Favorite Records of the Year: Stars of 2017

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By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio alan 5 small

Every year around this time, I sit down to start work on this feature and I marvel at the sheer number of wonderful albums released during the previous 12 months. And then, I’m off and running.

The process of reviewing contenders for this list results in a survey of the absolute top of the pops that came out during the last 12 months. There were a lot of great indie records released in 2017. These are the ones that I came back to the most.

There are 21 entries in this year’s feature–18 albums and three singles, all followed by links you can click on to purchase them. They are presented in no particular order. As in years past, I do not rank them; I have trouble deciding which album should sit at number five versus number six and anyway, if I did rank them, the placements would likely vary depending on the day. So they are presented as a group of highly listenable creations, all of which I recommend without reservation, every day of the week.

And so, without further ado, here is Pure Pop Radio’s Favorite Records of the Year: Stars of 2017. The choices are mine; the pleasure, listening to them, is all yours.

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Bill DeMain | Transatlantic Romantic
Built around the Nashville, Tennessee artist’s piano and lovely vocals, and co-producer Jim Hoke’s tasteful string and horn arrangements, Transatlantic Romantic is a delicious, wonderfully arranged song cycle stacked high with sweet, beautifully written and performed classic-sounding songs in the style of Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Van Dyke Parks, and Harpers Bizarre. Case in point: “Lemon Yellow,” a lovely waltz blessed by Van Dyke Parks-meets-George Martin strings, Randy Newman-esque piano, and the charming story about the love of a car that came “all the way from Germany.” There is charm to spare in this gem of an album, a warm, beating heart full of joy. Purchase

bill lloyd it's happening now coverBill Lloyd | It’s Happening Now
It’s Happening Now bathes listeners in the warm glow of tremendous acoustic-based songs evoking mid-’60s folk-pop aesthetics. Lovely melodies, nimble acoustic guitar playing, and emotive vocals combine for an affective listening experience from a contemporary music master. A couple of heartfelt numbers are among the best songs that Lloyd has written thus far: the gorgeous, beautifully orchestrated and tenderly sung “Happiness,” about really and truly and completely giving in to love (“Happiness/As much of a choice as a chance/You simply decide that you’ll dance/This time…/Then maybe you’ll finally be blessed with/Happiness”), and “Let Me In Your Life Again,” a gentle upbeat plea for rekindling a romance (“Back inside your grace/Warm in your embrace/Only face to face/Do I feel anything so true”). It’s Happening Now is Bill Lloyd’s finest hour, by far. Purchase

the bye bye blackbirds take out the poison coverThe Bye Bye Blackbirds | Take Out the Poison
Bradley Skaught’s Oakland, California-based outfit’s best offering yet presents 11 finely wrought, emotionally charged songs in an album stocked full of classic tracks. Variety is the key: “Let Your Hair Fall Down,” an out-and-out pop workout, complete with horns and sounding as if it were plucked from the J. Geils playbook, sits comfortably alongside such numbers as the mid-tempo, string-laden country ballad, “Duet,” which features a lovely vocal by Lindsay Paige Garfield, who co-wrote the song with Skaught. A career-defining release. Purchase

karla kane king's daughters home for incurables coverKarla Kane | King’s Daughters Home for Incurables
The Corner Laughers’ Karla Kane steps into the spotlight with this enchanting solo set bringing together modern folk and soft pop sensibilities. Kane’s lovely vocals and melodies power these heartfelt songs, such as the gorgeous ballad “Under the Oak in May” and the amazing, percussive piano marvel “All Aboard,” which sports a traveling, train-inspired beat and builds to a seductive close. A true marvel of an album. Purchase

fun of the pier 1442Fun of the Pier | 14:42
Nottingham, England’s Fun of the Pier paints their debut album in bright, happy folk-pop hues for a pleasing listening experience. Songs such as “Past/Future” and “(In My) Time” are drenched in lovely, clever and catchy melodies.  Beautiful ballads “Lost and Lazy” and “I Live this Life (She Said)” hearken to classic artists such as Claire Hamill and Kate Rusby (and there is a correlation worth noting). 14:42 is a wonderful, delightful collection of songs, expertly performed, with Helen Luker’s alluring vocals particularly noteworthy. Purchase

kelley ryan telescopeKelley Ryan | Telescope
astroPuppees veteran Ryan’s long player is a master class effort of melodic proportions, stocked deep with luscious, carefully crafted compositions. Telescope’s enticing mix of balladry and radio-friendly should-be-top-of-the-pops creations includes the catchy, mid-tempo closer “Real Gone Girl,” with its enticing melody and lovely, memorable and magical harmonies; and the gentle, so pretty “Pulling for Romeo,” from which this album gets its title (“You’re at the end of your rope/Don’t need a telescope…”). How does this album fit into the current melodic pop landscape? It fits like a glove. Purchase

dave caruso buddhaDave Caruso | Buddha Pesto Manifesto
Dave Caruso’s new songs, which form the whole of this career-defining new album, play with the duality of the times in our lives when decisions must be made. Easy or hard to fathom, these decisions are the fabric of our lives, set within this album to glide along atop durable melodies that beat to the heart of the matter. The album’s closer is a particular highlight: “I Get to Make You Laugh,” delivered emotionally by way of Caruso’s tender vocal and keyboard, finds the narrator self-realizing that another man has the woman’s commitment at the same time that the narrator has her soul. Coming three years after the bravura performances captured within Caruso’s breakout album Cardboard Vegas Roundabout, Buddha Pesto Manifesto sets a high bar for future musical endeavors. Purchase

cindy lee berryhill the adventuristCindy Lee Berryhill | The Adventurist
A deeply felt, melodic, invigorating and emotional song cycle looking back on and celebrating Berryhill’s time with Paul Williams, the creator of Crawdaddy, the first, authoritative rock publication of record, The Adventurist shows the future unfolding for Berryhill one day at a time with each new step forward informed by steps already taken. The album’s heart-filled center is the heartbreakingly honest, emotionally melodic “Somebody’s Angel” (“The first time I kissed somebody new/I cried when I thought about you/And all the good times we had and the living we’d been through,” Berryhill sings. “Now I’m here for you forever or long as I am able/I gotta be somebody’s angel.”) The Adventurist, a remarkable, many-hued cycle of life, will grab hold of your heart as it summons your deepest emotions to the surface and affects you to your core. (Omnivore) Purchase

cait brennab thirdCait Brennan | Third
A miraculous, astounding, and audacious album pairing Brennan, a one-of-a-kind artist, and multi-instrumentalist and ace producer Fernando Perdomo, Third is surely one of those fortified-in-heaven happenings that make life on earth a wonderful thing. Recorded at Memphis, Tennessee’s legendary Ardent Studios, fortified with Big Star heart, Third is a roller coaster ride through all of life’s travails, an emotional wake up call for all humans negotiating the pathways of their existence. The album’s highlight? “Catiebots Don’t Cry,” a gut-wrenching you-love-her-I-love-her-what-are-we-gonna-do-about-it slow-to-mid-tempo burner, a skewed kind of aromatic love song featuring Brennan’s multi-tracked, thing-of-beauty three-dimensional vocal harmony stacks. This Third is astonishing, bold, and seemingly effortless. (Omnivore) Purchase

the blood rush hour who folds firstThe Blood Rush Hour | Who Folds First
The followup to 2014’s astounding And Then… The Unthinkable Happened is just as miraculous and entirely satisfying, encompassing a variety of song styles, all finely wrought melodic microcosms and performed with perfection. Who Folds First brings the hits and a few happy surprises, like the Manhattan Transfer-like, a cappella opening that introduces the Todd Rundgren-esque “No More Excuses,” and “The Space that We Have Made,” about getting to the heart of the matter, a triumphant Steely Dan-ish number sung by Pure Pop Radio favorite Christian Phillips, who devised the three-dimensional vocal arrangements with Hour leader Robert DeStefano. Joyous and quite special. Purchase

chris price stop talking coverChris Price | Stop Talking
Stop talking? Hardly. The aim is for you to listen to these wonderful songs, recorded by Price between 2013 and 2016, and tell your friends about them, thereby creating a groundswell of support for this exceptional artist. From the catchy Paul McCartney-meets-Stephen Bishop-meets-Rupert Holmes “One of Them” to the tender, Nilsson-esque “You and Me (And Everyone Else),” co-written by Price and The New Pornographers’ Joe Seiders, and the toe-tapping, orchestrated charmer “Once Was True,” which puts a lovely chord progression and melodic structure center stage, Stop Talking is a classy keeper. (Omnivore) Purchase

the weeklings live at darryl's house coverThe Weeklings | Live at Daryl’s House Club Vol. 1
Ten Beatles classics, inhabited and driven with red-hot enthusiasm by this ever-passionate New Jersey foursome, blow like missiles out of your speakers for a fun time that, yeah, yeah, yeah, cannot help but be had by all. Top tracks? Take your pick: “I Saw Her Standing There” (energy to spare and take-that drumming), “Nowhere Man” (tight, three-dimensional harmonies), or “Helter Skelter,” (a pulse-pounding showcase for the band and Lefty’s in-your-face vocal). Or, really, any of the other tracks on offer. Short of being transported to an alternate universe where the actual Beatles are playing at a club in your neighborhood, this is as real as this fab thing gets. (See below for more Weeklings fun.) Purchase

coke belda 3gs cover for websiteCoke Belda | Coke Belda 3 (Gs): A Tribute to the Bee Gees
The long-awaited followup to 2013’s Coke Belda I and 2015’s Nummer Zwei breathes new life into the art of musical homage. This alluring celebration of the charms of the Brothers Gibb, a virtual explosion of Bee Gees joy, hits the mark at every turn. Playing all of the instruments and singing all of the vocals, save for a welcome guest appearance from Gretchen’s Wheel’s Lindsay Murray, Coke delivers smile after smile. “Claustrophobia,” arranged and played as a sweet Merseybeat romp, will book you on a virtual time travel trip back to the 1960s. The album closer, a beautiful take on “Our Love (Don’t Throw It All Away),” a top 10 Billboard chart hit for Andy Gibb in 1978, written by Bee Gee Barry and keyboardist Blue Weaver, is a welcome, perhaps unexpected nugget. Follow with glee. (Bonus Belda joy follows below.) Purchase from Kool Kat (CD), Purchase from Futureman (Digital)

Pins_and_Needles_Cover_Art_Scott_GagnerScott Gagner | Pins and Needles
A way-more-than-worthy followup to 2014’s five-star Rise and Shine, Pins and Needles elevates Scott Gagner’s art to six stars, at least. Boasting 10 literate, affecting pop songs and a lovely, emotional reading of “America the Beautiful,” the album is one of the great pleasures of 2017. Top numbers include the bluesy “Heart Attack” (“It seems I was a victim of love/Not heart disease”), the classic pop sounds of “The Ghost of Me and You,” and the aforementioned “America the Beautiful.” Lovely through and through. Purchase

bob of the pops vol. 2bob of the pops front coverRobyn Gibson | Bob of the Pops Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
Buoyant exercises in the art of homage, Bob of the Pops Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 find The Junipers’ multi-instrumentalist Robyn Gibson having a good old time putting his warm, wide-eyed spin on some of his favorite pop songs from across the decades. All across this lovingly essayed two-volume landscape, Gibson’s softhearted vocals and obvious love for the material cast a warm glow over every melody line and emotional keystone communicated. In Gibson’s hands, these classic constructs breathe new life into familiar musical landscapes. From Vol. 1, The Beatles’ “Nowhere Man” fairly drips with joy; the opening, harmony drenched a cappella couplet is sweetly delivered, and the song reveals itself as a modern-day folk song, every harmonic element glimmering with life and hope. Among the other top spins: The Hollies’ “Listen to Me” and the Who’s “I Can’t Reach You.” Vol. 2’s take on the Monkees’ “Girl that I Knew Somewhere” and Matthew Sweet’s “I’ve Been Waiting” are winners, as is “Bob’s” version of a well-known little group from Liverpool’s “There’s a Place.” Unmissable, and so much fun. Free Downloads

smellicopter twoScott Brookman | Smellicopter Two
Four years and seven months on from the mighty Smellicopter, Richmond, Virginia’s favorite son returns with this top-flight five-song sequel, a sterling collection of pop songs that should not only please fans but also draw in new Brookman connoisseurs. From the opening marriage of ’70s Todd Rundgren and late-’90s June and the Exit Wounds ambiance, “Consideration,” to “Old Bones Found,” a clever, catchy mix of pure pop styles, Smellicopter Two delivers the goods. Purchase

dana countryman the joy of popDana Countryman | The Joy of Pop
The fourth time’s the charm, although it certainly can be said that the previous three times have been equally charming; The Joy of Pop is nothing less than a joy, another in a growing line of wonderful retro-pop albums from a master of melody. With compatriots like Matt Tyson, Dana’s wife Tricia and Klaatu’s Dee Long in tow, you’re bound to have a rousing good time bathing in the glow of such gorgeous songs as “August Dream,” a Broadway-styled creation influenced, no doubt, by the work of Richard Carpenter, Burt Bacharach and Gilbert O’Sullivan; “Tell Me that You Love Me,” an early-1960s mid-tempo ballad dripping with Buddy Holly-isms; and “Can’t Stop Thinking ‘Bout You,” a jangly number graced with Dee Long’s beautiful guitar work. There is even a jolly holiday number, “It’s an Amazon.com Kind of Christmas,” that begs to be played year-round. Joy? There plenty to go around here. Purchase

Richard X. HeymanRichard X. Heyman | Incognito
One-man-band Richard X.’s 12th album, no less than his best work by far, is powered by stellar playing, singing and songwriting that gets better with each passing year. Dazzling songs and equally dazzling performances greet you at every turn. In the pure popper “A Fool’s Errand,” the narrator tells the world that his love for his partner is solid and for the ages. “Her Garden Path” is a muscular track with a grandly attractive riff that chronicles a man’s escape from a woman’s web. And the horn-infused, soulful pop number “So What” finds Richard sounding as though he’s channeling the Rascals’ Felix Cavaliere. All of Richard’s albums are fantastic listens, but if you’re new to Richard’s work and you wonder where you should start, Incognito is a great place to jump in. Purchase

winterpills colorblindWinterpills | “Colorblind”
Upon first hearing this Massachusetts band’s music and, in particular songwriter Philip Price’s top-flight, three-dimensional songs, I could do nothing except flip for joy. This single, not yet represented on an album, is a great example of what Winterpills does best, and that is envelop the listener with lovely melodies and hooks galore. Beyond that, this description from the group’s Bandcamp page sums the process up nicely: “‘Colorblind’ features an infectious wall-of-sound vocal hook, samples recorded into an iPhone in a DC parking lot, out-of-tune pianos colliding over a burned-out city, a fat R&B beat, all poured through the alchemy of producer Justin Pizzoferrato’s overdrive brain.” Add this song, and all of Winterpills’ glorious albums, to your collection today. Purchase

coke belda photoCoke Belda | “Operator (That’s Not the Way it Feels)”
Coke Belda, who is ably represented above in this year’s Favorite Records of the Year feature, released this past November this heartfelt reinvention of Jim Croce’s top 20 hit. “My lovely wife, Verónica, introduced me to Jim Croce many years ago,” says Coke on his Bandcamp page. “I was captivated by his tunes and voice and I always thought this song was a clear power-pop song disguised as an acoustic piece.” Playing all of the instruments and singing all of the vocals, Coke has introduced Croce’s perennial to new listeners, as well as listeners who grew up with the song when it was first released. Stellar work. Purchase

the weeklings paperback writerThe Weeklings | “Paperback Writer”
New Jersey’s Fab Four reconvened in the studio during the last few months of 2017 to record and release a couple of jolly Christmas singles–“Revolution Wonderland,” a mash-up of the Beatles’ “Revolution” and the perennial Christmas classic “Winter Wonderland,” and a lively take on the original Fabs’ “Christmas Time is Here Again,” with dollops of “Flying” and “Baby You’re a Rich Man” skillfully sewn in. Last September, they released this, and here’s that word again, joyous slice of Weekling-ized fun, reviewed by me thusly: “Lefty, Zeek, Rocky and Smokestack huddle together and Weekling-ize the number one 1966 Billboard chart Beatles smash with an in-your-face-and-your-ears-too injection of contemporary immediacy, tight-knit harmonies, a surprising and smile-inducing…break, rhythmic whirligigs, Lefty’s spot-on Paul McCartney-esque bass runs, and a daring dose of Monkees derring-do for a rip-roaring, must-play-it-again-and-again two minutes and 47 seconds-long eargasm.” Still sounds about right. Purchase

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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!

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New on Pure Pop Radio 05.10.17: The Blood Rush Hour, Lannie Flowers, The Del Zorros, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, and More

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Spins and Reviews | 05.10.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

the blood rush hour who folds firstThe Blood Rush Hour | Who Folds First (2017)
This fantastic follow-up to 2014’s miraculous And Then… The Unthinkable Happened is just as wondrous and wide-ranging and crafted with care as has come to be expected from Robert DeStefano’s more-than-reliable outfit.

Encompassing a variety of song styles, all finely wrought melodic microcosms and performed with perfection, Who Folds First brings the hits and a few happy surprises, like the Manhattan Transfer-like, a cappella opening that introduces the Todd Rundgren-esque “No More Excuses.” “He Left the Party (Far Too Soon)” is a merry melange of Steely Dan-y pop and funk, punctuated by Andrew Griffiths’ trombones, trumpets, alto sax, and tenor sax arsenal. And “The Space that We Have Made,” about getting to the heart of the matter, is a triumphant Dan-ish number sung by Pure Pop Radio favorite Christian Phillips, who devised the three-dimensional vocal arrangements with DeStefano.

A contender for best-of lists from all quarters, no doubt.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “No More Excuses,” “He Left the Party (Far Too Soon),” “Danny,” “The Space that We Made,” “6, 4, 5 and Sometimes 1,” “New Country,” “Find Another Russian Dancer,” “I’m the One,” “I Still See You,” and “What Does it Take”
black box Where to Get It: Nicola Records

lindsey buckingham christine mcvie album cover

Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie | “In My World” and “Feel About You” (from the forthcoming album, Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie) (2017)
To nobody’s surprise, the first two songs released in advance of the highly-anticipated, self-titled Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie album sound as if they could have appeared on just about any Fleetwood Mac long player. And in some ways, since both Mick Fleetwood and John McVie appear on this duo roundabout, it seems like it will be a Fleetwood Mac album in all but the name. Bottom line is, this is superior pop music made by two historic, always able practitioners of the art. “In My World” marries a jaunty minor key verse with a typically happy, poppy chorus that puts upper-register echoed vocals up front in the mix. “Feel About You” is a leisurely, McVie-sung charmer, sporting a lovely, harmony-laden chorus that just plain delivers the happy in so many ways. Essential.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “In My World” and “Feel About You,” from the forthcoming album, Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie
black box Where to Get It: Amazon (June 9)

chuck berry chuckChuck Berry | “Big Boys” and “Wonderful Woman” (from the forthcoming album, Chuck) (2017)
Nothing has driven aspiring rock ‘n’ rollers to take up that most expressive of instruments, the air guitar, more than the sound of the late, great Chuck Berry, whose body of work will continue to speak for itself into even the unforeseeable future. These two songs, featuring on the upcoming Chuck, ostensibly the master’s final album, continue the Berry tradition of immediately accessible, fanciful, lyrically astute, and simply wonderful tunes; both “Big Boys” and “Wonderful Woman” hit the sweet Berry spot, and then some. Oh, what a thrill.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Big Boys” and “Wonderful Woman,” from the forthcoming album, Chuck
black box Where to Get It: Amazon (June 9)

lannie flowers kiss a memoryLannie Flowers | “Kiss a Memory” b/w “Everything a Man Could Want” (2017)
Power pop meets sunshine pop meets Texas melodic powerhouse Lannie Flowers for a rip-roaring double-shot, courtesy of Spyderpop Records, that will more than satisfy fans until Lannie’s next full-length release. “Kiss a Memory,” an upbeat bopper with melodic teeth, should ably whip radio playlists into shape. Hanging over into the rock ‘n’ roll side of pop, “Everything a Man Could Want” shakes hands with The Faces and Stones for a beat-driven rave-up par excellence.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Kiss a Memory” and “Everything a Man Could Want”
black box Where to Get It: Petsche Music Group

carl funk the heart of a siren reduxCarl Funk | The Heart of a Siren (redux) (2016)
Last November, we added three songs from Carl Funk’s Amerisoulfulcana album, Black Horizon, to our ever-growing playlist. Now, Carl’s powerful vocal and songwriting prowess is on display within our rotation in the form of seven songs from this previous collection, originally released in 1995 and re-released last year with two additional numbers. Expect the same high level of thinking person’s pop from upbeat, should-be-hit-bound “Heartbroken Man” and “It Falls on Me,” and, for that matter, the wide swath of top-flight tunes populating this corner of the Funk universe.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Heartbroken Man,” “Swirl,” “Dreamtime,” “It Falls on Me,” “Fall Together,” “The Party,” and “Take Your Time”
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

the del zorros happy anniversary babyThe Del Zorros | “Happy Anniversary Baby” (2017)
Monte and Stede Del Zorro pretty much have the romantic musical missive market sewn up; their latest, most welcome number is a ’70s-styled, softly-sung, sweetly-realized notion with a simple, from-the-heart message from one partner to another. Warm and inviting, and humalongable.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp

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

mod hippie big wow Mod Hippie | Big Wow (2017) | “Up and Away,” Gone All Day,” and “It Ain’t Like that No More” Karma Frog Records Store
phenomenal cat pop wasteland
Phenomenal Cat | Pop Wasteland (2017) | “Pop Wasteland,” “Motorways,” “The Dancehall,” and “Pacifico (Cowboy Version)”
Bandcamp

colman gota fear the summerColman Gota | Fear the Summer (2017) | “What Goes in My Head,” “For a Reason,” “Call It Quits,” and “Fear the Summer” Kool Kat Musik
kirk adams after hours

Kirk Adams | After Hours (2017) | “Head 4 Sunshine,” “Wrong Side of the Wrecking Ball,” and “Make a Move” Bandcamp

flora reed settle downFlora Reed | Settle Down (2002) | “Beloved,” “Flowers at My Feet,” “Happiness Is,” “Mutter,” “Sweetly Said,” and “Who Brought You Down”
Amazon

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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