Welcome to Pure Pop Radio’s Holly Jolly Christmas Party!

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

So how’s it going? Have you checked your 2018 holiday gift list once, and then twice? Do you have room on your list for some melodic Christmas song gems to give to yourself, your friends and your family? Of course you do!

We’ll be here all week–our Holly Jolly Christmas Party is in full swing, spreading the holiday cheer by suggesting some wonderful, melodic pop Christmas songs and albums that you can give as gifts to your friends and family (and maybe even to yourself!).

And we’ll be giving away a couple of melodic pop presents each day this week. Today’s pair of giveaways: Dana Countryman’s new Cabaret of Love, and the Corner Laughers’ 2015 classic, Matilda Effect. Enter below…

We begin today’s listing with…

Les Bicyclettes de Belsize 
The 12 Days of Christmas (2018)
A late-year surprise and not only a charming, top-flight holiday-themed album but one of the best melodic pop albums of the year, Charlie Darling’s collection of original from-the-heart Christmas songs will warm you like a heaping cup of peppermint candy cane-flavored good cheer.

Bittersweet holiday tales told in pretty swaths of lovingly rendered melody, and sung with an everyman’s sweetness, color this delightful song cycle; sincere, understated orchestration, a literary approach to lyrical conceits, and a pinch of sleigh bells catch the ear time and again in lovely slow- and mid-tempo-ballads.

Darling’s vocals, sort of a contemporary cross between the tones of the Big Dish’s Steven Lindsay and Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, are key to making  songs like gentle ballads “Every Christmas,” about missing a love gone away, and “Stars on the Christmas Tree,” about the true meaning of the holiday, grab hold of your heart. “Holly and Ivy,” a quick-footed waltz, is a dream of a tune about settling into the feelings of the season with friends, and the charming, upbeat “Under the Mistletoe” poses the musical question, “What secrets do you keep?”

Two songs deviate ever so slightly from the mood and pace of the bulk of this magnificent album. “Bad Christmas Cover Version,” an uptempo rocker of sorts, is about exactly what you might think: bands covering the lesser of Christmas classics (“You might’ve sung a song by ol’ Greg Lake”). And “Andy Partridge (From XTC)” is a spirited pop sprint substituting the names of pop and rock bands through the ages for the various creatures evidenced in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (Three Dog Night, the Dave Clark Five, Gang of Four, Nine Inch Nails and Joe Strummer (strumming), among them). It’s all in good fun and thoroughly clever and creative and perfect for this very time of year.

Working on his own, in true do-it-yourself style as the band named after the 1968 film Les Bicyclettes de Belsize, Charlie Darling is no stranger to the music scene, having spent time as a member of the four-piece pop-trash band Taxi, which was signed to a major label. Les Bicyclettes’ previous releases can be found at Bandcamp. Charlie’s next non-seasonal album is being produced by Ronnie Borland from the Orchids.

Les Bicyclettes de Belsize’s The 12 Days of Christmas is a rather pleasant surprise in these waning days of December. I’m thrilled to be able to recommend it to you without any hesitation. One of the best albums of the year, Christmas-oriented or not? Yes, indeed.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

The Twigs | “Flying Kites on Christmas” (2018)
This typically engaging song from Laura and Linda Good, a ballad bursting with luscious harmony, an intriguing piano figure, and a gorgeous melody, is all about being together and happy under sunny skies at Christmas. The flying kites of the title act as a metaphor for problems that can ascend to the skies, away from good holiday feelings. A tremendous achievement, your holiday soundtrack is not complete without it. Melodic and wonderful.

black box Where to Get It: iTunes, Bandcamp

Seth Timbs | Belly Full of Christmas | (2018)
A double-sided holiday single straight out of Nashville, this belly full of good cheer comes in two flavors: ballad and uptempo celebration. “This is Your Christmas Song” is a pretty tune in which a mother sings to her child about comfort and joy that will last through the years (“And life will be sweet and long/Until we’re old and grey/From now on/So says your Christmas song”). “Belly Full of Christmas” is a good old-fashioned uptempo celebration that urges the listener to get just what the title suggests. It couldn’t be catchier. Seth Timbs always delivers; may 2019 be his year.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

Dana Countryman | “Gonna Be Home for Christmas” (2018)
Continuing with his ongoing tradition of offering a joyous Christmas song every year, the King of Retro-Pop delivers this sweet paean to being together at the holidays. Dana’s wife Tricia sings, Jon Goforth plays sax, and you benefit from the artist’s ongoing commitment to communicate to listeners the joy of pop music. (“Gonna Be Home for Christmas” is a bonus track on Dana’s latest album, Cabaret of Love, which is highly recommended.)

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp (Purchase Cabaret of Love here)

Terry Draper | A Very Terry Christmas (2016)
Resplendent on the cover in front of his Christmas tree and wearing his Santa hat and sunglasses, Klaatu’s Terry Draper pours a heaping helping of Christmas cheer in the form of five warm holiday classic sides, including two versions of the Beatles’ “Christmas Time is Here Again” (one by the jolly musical mirth makers, the Swamp Manor Jug Band), and two versions of the lovely ballad “A Song for Christmas,” one sung by Maureen Leeson. Full of joy and goodness, and a must play during the holidays.

black box Where to Get It: Terry’s Digital Store, Amazon

Win a Pair of Presents!

Enter below to win a pair of melodic presents for the holiday season from Pure Pop Radio (Dana Countryman’s new Cabaret of Love and the Corner Laughers’ 2015 CD, Matilda Effect). Be sure to fill in all fields (type “Dana on the Corner” in the Comment field), and send the completed form to us by tomorrow–Tuesday, December 18, at noon ET. US residents only. Good luck!

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Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the premiere website covering the melodic pop scene with in-depth reviews of new and reissued recordings, and a wide variety of features. We’ve been around since the first weekly Pure Pop Radio shows, which began broadcasting in 1995 and ended this past August. Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today. Happy holidays!

New on Pure Pop Radio 7.27.16

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Spins and Reviews | 7.27.16 | by Alan Haber

Tops of the pops today, tomorrow and beyond…

cotton mather - death of the cool coverCotton Mather | Death of the Cool
Putting pen to paper with the purpose of writing and recording a song for each of the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching, Robert Harrison quickly found himself knee-deep in the process of bringing his band Cotton Mather back to life. The first of four projected albums collecting these songs, Death of the Cool is a powerhouse release, as good or better than the classic Kontiki, which was reissued in a deluxe edition in 2012. The jaunty mid-tempo “Candy Lilac,” lovely ballad “The Land of Flowers,” and the poised-to-be-a-hit-at-radio catchy pop song “Child Bride” are prime Cotton Mather and only three reasons to dig into this classic band again.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “The Middle of Nowhere,” “Candy Lilac,” “The Land of Flowers,” “Never Be It,” “Queen of Swords,” “Child Bride,” and “The End of DeWitt Finley.”

look parkLook Park | Look Park
Chris Collingwood, endeavoring to write songs as far away from Fountains of Wayne as can be, winds up writing songs that, for the most part, could have found their way onto just about any Fountains of Wayne album–at least that’s the way I hear them. Named after the Frank Newhall Look Memorial Park, an actual municipal park in Northampton, Massachusetts, Look Park is a sturdy vehicle for Collingwood’s wonderful songs, from the sweet-sounding, upbeat “Shout Part 1″ to”I’m Gonna Haunt this Place,” a lovely waltz (with an eventual military snare pattern taking hold). The singer’s uniquely-sweet vocals are as attractive as ever.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Shout Part 1,” “Breezy,” “Aeroplane,” “You Can Come Round If You Want To,” “I’m Gonna Haunt this Place,” and “Save Yourself.”

richard barone and john sebastianRichard Barone featuring John Sebastian | “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?”
A spirited, joyous take on John Sebastian’s classic song from the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Do You Believe in Magic album, this single, a taster for Richard’s long-awaited, forthcoming Sorrows and Promises: Greenwich Village in the 1960s, features, in addition to Richard on lead vocal and acoustic guitar, Sebastian on autoharps, harmonica and voice, the Smithereens’ Dennis Diken on drums, and Steve Addabbo on electric guitar. Beautifully done.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

seth timbs line of demarcationSeth Timbs | “Line of Demarcation”
A song that won’t fit snugly into the album he’s currently working on, “Line of Demarcation” finds Seth Timbs singing about the tussle between people who just can’t get along. This is becoming our life in 2016, in this fractured political year. Seth has said that the song is “about long distance telepathy and the sweeping consequences of papal decree,” which is probably more to the point, but still…I can posit a supposition, can’t I? Seth plays everything on this wonderful, folky track (his vocal is smooth and sure)–kind of a contemporary number with a folky ’60s heart, and a big favorite around these parts.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

mark bacino not that guyMark Bacino | “Not that Guy”
Just released, “Not that Guy” charts the course of someone who wants to be invested in his relationship but finds himself relegated to persona non grata status. This toe-tappingly perky, happy sounding , and catchy-as-catchy-can-be song is nothing less than the marriage of perfect melodic pop music and a lyric that puts a musical spin on a familiar emotional situation. It’s prime Bacino, and the first of many more new songs to come. Essential.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

corey landis and the attacksCorey Landis and the Attacks | Corey Landis and the Attacks
This is the kind of amazing record that, played at full volume for the love of everything that is holy, wakes up the neighbors in the middle of the night but doesn’t piss them off; they wind up inviting themselves over for tea and cookies just as dawn is breaking. Because they have to hear every song again, so infectious is this vibrant collection of 12 floor shaking, ivory keys busting, blood pressure rising slabs of pure piano pop. This Ben Folds Five-meets-Elton John-meets-Jerry Lee Lewis platter takes no prisoners: Landis digs into the keyboard with wild abandon on the pumping “Accident,” strolls with purpose on the mid-tempo, horn-laden “Hard Reaction to Love,” and makes things happen on the amazing tour de force-with-strings “Dress for the Weather.” Co-produced by Landis and Beatles veteran Geoff Emerick, who also engineered and mixed, this is a wild ride you’ll want to take over and over again.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Accident,” “Hard Reaction to Love,” “See You Next Tuesday,” “Loose Ends,” “White Elephant,” “The Ballad of Mikey Stone,” “Dress for the Weather,” and “I Love You (But You’re Crazy).”

More tomorrow.

alan-mic-zeeAlan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Monkees, the Posies, McPherson Grant, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Tune in by clicking on one of the listen links below.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android and iOS devices! Download Our Mobile App.

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

Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show Rolls Out the New Tunes Tonight at 8 pm ET

pop tunes disc smallAlan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show returns tonight at 9 pm ET (6 pm PT) with an all-new episode that puts the spotlight on a whole lot of new songs from new and heritage melodic pop artists now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

In other words, new is this week’s buzzword on Pop Tunes. Stepping onto the stage and singing their hearts out are Kurt Baker, Sports Fan, Michael Carpenter, the Cherry Drops, Scot Sax and Rob Bonfiglio (with a world premiere exclusive song!), Trolley, the Nines, the Dahlmanns, Sproutless, Seth Timbs, and the Handcuffs. Wow! But that’s not all: You also get Pop Tunes’ traditional One and Begun and One and Done sets, and the weekly Beatle Blast, this week featuring George Harrison.

All this plus Dana Countryman’s “(Theme to) Pop Tunes.” Let us repeat: Wow! Tune into Pure Pop Radio tonight at 9 pm ET (6 pm PT) for all of the fun and settle into your comfy chair with Alan Haber and the greatest melodic pop music in the universe!

purepoplogoAlan Haber’s Pop Tunes is a cool deejay show playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. The show airs every Monday night at 9 pm ET (6 pm PT) on Pure Pop Radio, and repeats on Thursday afternoons at noon ET (9 am PT) and Sundays at 3 pm ET (noon PT). Please like us on Facebook by clicking here.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android or iOS devices! Download Our Mobile App.

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

More New Music Added to the Pure Pop Radio Playlist During Premiere Week

purepoplogoYesterday’s list of new songs and artists added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist was only the beginning: We’re just getting started making our unique mix of melodic pop songs from the ’60s to today sing with joy!

Here is another list of just some of the new songs and artists we’ve added to the playlist in the past few days. All are now spinning in rotation on your original 24-hour-a-day home for the greatest pop music in the universe.

Let the melodies begin flowing!

the ravinesThe Ravines | Everything’s Fine We suppose it would have been a bit cheeky to call this album Everything’s Really Super Great, but that’s the way we felt the first time we took these songs for a spin. Just over a half hour long, the 10 songs here will simultaneously lift your spirits if they need lifting, make you smile when you’re thinking frown, and put a lilt in your step. The band’s press materials draw comparisons to Tom Petty, Teenage Fanclub and Crowded House, and boy, are they spot on. I’d add James Taylor into the mix, especially considering the deftly played acoustic guitar in “Queen Bee.” When the harmonies and background vocals come in, you’d swear heaven had deposited itself on earth. The song’s lovely melody is simply icing on a very tasty cake.

“Right Man Wrong Time” is an uptempo, catchy guitar pop number reminiscent of the much-loved band Venice. “Working Class Girl” is a charmer, a message to the one who can make the singer happy; the message is “don’t go where you’re not appreciated–come here, come home.” The songs, by vocalist and guitarist Chris Corney, are spectacular, and the band plays like they’re having the best time of their lives. We’ve added the entire album: the aforementioned songs, and the title cut, “Blue Eyes,” “Tambareen,” “Daydream,” “Dead Letters,” “Indigo,” and “It’s Only Love,” which starts off in the Who’s “My Generation” territory and quickly becomes a bit of a beat number driven by tapping toes. Yes, yet another entry in the best-of-2015 sweepstakes. Really great.

carlie mariCarlie Mari | “Share Your Loving,” “When You Were Mine,” and “Sweet Setting Sun” Thanks to Cloud Eleven’s Rick Gallego, whose new album, Record Collection, is tearing up the Pure Pop Radio airwaves, for alerting us to this talented young woman and her fine songs. Produced by Rick, who played most of the instruments, these three songs are top of the pops with us. “Share Your Loving” is a pop torch song with a strong melody and Carlie’s expressive vocal. “Sweet Setting Sun” moves from gentle ballad to a more fully realized arrangement, again buoyed by Carlie’s great vocal. And “When You Were Mine” is a lovely number adorned with a gorgeous melody. We look forward to hearing more. Now playing in rotation.

the big believe handsThe Big Believe | “Hands Heads Triangles” We added a number of songs from Amanda Thompson’s recording project almost a month ago, and noted in our review that we looked forward to hearing more. Our wishes have been granted: Now playing in rotation is this delicious, piano-based ballad complete with double-tracked and harmony vocals, a catchy melody, and atmosphere to spare. Of course, this song only makes us want to hear more; we hope that wishing will make that so.

seth timbs one man argumentSeth Timbs | One Man Argument This 2011 album from the former front man for the group Fluid Ounces (who has played with the Long Players) is a wonderful melodic pop collection full of wonderful songs. In a word, it’s wonderful. We’ve added five songs to our playlist: the beautifully arranged folk-popper “Loved to Pieces,” which is as cuddly and melodic a tune as could possibly be; “Don’t Worry,” another cuddly tune with a beautiful melody; “Horsefeathers,” a popping stomper of a tune; and “Meant to Be Apart” and “Trophy Wife,” the latter of which is another stomper, and Nilsson-esque to boot! Great stuff.

tommy sistak a new dayTommy Sistak | “A New Day” This inventive pop tapestry, bursting with influences from Herman’s Hermits to Roy Wood, is a typically catchy and fun creation from the creative master behind the wonderful Short Songs album, which we continue to spin in rotation here at Pure Pop Radio. It hardly gets better than this.

Tony Valentino and Dan Markell

Tony Valentino and Dan Markell

Tony Valentino and Dan Markell | “Late Night Radio” The Standells’ Tony Valentino has teamed up with Pure Pop Radio favorite Dan Markell for this modern garage-tinged rock and roll classic. Pounding drums and sizzling electric guitar punctuate the toe-tapping proceedings. Now playing in rotation, and proudly so.

*     *     *     *     *

Not bad for a Wednesday, right? We’ll have more new adds to our playlist for you tomorrow, including a big blast of now-playing-in-rotation songs from the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Til then!

Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour-a-day Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Bill Lloyd to the Legal Matters, the New Trocaderos and the Ravines, we play the best, melodic tunes anywhere.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android or iOS devices! Download Our Mobile App.

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

Welcome to Wintry Mix Wednesday! More New Music Debuts!

As a wintry mix of this and that falls outside of the spacious Pure Pop Radio headquarters, we declare that of all the things we do here, adding new music to the playlist is our favorite task…job one, if truth be known. We’ve been busy, as usual, listening to new songs from favorite, heritage artists and new and upcoming folks with a guitar, keyboard and something to sing at the ready. Here’s some more of what we’ve debuted on the air during the past couple of days:

jonathan-rundman-look-upJonathan Rundman | Look Up For his first album of new songs in a decade, Jonathan Rundman let his guitars gather dust in the corner and took to a dizzying array of keyboards for a dazzling selection of songs supported by great players, including a number of slam-bang cameos from Parthenon Huxley and Brent Bourgeois, among others. Songs like the straight-ahead power pop of the jaunty “Prioritize Us” and “Northbound Traffic” to the early Simon and Garfunkel vibe of the gentle “Second Shelf Down” and the punchy, melodic closer, “No More Old Times,” Rundman scores big. Always, the singer’s gentle voice is up front and guiding these songs home. A welcome return for one of pop’s great talents, and an early candidate for best of the year honors. In addition to the aforementioned songs, we’re playing the following tunes in rotation: “The Science of Rockets,” “Helicopters of Love,” “Painter,” and “Home Unknown.”

the-blood-rush-hourThe Blood Rush Hour | And Then.. The Unthinkable Happened… Wales psychotherapist and musician Robert DeStefano returns with his fellow band members to unleash a grand, elegant sophomore effort, the follow up to 2012’s Shrink. Think 10cc for the digital age. The songs range from a toe-tapping 10cc/Jose Feliciano/Jethro Tull melange (the gorgeous, upbeat “Too Hard to Put Right,” with a short, shocking, Godley and Creme background vocal insert) to the charging pop of “Mr. Wonderful.” In between, you get the strings-fueled, medium-paced pop-rocker “Dancing by Yourself,” about accounting for your decisions in life (“The verdict is open/And you’ll only know when/You tire of dancing by yourself”), and a melodically charged, horns-fueled song about deception, “I Never Lied to You” (“I’ve always been open and honest, frank and transparent/Forthright and true/With fingers crossed I state categorically/I never lied to you”). We’re spinning nine songs in total, including those we’ve just mentioned. The others? “Ad Astra per Aspera,” “Run to the Roundhouse,” “(The Day I Finally) Stopped the War,” “A Song that Some Sing,” and “I See Something.” Another candidate for best of the year honors. Whew! We’re off and running this year, aren’t we?

seth-timbsSeth Timbs | “Center of Attention” and “The Only Pretty Girl in Town.” After five albums with the group Fluid Ounces and other musical pursuits, Nashville’s Seth Timbs turns his attention to a single of his own, comprising the catchy, beat-driven “Center of Attention” (featuring a surprise left rhythmic turn about halfway through), and the romantic tale of the girl who may just get away, “The Only Pretty Girl in Town.” A pretty pair, now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

the-moogThe Moog | “So You Wanna Be in Love” Budapest, Hungary’s the Moog have released a driving slice of catchy pop in advance of the band’s upcoming EP release. “So You Wanna Be in Love” burrows its deep hook into your brain upon first listen, with a chorus that should help to propel this band forward, building on previous releases and tours here in America and abroad. We look forward to hearing the new EP; in the meantime, dig this cool tune.

matthew-shacallisMatthew Shacallis | Reach the Stars Only 21 years old, Sydney, Australia’s Matthew Shacallis originally started this collection as a university recording project. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, it’s becoming much more than that. It’s certainly caught our attention. From the jangly pop of “Nothing to Show” and the hit-worthy “Summer Sun” to the John Lennon ballad vibe of “Reach the Stars,” this is top shelf all the way. Welcome to Pure Pop Radio, Matthew. These songs are now spinning in rotation.

That’s it for today…just a taste of what’s new and now spinning in rotation at your home for the greatest melodic pop in the universe, Pure Pop Radio. Check back tomorrow for more new adds to our playlist!

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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