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Spins and Reviews | July 6, 2016 | by Alan Haber

The hits just keep on coming, with the Carpenter touch in today’s lead positions…

michael carpenter and the cuban heelsMichael Carpenter and the Cuban Heels | Ain’t Nothing Left to Say Country? Sure, there’s that, but moreover there are a dozen room-filling explosions of sound emblazoned with Carpenter’s trademark melodic touch. Witness the boom-boom-to-snare power of the catchy “One of these Days I’m Gonna Get Myself Right,” the easy intro-to-mid-tempo-pop punch of “Big in the City,” and the pumping, big guitars, big drums punch of “Black Chevy.” There really isn’t anything this Australian musical magician can’t do. Our playlist, and melodic pop music in general, benefit always from his mastery of the pop form.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Ain’t Nothing Left to Say,” “Black Chevy,” “I Should Have Told You,” “One of these Days,” “One of these Days I’m Gonna Get Myself Right,” “Photo,” “Big in the City,” “You’re Givin’ Love a Good Name,” “Thank You.”

crash and the crapenters 2Crash and the Crapenters | Set in Stone Pumping and thumping within just about the complete opposite spectrum of the Cuban Heels’ platter, the combo of three Carpenters–Chris, Michael, and Paul–congregate to bash out 15 smashing Chris and Michael originals (plus one Paul Weller cover). The breathless pace and let-it-all-hang-out attack is somewhat outside Pure Pop Radio’s usual purview, but the four-on-the-floor pop-rocker “Pray to Your Own God” and the upbeat, early Elvis Costello nod “Everything’s Coming My Way” fit perfectly. Yet another side of Michael’s musical palette, and a fun, assured debut for brother Chris.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Pray to Your Own God” and “Everything’s Coming My Way.”

cloud elevenCloud Eleven | Garden of Obscure Delights: A Retrospective (1996-2015) Spanning a period of 19-years, from the infant waxings of Jiffipop to last year’s sterling Record Collection, this ace release showcases the many colors and moods contained in Rick Gallego’s paintbox. An astounding selection, highlights include the lovely, mid-tempo pop ballad “Flying” from 1996’s debut from Jiffipop, Demolicious, to the dreamy, luscious, melodic wonder “Ocean,” from 2006’s Sweet Happy Life. A trio of outtakes from 2015’s Record Collection, including a winning, atmospheric cover of the 1971 Fleetwood Mac single, “Dragonfly,” close out the top-flight program. Gallego is an artist that deserves, as he always has, to fly well above the radar. He can only fly higher from here.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Blue Butterfly,” “Dragonfly,” “Evaporate,” “Flying,” “Hurry Home,” “Ocean,” “Rainbow Station,” “Sound on Sound,” “Take Control,” and “The One.”

solarflairs stereo alleySolarflairs | “Stereo Alley” Literally just in minutes ago from these Memphis power popsters that, the band says, don’t sound like a power pop band, this gently aggressive and lively guitars-driven number adds to the previous songs already on our playlist. Catchy as always.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

indie artists united for world peace

kirk adams photo - pop 4

Kirk Adams | “Love’s Looking for You” (from Indie Artists United for World Peace)  Appearing on this compilation promoting the world’s number one goal alongside wife Gale Trippsmith and Pop 4 compatriots Andrea Perry and KC Bowman, Florida resident Adams unspools an outtake from his superb 2015 long player Undertown. Beautiful ballad drips with melody to spare; a superbly sung and played and featuring a lovely George Harrison-esque guitar solo, this is a keeper for the ages.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

andy reed introduction'Andy Reed | An Introduction to Andy Reed Andy Reed’s importance in the grand scheme of all things melodic pop can not be overstated; the proof is here in this peerless collection of songs spotlighting his innate talent. The pure pop pleasures of “World of Make Believe,” from 2011’s An American Underdog album, Always On the Run; the beautiful, melodic “Dreaming of the West Coast,” from last year’s Relay Vol. 1 EP, and the glorious, straight-ahead cover of Jay Ferguson’s “Thunder Island” from the vinyl release of 2013’s celebration of lite rock, Drink a Toast to Innocence, dazzle, but then so do all 11 tracks. A great introduction, available on vinyl and in digital form, to the joy of listening to Andy Reed.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Thunder Island,” “Dreaming of the West Coast,” “World of Make Believe,” “Your Reign is Over,” “The Show Goes On,” “Crimes of Paris,” and “Always on the Run.”

flossyFlossy | “Cloudy Brain” From Perth, Australia, songstress Lauren M. O’Hara and her sister Sinead pair up to produce this bluesy rocker balancing above a pop highwire. Deep, thumping bass, thrashing drums by Chris Winterburn, raging guitars, and committed vocals rule the grooves. Impossible to ignore, and you shouldn’t.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

More to come.

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

If You Liked New Music Tuesday, You’ll Love New Music Wednesday!

alan-mic-zWe’re just getting started reporting on all of the new songs and artists we’re adding to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Today’s mega-post follows yesterday’s exciting list of hot new numbers we’re featuring as part of our hand-picked 8,600-strong rotation.

Let’s get to today’s array of top-flight tunes.

coverGleeson | Curse My Lucky Stars Whether or not it was their intention, the members of Austin, Texas band Gleeson have made their White Album. Here it is, a sparkling collection of songs varied in approach and tone that makes a case for melodic pop being the genre of the moment. Encompassing beautiful balladry, art-pop, rock and retro charm, Curse My Lucky Stars is a marvel.

It would be a disservice to listeners to touch on every joyous surprise within these grooves, so I’ll touch on just a few to whet your appetite. “Lollygagged” combines a Randy Newman-like arrangement with Paul McCartney melodicism for a superlative listening experience. “Troll Day,” this album’s first single, pushes electric guitar stabs with a new-waveish melodic attack, eventually settling on a old-fashioned rock motif. And the incredible, adventurous “Milton Bradley Bible” washes the proceedings with a Godley and Creme approach and enough musical ideas to get a hundred songs off the ground.

Real strings and horns, of which not enough can be said in these days of electronic impersonation, and the throw-everyone-off-course marching band anthem “The Gleeson Victory March,” plus these wonderful, imaginative songs, all add up to a listening experience that will likely be unequaled for the rest of this year. Unless it is, of course, but you need not worry: Gleeson will be here to catch your fall.

Within these grooves, unparalleled excellence abounds, and we’ve got nine examples of it playing in rotation: “What’s Going On,” “Troll Day,” “Lollygagged,” “With My Motive Gone,” “Something New,” “Monte Siesta,” “The Size of Empathy,” “Seasons,” and “Milton Bradley’s Bible.”

What an album!

– Alan Haber

timmy sean my jaded love 2016Timmy Sean | “My Jaded Love” After a year’s worth of new recordings that lit up the sky in 2015, master musician Timmy Sean returns with the first of 25-plus new numbers in 2016–roughly half of last year’s output. Amazing. And, to use a well-worn baseball metaphor, this first song, a Hall and Oates seventies-styled slice of soulful pop, hits the proverbial it out of the park. Listen especially for a truly lovely bridge toward the end, the way that Timmy varies the lead vocal line as the song plays out, and a brief, wisp of an a cappella burst that, taken together, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this man, as he was in 2015, is the musician to watch and listen to in 2016. Simply irresistible.

Family Values cover - smallFamily Values | Time Stands Still Small packages are filled with great things. In this case, Norway’s Family Values, working with producer Tom Dahl (Caddy), offers up an EP housing a quartet of ultra-catchy songs reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub and the Merrymakers. “Paris Syndrome,” “Take Some Time Now, Carolina,” “Time Stands Still,” and “Watch the Sunrise” are all top of the pops here at Pure Pop Radio. Wonderful.

album cover 7horse7Horse | Livin’ in a Bitch of a World Rising from the ashes of Pure Pop Radio fave Dada, Joie Calio and Phil Leavitt now trade in a similar musical mindset. Their music is a mix of rock and roll and pop. The pair’s keen sense of melody and song structure are always placed center stage. Our playlist is now adorned with four songs from this album: “Two Stroke Machine,” “One Week,” “Drift,” and “She’s So Rock and Roll,” a beat-driven, guitar-fueled rave-up that could have been big on FM radio in the ’70s. Sweet.

song graphicAdam Walsh – “Wish You Were Here” Pure Pop Radio favorite Adam Walsh continues to turn out delectable takes on songs he loves; his version of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” turns this tune into a folk-rock testament with Adam’s always-commanding voice up front where it belongs. We continue to be nothing less than knocked out by the quality of this man’s output.

the looking album coverThe Looking | Lead Me to the Water Americana, yes, but wrapped in a country-pop wrapper and perfect for Pure Pop Radio. Led by Indiana-born Todd Carter, these songs are catchy numbers played with passion. Carter listened to Syd Barrett’s “Dark Globe,” Husker Du and the Circle Jerks and wound up embracing country music on the way to crafting this wonderful album. We’re playing six songs in rotation: “Not Your Friend”; “Clouds”; “You and Me”; “Bone to Pick,” an orchestrated gem; “Burning Doves,” and the title track. Great stuff.

solarflairs carnivalSolarflairs | “Carnival” Elisabeth Eickhoff’s Memphis, Tennessee outfit Solarflairs returns to Pure Pop Radio just three weeks after we added the group’s “Spirit of Johnny” to our playlist. We’re happy to bring you this teriffic new song, an upbeat number with a great melody and spirit, as part of our rotation.

hartley mandel cover 2Hartley Mandel | “Brother of Mine” Co-written by Hartley and Klaatu’s Terry Draper, “Brother of Mine” is a nostalgic, personal song inspired by Hartley’s late brother. The song’s beautiful melody and Hartleys vocals carry the day. A lovely track, produced by Terry, who also plays the instruments, now in rotation.

That’s a wrap on today’s tour of some of the latest new songs and artists added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Still more coming tomorrow. Until then, why not click on one of the listen links below and hear some of the greatest melodic pop music in the world, spanning six decades of joy. Pure Pop Radio is the place to be!

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

Radio Days and More In the Spotlight on Day Four of Pure Pop Radio’s Springtime New Music Explosion!

alan-micThe days are bulging with great new songs and albums and artists, so here’s another list of what’s spinning for the first time on Pure Pop Radio–days four and five of our Springtime New Music Explosion combined into one. Let’s start with another incredible long player that’s sure to be a favorite of yours, and yours too. Here is Alan’s review.

radio days back in the dayRadio Days | Back in the Day You know how it was when you were younger, when the mere hint of a new album from one of your favorite bands put a smile on your face that stayed there until you held the album in your hands, and then stayed there still? That’s how we feel about Radio Days. The band’s new album, set for release on April 23, is their best yet, a great collection of pop and rock and roll that is nothing less than their crowning achievement thus far, and that’s really saying something.

The band’s first record as a trio, Back in the Day was basically recorded live in their sound man’s basement; you can feel the energy dripping off the walls, as if the songs were being played in the original Cavern Club in Liverpool. There is an immediacy to the playing and an emotional intensity in the vocal delivery and instrumental backing. The harmonies are grand. Most of all, there is a strong sense of commitment to making a great album, which is what Radio Days has done.

The sprightly, decidedly Merseybeat-styled opener, “Why Don’t You Love Me Anymore,” conjures images of fans gathered close to the stage, moving this way and that to the beat, almost crying for the joy of the song as wild guitar figures and percussion play to the groove. It’s a spectacular opening number.

There is so much to love here. The energetic, beat-driven “I’m in Love With You”shows off the group’s mastery of the melodic pop form while incorporating both upbeat and somewhat subdued passages. “Back in the Day,” another top-notch upbeat pop song, celebrates the spirit of Badfinger, Raspberries, the Who, and the Knack, and wedges in a sly little key change about two-thirds of the way through. “Smash this Party,” a smart pop-rocker, actually sounds like it could have been recorded by late-period Klaatu.

More wonders abound on this album, like “Subway Station Girl,” with its bopping rhythm and rocking guitar solos played in the early rock ‘n’ roll style (think Buddy Holly); and a mid-tempo ballad, “Betta (Are You Feeling Better?),” that wouldn’t have felt out of place on the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night album. The rest, well, we’ll leave for you to discover for yourselves.

On April 1, we’ll be adding all of the songs on Back in the Day to our playlist: “Why Don’t You Love Me Anymore,” “Rock and Roll Night,” “You Won’t Fool Me Twice,” “Back in the Day,” “Your Words,” “I’m in Love with You,” “You Bring Me Down,” “Out of the Shade,” “Subway Station Girl,” “Best Friend,” “Deep Blue Eyes,” “Smash this Party,” “Never Gonna Make It,” and “Betta.” Prepare to smile.

– Alan Haber

the jangle band album 2016The Jangle Band | Edge of a Dream The band members (Pure Pop Radio favorite Joe Algeri among them) may be spread across Australia, but they come together to forge a solid pop sound on their debut album. Whether they’re dressed in pure pop clothes for the lovely and catchy mid-tempo title song, Byrds-ing it up in the Roger McGuinn-ish “Love You Too” (which includes a beautiful, rubbery vocal line in the chorus and kicks off with a “Be My Baby” drum beat, which seems to be the thing in pop this year), or slowing down to ballad pace with the pretty “Exile on Murray Street,” the Jangle Band is on the case with an album’s worth of catchy delights, beautifully sung and played. We’re playing the aforementioned songs, plus “282,” “It Won’t Break,” “Let Me Breathe,” “This Soul is Not for Sale,” and “Kill the Lovers.” Nice going, guys.

damien binder coverDamien Binder – A New World Sydney, Australia’s Damien Binder is today’s second artist in the spotlight from down under. He fits in well here at Pure Pop Radio, seeing as how his album is co-produced by Michael Carpenter and features Kylie Whitney on backing vocals. Binder’s vocals are strong and expressive, and the playing is exquisite. There is a Byrds-ian edge to “A New World” and “Breaking Beyond Me” (and there you have today’s second Byrds reference); “I Won’t Let You Down Again” has an Abbey Road-period Lennon quality about it; and “What You Call Your Own” is an upbeat pop song with a country sheen. We’re playing these songs in rotation. Welcome, Damien Binder, to Pure Pop Radio.

solarflairs spirit of johnnySolarflairs | “Spirit of Johnny” Memphis, Tennessee’s Solarflairs, fronted by bass player Elisabeth Eickhoff, who also handles lead vocals, hits big right out of the gate with this powerful mid-tempo ballad, a catchy number with great vocal harmonies in the choruses. An understated U2 guitar approach (really) adds an interesting and effective layer to the proceedings. Good work; we look forward to the next release.

cait brennan debutanteCait Brennan | Debutante This stylistically-diverse debut has been greeted with open arms for good reason–it’s remarkably assured and full of life. “Once Upon a Nevermind” and “Madame Pompadour” are pure pop delights, and “I Want You Back” hits with an amped-up mix of Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello nods and Brennan’s urgent, spitfire lead vocal. The torch song vibe of “Showman” is driven by slightly ghost-like keyboards and churchly organ. We’re playing these songs, and “All in Love is Fair” and “Underworld.” Great stuff.

stereo tiger performing songsStereo Tiger | Performing Songs Stereo Tiger’s latest release, an EP containing five covers of favorite tunes, hits the proverbial bullseye, which is not a surprise around these parts. The band pays tribute to the mighty Beach Boys classic, “Don’t Worry Baby”; bows to the majesty of Badfinger’s “No Matter What”; swoons to Elliot Smith’s “Pretty Ugly (Before)”; and pops out, Paul McCartney-esque style, with Sloan’s “C’mon C’mon (We’re Gonna Get it Started).” Silky smooth pop vocals and ace musicianship abound. This is free at Bandcamp. Snap it up, would be our suggestion. And, of course, listen to these songs here on Pure Pop Radio.

red cabin white morningRed Cabin | White Morning Hailing from New York’s Long Island, Jonathan Foster turns in a fine album full of beautiful songs, including the somber, melodic “Fade into You,” the dreamlike “The Look,” and the straight-ahead soft poppy “Dead Man’s Stare.” Like the aforementioned Stereo Tiger release, it’s free at Bandcamp. Enjoy, in rotation, here.

the alloy sixThe Alloy Six | “Each Night” These Stockholm, Sweden-based popsters play through a beat-driven, energy-filled number, now playing in rotation. We’re happy to join Jonas, Johan, Staffan, Ola, Per and Mathias on their musical journey.

jeff larsonJeff Larson | “February Passing Through” We continue to bow to the talents of Jeff Larson, who we’ve been playing for around 18 years on the various incarnations of Pure Pop Radio. This pretty song, with Jeff’s plaintive vocal up front and close, is another feather in his cap, a lovely number that will stay with you through frequent listens. Now playing in rotation.

michael krollMichael Kroll | Clamourous This veteran musician plays in a bluesy rock style, singing with a hint of a softened growl in his voice. “Allegiance” is one such number, but the artist paints with other colors, too, as someone who studied the songs of the Beatles might do. “The Light” is a catchy pop song with one foot in the ’60s folk movement; “Young” is the kind of considered ballad ’70s singer-songwriters would have included in the repertoires. “Blue” is a lively, upbeat, catchy song that more than hints at what Kroll would sound like in concert. Now playing in rotation.

*     *     *     *     *

That’s five days of our Springtime New Music Explosion rolled into four–a pretty neat trick, don’t you think? Now, it’s your turn to listen to the above-mentioned songs and 8,500 more playing in rotation on your home for the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today…Pure Pop Radio. Enjoy!

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