lovely harmonies and songs are, well, quite lovely. We’re now playing, in rotation, the lively, whimsical “Sunny Side,” “Miggy,” and the country-garage mashup, “Wickerman Mambo.” These ladies sing like songbirds.


the jenny pilots tiny piecesthe jenny pilots i wouldn't change a thingThe Jenny Pilots | “I Wouldn’t Change a Thing” and “Tiny Pieces”
 Late of the New Jersey power poppers Soul Engines, Mark Nuzzi, Joe Furnari and Gino Scelza have been reborn as the Jenny Pilots. The band’s initial offering is a pair of terrific pop numbers–the uptempo, catchy charmer “I Wouldn’t Change a Thing,” and “Tiny Pieces,” an equally catchy uptempo song with a deep hook and great vocals. If this were American Bandstand, we’d give both songs a 10 (because you can dance to and sing along with them, of course). Great stuff.

optional front cover2Susan James | Sea Glass For her sixth album, Los Angeles’ Susan James worked with the High Llamas’ Sean O’Hagan, who contributed string and instrument arrangements, to realize the inner beauty of her wonderful new melodic pop songs. James’ lovely, smooth-as-silk vocals, coupled with creative instrumentation, draw listeners in for a most rewarding musical experience. We’re playing, in rotation, five songs: “Poseidon’s Daughter,” “Awful Lot,” the pure poppy “Hey Julianne,” “Truth or Consequence,” and the sizzling and soothing “Tell Me Cosmo.” New to Pure Pop Radio, we have a feeling Susan James is here to stay.

mark helmMark Helm | Everything’s OK It’s been around 14 years since we were first exposed to the wonderful music of Mark Helm. Now, his album, previously released on the Not Lame label, resurfaces as a digital release with six bonus tracks. For whatever reason, Mark has been absent from Pure Pop Radio’s playlist until this very moment. We’ve just added seven songs: original album tracks “Galaxy of Cars,” “Haircut,” “Lemons Limes and Flying Saucers,” “Aeroplanes and Radiosignals,” and “Sweet Dreams Baby,” and two of the six bonus tracks: “Shopping List,” and a cover of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.” Here’s hoping for a new album. Mark?

the pengwinsThe Pengwins | Vol. 3 This is the third in a series of box sets coupling a new track with older selections from this seminal power pop band that dates back to 1972 (they reformed in 2005). The current band tackles the Flamin’ Groovies’ still-awesome “Shake Some Action” with sweetened power pop aplomb (and a hint of Badfinger); “Suicide,” and Lannie Flowers’ “What You Gonna Do?”, are power popping archive selections. Like its two predecessors, Vol. 3 comes in a box with both a 45 vinyl single and CD counterpart (“Suicide” appears only on the CD), and a range of collectible goodies including an orange Pengwins 45 adapter, a nifty bottle opener in the shape of a guitar, and a baseball card highlighting Alan Petsche’s history with the band. This creatively-realized box set is an absolutely essential element of any self-respecting power pop collection.

twin withinTwin Within | Horizontal Lines Part of the fun of curating Pure Pop Radio’s playlist is being contacted by musical entities as good as the duo of Steve McKay and Alex Samaras. Sprinkled with the DNA of soft-pop kings like the Free Design and Simon and Garfunkel, Twin Within’s music grabs hold of your imagination as the duo delivers their melodic gems, sung with voices bathed in gold. “Bernie” is a perfect example of this duo’s attention to exquisite detail; “Night Danger” hits with a softly aggressive instrumental track that is tempered by a brief, vocal harmony stretch that is quite powerful. “We Talk” is a song that wouldn’t have been out of place on the Association’s first album, combining beat with a beautiful, lively melody. And “Veryard ’78” pops along softly with an enticing melody. We’re playing the entire album: the previously mentioned songs, and “Tunnel to the Reservation,” “Faraway Car Ride,” “Night Danger,” “Two Within,” and “As Always.” We couldn’t be happier to be spinning the music of great artists such as Twin Within.

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That’s it for today. Enjoy these new songs and artists that we’ve added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist, and come back this Thursday for more. It’s our Big Week of Summer Fun, and we’re having a ball! Click on one of the listen links below to hear more than 7,000 songs playing in rotation on your original, 24-hour-a-day home for the greatest pop in the universe!

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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

Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion, Day 2: Kaboom Redux!

day-2Welcome to Day Two of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion, or, as it’s also known, Another Day in the Life of the Ever-Growing Playlist!

We’ve already added hundreds of new songs to Internet radio’s biggest, deepest and most varied collection of melodic pop songs, and we’re not done. We will, in fact, be adding even more tunes over the coming weeks. We’ve got lots of surprises in store, so keep checking back for the latest rundown.

Let’s put the spotlight on some of the latest and greatest songs and artists to be added to our playlist. Today’s gallery? Glad you asked. Here we go:

maxi-dunnMaxi Dunn | “Perfect Sorrow” We literally just got this song in last night. A quick spin, and another spin after that, and we were moved to get this on the air right away. We’ve loved Maxi’s music so much (her last album was a hit on the air) and we’re always thrilled to hear something new from her. The first fruit of her recent recording labors is this fantastic song and production, an imaginative burst of creativity that has more than a bit of Kate Bush in its DNA. Add in a great melody and vocal interplay that is really quite impressive and you’ve got another classic from one of pop music’s brightest stars. It’s now playing in rotation. You’re going to love it.

vegas-girl-holding-outVegas with Randolph | “The Girl Holding Out for Me.” The first song from our local, Washington D.C. musical cousins’ upcoming album is a typically catchy, power popping number blessed with an intoxicating melody, superior musicianship (loud guitars, plugged-into-the-wall drums and other really cool stuff), sumptuous harmonies and that certain something that always makes Vegas with Randolph’s songs pop. We’re thrilled to have this tune in rotation. Tune in for it and keep an ear out while listening to Pure Pop Radio for lots of other songs from Vegas with Randolph’s ever-growing catalog.

pop 2Dana Countryman | Pop 2! The Exploding Musical Mind of Dana Countryman Even if we weren’t in love with the sweet pop sounds of the early 1970s–even if our hearts weren’t married to such classic, melodic songs as Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes),” the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You,” and Gallery’s “Nice to Be with You”–we would be in love, love, love with Dana Countryman’s music. If 2014 were 1972, all would be right with the world. All is right with Dana’s wonderful, just-released album. We’ve added seven songs to our playlist: “Baby, I’ll Be Your Star,” “The Summer I Turned Seventeen,” “Good Radio Day,” “And Suddenly, Love Just Happened,” “Just Look into My Eyes,” “How to Make It In Hollywood,” and “You’re My Heart and Soul.” They’re now spinning in rotation, and Pure Pop Radio sounds all the better for it.

mothboxerMothboxer | Sand and the Rain This British band, led by the wonderful songwriter and performer Dave Ody, continues to amaze with pop songs crafted with care, heart and a boatload of talent. This fourth long-player–Mothboxer’s best yet–is overflowing with great songs. We liked them so much that we decided to add all of them to the playlist. And they are: “One and Only,” “Looking Out for Summer,” “In the Morning,” “We’re All Out of Our Minds,” “Everything’s Changed,” “Stop,” “Sand and the Rain,” “Take Me Down,” “On Your Side,” and “All that I Want.” One of the best releases of 2014, for sure. [Bonus: We’ve also added terrific covers of two songs that Mothboxer has recorded. They’ve put their considerable stamp on two classic pop songs: Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows” and Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels.” Beautiful.]

vanilla-2.0Vanilla | “The Angel of Swain’s Lane” The sixth song from Vanilla’s upcoming, musically diverse album 2.0 (one song a month (give or take) will be released until the record is complete) is, according to head flavor Jayson Jarmon, “a 19th-Century style waltz about a famously overgrown, haunted cemetery in London. Nice early autumn Halloween fare.” And this being mid-October, well, pretty timely. Sung with deep emotion and old world style by Carl Funk, the song’s first verse sets the stage: “The Angel of Swain’s Lane is calling me again/She shines through the railings/And sycamores wailing/ A figure of pity and pain/The Angel is crying again.” Short and sweet and full of three-dimensional atmosphere, this is quite unlike anything you’ve heard in pop music this year. Or years, even. Truly outstanding all around, and now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

difficult-strangerThe Difficult Stranger | “Fall in Love with You” Direct from Cebu City in the Philippines comes this quite accomplished three-piece band fronted by the talented Michael Anthony Curran, who wrote and sings this classically-styled slice of power pop. Melodically rich and quite singalongable, we think you’ll look forward to this band’s next release. We know we will.

nick-piuntiNick Piunti | “Time Machine” Nick Piunti, who just this past May released a great pop album called 13 in My Head, has already released a new song destined for his next album, which he decrees will not be called 14 in My Head. Sort of an anti-walking-down-memory-lane song, “Time Machine” is a humdinger of an upbeat power pop number with loud guitars, an awesome riff, great harmonies and an intoxicating melody. Now playing in rotation, this is another great song from a great talent.

Michael Oliver

Michael Oliver

Michael Oliver and the Sacred Band | “Sabina” This song, which we reviewed here on the Pure Pop Radio website, is “an expertly crafted, lovely, mid-tempo ballad–a heartstring tugger about loss, about sensory memory, about love, about life.” That’s what we said in our review. We also said this: “Michael says the song is about a cat or life. Yes and yes.” All of these words are still true. Slated to appear on Michael’s upcoming album, now being recorded, “Sabina” is one of those must-hear songs…meaning you must hear it one thousand times. It’s that good. Listen for it playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

smiling-manGrahame Steinberg | “Mr. Pitchfork” A bonus track associated with the third collaboration between pop music stalwarts David Grahame and Lane Steinberg, “Mr. Pitchfork” is a relatively short, catchy song about the perils of getting involved with the Devil. Don’t, would be the operative suggestion. A cool little number.

bobbleheadsThe Bobbleheads | Make Yourself Happy On the group’s website, it is stated that the Bobbleheads “have been delighting audiences with their songs of playful yet adult elementary-school infused pop.” We rather think that this is pop music for all ages–music that is fun to listen to and enjoy. But, go on, bring the kids along. We’ve added to the playlist five lively songs from the band’s latest album: “Prove Yourself,” “Mean Girls,” “Get That,” “Turn the Radio On (The Perfect Song),” and “Sofa.” They’re pretty cool, even for adult elementary school.

secret-friendSecret Friend | Sleeper | “Orbital” Coming up on two years ago, Steven Fox released a gorgeous collection of melodic pop songs on a most wonderful album called Time Machine. The first song from Secret Friend’s early 2015 album, Sleeper, is a quite different beast, about as 360-degree a turn as you might think possible. A seductive arrangement, anchored in a sea of electronic instrumentation a la OMD, gives way to a Pink Floydian sad, yet hopeful, piano riff, a serene melody and a deftly-played acoustic guitar. It’s not really pop, per se, but it’s awfully intriguing and quite memorable and anything from Steven Fox is a must-listen in our book. Different? Yes. Pure Pop Radio worthy? Definitely. And it’s now playing in rotation.

That’s it for day two of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion. And we’re just getting started! Tune in to this site tomorrow for more adds to our playlist. And thanks, as always, for listening!

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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