Reviews: 3.5.19: The Big Believe Meets Tania, Kenny Herbert is the Luckiest Man in the World, and the Well Wishers are Feeling Fine

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

The Big Believe | “Tania Was a Truth Teller”
b/w “Girl With Cassettes” (2018)

A paean of four-on-the-floor Blondie in 2018? That’s the engine driving the intrigue-laced “Tania Was a Truth Teller,” the first of the two top tracks that make up The Big Believe’s late-2018 pop blast; both were mixed in you-are-there stereo by Fritz Catlin of the band 23 Skidoo. (Dig the pop art cover by Peter Quinnell.)

Meeting by the bridge in the dead of night, Tania has the answers to the questions at hand. But can she be trusted? “Tania was a truth teller,” the narrator notes. “She liked to dress like a feller.” She lives “on and on and on and on,” but is she the real thing? “I thought I saw Tania on the high road/But it was just the sunlight in my eyes.” Hmm… A mystery in song, and a catchy one at that, featuring The New Pornagraphers’ Todd Fancey on guitar.

Fancey also features on “Girl With Cassettes,” a fast, fizzy and loud pop-rocker about the girl who dazzles her way to point b from point a with nary a care (“She drives through the red/She stops at the green/Is blinded by everything in between”). She’s the girl “in the green t-shirt” who’s got her eyes transfixed on the one who can make things happen: “Oh if only they knew what a boy can do/To the girl who collects cassettes, cassettes, cassettes.” OMD meets Duran Duran in this grand, imaginative romp.

The Big Believe, aka Amanda Thompson, is working on the band’s second album, Juggernaut, to be released later this year. You’d better…believe we’re psyched.

Where to Get It: 7-inch with mp3 download: The Big Believe’s website; iTunes, Amazon

Kenny Herbert | “The Luckiest Man in the World” (2019)

I have been absolutely delighted and enriched to have the music of Kenny Herbert in my life for going on 15-plus years. His melodic prowess is virtually unequaled. Everything he releases speaks directly to my heart.

“The Luckiest Man in the World,” just released, is another classic creation from up Edinburgh, Scotland way–a beautifully realized mid-tempo ballad about the love he shares with his beloved wife Caroline. With music surrounding them, they are charmed, and so is the listener.

Produced by Bob Heatlie and featuring Rab Howat singing backgrounds, “The Luckiest Man in the World” expresses Kenny’s thoughts through clever lyrics, such as this clever verse invoking the Chairman of the Board: “Feel like the luckiest man in the world/
I’ve got my music and my beautiful girl/Feel like Sinatra playing the Sands/I’m gonna love you like no other man.”

The cover art for this truly wonderful song, among Kenny’s best, says it all, really; it depicts Kenny and Caroline in dreamy silhouette and was lensed this year in Liverpool, home of the Fab Four.

Enjoy a lovely, live acoustic version of “The Luckiest Man in the World,” performed by Kenny at the water’s edge in St. Fillans in Scotland’s central highlands:

Add this song to your collection? By all means.

Where to Get It: iTunes

The Well Wishers | “Feelin Fine” b/w “Second Hand News” (2019)

Jeff Shelton’s outfit returns with a snappy, poppy, upbeat, guaranteed-to-please popper that keeps the beat going with pure joy on its mind. “Feelin Fine” raises the stakes with a very R.E.M.-ish feel, a catchy chorus, and some widescreen harmony touches. The Wishers’ take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Second Hand News” is basically a reverent tip-of-the-hat to one of those Lindsey Buckingham earworms that takes up permanent residence in there. Must’ve been fun to record.

Where to Get It: Bandcamp

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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 the 24-hour Pure Pop Radio station, which ended last August.

Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today.

New on Pure Pop Radio 9.6.16

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Spins and Reviews | 9.6.16 | by Alan Haber

peter lacey seaside hideawayPeter Lacey | “Seaside Hideaway” Single
Hot on the heels of his latest album, New Way Lane, released this past May, the British pop troubadour releases a jolly summer single with the ska-riffic title track the top drawer. Short and sweet and happy to make your acquaintance, it’s joined by the gentle reggae rhythms-meet-Beach Boys song “Sea Quester Bay”; you can just imagine the comforting winds swaying around you. Lovely to have more melodic Lacey to comfort our souls during these last, warm days of September.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.
black box Where to Get It: 
Bandcamp

twice rhymesundial symphony todaySundial Symphony | “Merri Goes Round,” “Today is Just Like You,” and “Looking for Sunsets (In the Early Morning)”
Cheery bubblegum pop seems to be in rather short supply these days, so thank yous all around to pop’s all-purpose friend Robbie Rist and Don Frankel, who comprise the dynamic duo Sundial Symphony. All three songs could have been waxed by Ron Dante and the Archies (this is quite possibly already happening in an alternate, chewy universe). Kudos to Paul Levinson, who wrote “Today is Just Like You” solo and “Looking for Sunsets (In the Early Morning)” and “Merri Goes Round” with Ed Fox, for these melodic wonders. As a special bonus, we’re playing the slightly less-than-chewy original versions of “Today” and “Looking,” taken from Paul’s 1972 album, Twice Upon a Rhyme. Sweet.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Merri Goes Round,” “Today is Just Like You” (Sundial Symphony and original 1972 versions), and “Looking for Sunsets (In the Early Morning)” (Sundial Symphony and original 1972 versions).
black box Where to Get It: iTunes

duggy degs ep coverDuggy Degs | Another Good Thought Brighton, England musician Duggy Degs marries melody to thought on these expressive numbers, with the upbeat title track quite catchy and bathed in brightly experimental shadings. “Bringing the Family Home” is a sixties-sounding balladic, orchestrated composition, jazzy in spots. Heavier still, “Meltdown” rocks determinedly as if Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson were on board with his magic flute. Top notch.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Bringing the Family Home,” “Meltdown,” and the title song.
black box Where to Get It: jemiblue.com from September 15

the recreations smile againThe Recreations | “Smile Again” For his second appearance on Pure Pop Radio, and all the way from Tokyo, Japan, comes pop visionary Yohei with another unique stretch of pop real estate, this time covering the circumference of a meeting-of-the-minds between sixties pop melody and contemporary vocal stylings. Plus a bit of alt-esque shading.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

the big believe pay for soupThe Big Believe | “Pay for Soup” Amanda Thompson, readying a Big Believe album for release in the upcoming fall, offers up a catchy summer kind of song, a light and airy number with a sweet vocal and a hooky chorus. This may well be my favorite Amanda song yet. It may well be yours, too.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

More tomorrow.

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You’ll Be Saying, “That’s My New Favorite Song!” Say Hello to Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Tuesday!

alan-mic-zeeOnce again, we’ve got a pile of new music to add to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Said pile reaches from the floor to the ceiling, which means it’s time to add said new music to our hard-working rotation.

Here are just some of the new sounds you’ll hear by tuning into Pure Pop Radio–simply click on one of the listen links below to get poppin’! And now, here we go…

butch youngButch Young | Mercury Man Never, never, never tell us that the album is a goner–Butch Young’s miraculous, hall-of-fame-worthy Mercury Man instantly announces itself as one of the best albums of 2016 with its dazzling array of  1970s-styled instant classics, peppered with a mix of Paul McCartney and Harry Nilsson-esque magic. Every one of these Los Angeles-based artist’s songs is a clear winner. We’re playing all of them in rotation: the title track, “Persephone,” “One Foot In,” “Dime Store Jesus,” “The Fools of May,” “Child of Nature,” “Sunday Driver,” “Mohammed on Top of the Mountain,” “Algernon,” “Asteroid,” “Wonderful Life,” and “Starlit Lullaby.” Astounding and really terrific.

doughboys rock onThe Doughboys | “Rock On” And here they come, barreling in from outer space or some wild and untamed structure being held together by bailing wire and chewing gum somewhere in the outer reaches, wherever that might be. It’s the Doughboys, and they’re rough and tumbling with garage-rock fever inside and around David Essex’s ’70s classic with Richie Heyman’s pounding drums, Myke Scavone’s wailing blues harp, Gar Francis’s rocking guitars and Mike Caruso’s bopping bass. Recorded by the Grip Weed’s Kurt Reil at his House of Vibes studio with widescreen, in-your-face fervor, this is another classic track from New Jersey’s in-the-pocket foursome. Rock on, indeed.

herb eimerman - soft landingHerb Eimerman | “Soft Landing” This beautiful, heartfelt song, Herb’s first new recording of 2016, was written in remembrance of his father. Supported by Stefan Johansson and Joe Algeri, who also mixed and produced, and featuring some of the sweetest background harmonies you’ve heard in a very long time, “Soft Landing” will stay with you always.

cotton mather pledgeCotton Mather | “The Cotton Mather Pledge” The latest in a series of new songs from this venerable Austin, Texas band roars right in with a sneaky cymbal wash straight out of Ringo Starr’s “It Don’t Come Easy” and quickly settles into an energetic pop and roll number starring Robert Harrisons’ slightly-scratchy, fuzzed-out, attention-getting vocal. Dig the Beatle-esque, Rubber Soul-ish guitar harmony at about 1:40. Playing as we speak in rotation, it’s burning up our airwaves.

the lunar laugh - nighthawks and mona lisas - smallThe Lunar Laugh | “Nighthawks and Mona Lisa” Jared Lekites and Connor Anderson are in a light country mood for this breezy, melodic, mid-tempo number slated to be included on the Lunar Laugh’s upcoming second album. It’s another keeper from the stars of Oklahoma City pop.

erik voeks 2016Erik Voeks – “She Loved Her Jangle Pop” and “Blue Water” Erik Voeks’ “My Dentist” is one of the stone-cold classics from Pure Pop Radio’s early days; these new songs are even better. “She Loved Her Jangle Pop” is a joyous, upbeat hookasaurus, as catchy as anything out there. “Blue Water” trades a slow and studied opening for a more upbeat pace, complete with a beautiful melody and more than a hint of Prefab Sprout in its DNA. New Erik Voeks is always a good thing. A great thing, actually.

the del zorros go ahead and ask meThe Del Zorros | “Go Ahead and Ask Me” Monty and Stede continue on in the time-honored Zorros-riffic tradition with another lovely, easygoing and typically tuneful song with another catchy melody that comes from, well, we don’t know where, but keep going there boys, will you? Now playing in rotation, as if there were any doubt.

the lost boys china in the sink'The Lost Boys | “China in the Sink” This rollicking pop-rocker, all dressed up in catchy clothes, screams radio airplay, which is just what we’re giving it. Instantly memorable, with one of those indelible hooks and a short-and-sweet running time–1:49–this is a clear winner. A hit waxing if ever we heard one. Dynamic and quite wonderful.

the big believe april 2016The Big Believe | “You Already Are” We’ve been playing Amanda Thompson’s lovely songs for awhile and loving each one like the gorgeous creatures they are. This one is arguably Amanda’s best yet, a big, atmospheric and emotional ballad with hints of Kate Bush peeking out from its floorboards. Keep ’em coming, please.

sons of morning coverSons of Morning | Sons of Morning Here’s a nice surprise that made us smile. We like this band’s sound, which dips into many catchy musical nooks and crannies. How did they get their sound? Here’s how the band’s website puts it: “Painstaking efforts were made to achieve the desired feel for this album. All tube amps, a choice selection of just the right stringed instruments… drums that sound like drums, recording methods, and production were all key elements in presenting an album with the warmth of the analog days…” We’d say that about sums it up. We’re playing four songs: “He Wore Black,” a tribute to Johnny Cash; “Not a Sound,” “Hard Livin’,” and “Outta My Head,” a tune that could have been on the Association’s first album (no foolin’).

That’s it for today. More tomorrow. In the meantime, why not click on one of the handy listen links below to bathe in the more than 8,600 handpicked songs streaming in rotation on Pure Pop Radio? You’ll love what you hear!

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 Spongetones, the Nines, Kurt Baker, 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

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.

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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

The Hits Just Keep On Coming! Pure Pop Radio’s Big Week of Summer Fun Continues With More New Music. Sing Along If You Know the Words!

music at the beachWe hope you’ve been enjoying Pure Pop Radio’s Big Week of Summer Fun. We’ve certainly enjoyed bringing lots of new music to you. We’ve enjoyed bringing you new editions of our signature Beatles programs, Ken Michaels’ Every Little Thing and the weekly Fab roundtable, Things We Said Today. And let’s not forget, we brought you the exclusive worldwide broadcast premiere of Pop 4’s “Don’t You Be Like That” this past Tuesday evening.

Now, we’ve got more new music from your favorite, heritage artists and out-of-the-box artists we think you’ll come to know and love.

Let’s run down the latest list, shall we?

firekingFireking | Double Trouble Pop and rock meet each other head on in the music of Fireking. The group’s double album bristles with energetic, windblown guitar power and commanding melodies for a can’t miss experience. You can just hear the sweat pouring off the band as they deliver song after song–they’re invested in their material, and it shows. We’ve chosen five numbers for our rotation: “Built to last,” “A Sentimental Education,” “Contagious,” “(Untitled),” “So You Say You Lost Your Baby,” and “Power Pop Chords,” the last of which really says it all as the band stakes their claim in their bid to keep the spirit of power pop alive. Great stuff.

zach jonesZach Jones | Love What You Love From the very first song on this terrific album, it’s obvious that Zach Jones is a master of the art of bringing together various influences. The result is a punchy, giddy love for melody in every song, which is why we have added every song to our playlist. There’s a loving attention to detail, as genres swirl around each other to great effect, like in the wonderfully addictive “Away from You,” which mixes pure pop and easy soul for a verse-chorus construct that’s awfully hard to resist. Save for drums, percussion and strings, Jones plays every instrument, which puts him in the pilot seat as he showers his songs with lots of love. In addition to “Away from You,” we’re playing, in rotation, “Everything’s Fine,” “Hate What You Hate,” “Song in the Sunshine,” “In Love,” “Lucky One,” “Nothing’s Changed,” “Some Other Day,” “Little Light,” and “Out On the Town.” Lovely.

each soulstephen kalinich and jez grahamStephen J. Kalinich | “Start Your Day With Gratitude” (with Jez Graham) and Each Soul Has a Voice (with Jon Tiven) More music for Pure Pop Radio from a veteran poet who has logged many decades of service bringing art to hungry, musically-minded listeners all over the world. We previously added songs from Stephen’s album made with Dave Humphries, No One Like U, under the name the Hollywood Project. First up this time around, a smiling collaboration with Jez Graham, “Start Your Day With Gratitude,” from the album You Can Soar. A sunny song about positivity, it’s an infectious number. We’re playing that song in rotation, and serving up seven songs from the fantastic album Stephen recorded with veteran music man Jon Tiven, Each Soul Has a Voice: the title cut, the inspirational “Choose Life”; “Usually” (shades of Adam Ant!); “Harmony”; the medium-tempo, bluesy “Blue Teal Wall”; the bouncy “Addicted to Pain”; and “To Each and Every Soul.” More to come from Stephen and his magical creations.

the big believeThe Big Believe | Illuminate and Various Tracks From the southeast of the United Kingdom comes Amanda Thompson’s recording project, which boasts some really great pop songs that we’re thrilled to be able to play in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. We’ve added to our playlist two songs from the forthcoming album, Illuminate: the pretty title cut, and the pop/new wave hybrid, “Creatures.” We’re also playing three additional songs you’re sure to love: “Let’s Pretend We’re Spies,” another mighty catchy new wave/pop confection; and the equally new-wavey “Eternal Youth.” We look forward to more from Amanda Thompson and the Big Believe.

tiny rhymesTiny Rhymes | A Kinder History Buffalo, New York’s Tiny Rhymes, led by guitarist Sharon Mok, packs a lovely chamber pop punch on this wonderful EP, released just a few weeks ago. Guitars, cello, violin, percussion and trombone meet up with beautifully rendered vocals to deliver warm, pastel-tinted, heartfelt songs. Tiny Rhymes is a collective to watch. We are now playing, in rotation, “Arrows,” “Oh, Amaranta!,” and “Gold Mountain.” Gorgeous.

summer fictionSummer Fiction | Himalaya Summer Fiction’s second album, following on four years from the group’s self-titled debut in 2011, is teeming with pure pop treasures. Lovely melodies, lovely vocals, and lovely everything else abound. We’ve added six songs, all made for group hugs and big smiles: the made-for-radio, Todd Rundgren-esque bouncy confection,” Dirty Blonde”; the straight-ahead, poppy “On and On”; the gentle, pretty “Lauren Lorraine”; the acoustic, folky “By My Side”; the also-radio-friendly and jangly “Perfume Paper”; and the gliding, melodic charmer, “Religion of Mine.” A classic platter.

b and not bB and Not B | Popular Pastimes Longtime Pure Pop Radio favorite B and Not B returns with their latest release, from which we’ve taken two upbeat tunes that are now playing in rotation: the rock ‘n’ popper “All the Lonely Kids,” which features horns, guitars and great harmony vocals; and the pulsating, upbeat toe-tapper (kinda sorta in the pop mode of Chicago, no fooling), “Winter.” PPR loves B and Not B.

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That’s it for today. You know we’ve got more new music to be added to our playlist; check back next week for another list of wonderful songs that will be filling your summer soundtrack with delight and beauty!

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