New on Pure Pop Radio 05.11.17: Cait Brennan, Bryan Estepa, The Wellingtons, Kenny Herbert, Pat Walsh, and More

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Spins and Reviews | 05.11.17
By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

cait brennab thirdCait Brennan | Third (2017)
Quite simply, and before I say anything specific about Cait Brennan’s miraculous, astounding, audacious new album, the pairing of this one-of-a-kind artist and multi-instrumentalist and ace producer Fernando Perdomo is surely one of those fortified-in-heaven happenings that make life on earth a wonderful thing. Captain Obvious here, in other words.

Soaking up the atmosphere at Memphis, Tennessee’s legendary Ardent Studios, where, it may be hard to believe, Big Star only scratched the surface of artists who waxed classic recordings, Brennan and Perdomo made the magic that lines the virtual walls of Brennan’s new album, Third.

It’s one thing to have great songs when going into a studio–any studio–but it’s another to have the chutzpah and the moxie to make them so great that they emerge on disc fully-formed as state-of-the-art classics, which is exactly how the baker’s dozen songs on Third turned out.

What the hell was in the water when Brennan and Perdomo cooked up the ingredients that, stirred in just the right way, made the amazing “Catiebots Don’t Cry” a reality? Because more of that kind of crafting, okay? This gut-wrenching you-love-her-I-love-her-what-are-we-gonna-do-about-it slow-to-mid-tempo burner is a skewed kind of aromatic love song that would have been great had it just been delivered with Brennan singing solo over a gutsy piano track, but with the considered pop and roll stew played out with Perdomo, whose delicious ’70s-styled wah-wah guitar lines are something to behold, and Brennan, whose multi-tracked, three-dimensional vocal harmony stacks are a thing of beauty, it’s something else entirely that dares you and your band to even try to better it. And, I would bet the house on this, you won’t ever.

The equally amazing and spitfire rave-up that is “Shake Away” carries on the rich vocal harmony tradition set by “Catiebots Don’t Cry” in the form of a Motown/Stax-fortified rave-up, and believe me, this thing about getting love right shakes, baby, in a kind of boom-boom way. There’s a whole lot of shaking going on in this pounding number charged with maximum voltage; this thing is practically, deliberately breathless. Speaking of breathless, “A Hard Man to Love” is defiantly so; the grounding, pounding piano pushes the proceedings along until every element gets toppled by the late-song, packed-tight verse that Brennan sings so precise and quick. It outdoes that old Federal Express fast-talking spokesperson, leaving him flat in the dust.

Not every song on Third bristles with quick temperament: “Perish the Thought” is a thoughtful ballad that closes with a clarion a cappella call to arms that will send shivers up and down your spine. And “Bad at Apologies,” a mid-tempo ballad about attraction at all costs (“Another minute without him/I would probably die”), pours buckets of emotion on the flames of obsessive love.

A roller coaster ride through all of life’s travails, Third is an emotional wake up call for all humans negotiating the pathways of their existence. That it pops and rolls like the best works of melodic art is a given. Cait Brennan’s third go-round is astonishing, bold, and seemingly effortless. Captain Obvious, signing out.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “Bad at Apologies,” “He Knows Too Much,” “At the End of the World,” “A Hard Man to Love,” “Catiebots Don’t Cry,” “Shake Away,” “The Angels Lie,” and “Perish the Thought”
black box Where to Get It: Amazon, Omnivore Store

bryan estepa rattled and rolledBryan Estepa | “Rattled and Rolled” (2017)
Just 11 days shy of a year ago, we added tracks from Sydney, Australia singer-songwriter Bryan Estepa’s wonderful album, Every Little Thing. He returns to Pure Pop Radio with this fine, melodic track, on which he is joined by ace musician Michael Carpenter; Bryan slings the guitars, Michael slings everything else (he also produced, recorded, mixed & mastered). What stands out most of all are Bryan’s astoundingly assured vocal, always on target; Michael’s humming Hammond organ; and the fact that the proceedings were recorded in just eight hours. Echoing the sensibilities of The New Pornographers, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan, this killer track whets our appetites for more. So, off with you then, Bryan Estepa.

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

The Wellingtons End of the Summer front coverThe Wellingtons | End of the Summer (2017)
Today’s second entry from Australia (Melbourne, this time) finds this lively quintet returning to the pop boards with their first album in six years. While the songs are, by and large, a bit too loud for our humble airwaves, four are absolutely perfect. “1963” is a cheery, upbeat, happy-sounding jangly charmer with an intoxicating melody. “She Rides the Bus” is a mid-tempo ballad swirling in Beatlesque ambiance. “So Easy” rides the ABBA waves for a ba-ba-esque celebration of catchy. And the hooky title song would sound good, well, on the radio. So, let’s spin it, shall we?

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio: “End of the Summer,” “1963,” “So Easy,” and “She Rides the Bus”
black box Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Bomp Store

kenny herbert i'm comin homeKenny Herbert | “I’m Coming Home” (2017)
One of our favorite singer-songwriters working today, Kenny Herbert continues to write and record wonderful songs that come from the heart. His latest, written and recorded with David Paton (Pilot) and Nobby Clark is a typically pretty tune. Lovely harmonies, a sumptuous melody, and a catchy chorus are in tow. Gorgeous.

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

pat walsh bygone daysPat Walsh | “Bygone Days” (2017)
Another Pure Pop Radio favorite, Pat Walsh always delights with his wonderfully melodic songs. “Bygone Days” features another carefully modulated vocal, another terrific melody. Another, another and on and on. Beautiful.

black box Now playing on Pure Pop Radio
black box Where to Get It: Not currently available. Listen on YouTube

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

the outryders - let's live for today The Outryders | “Piangi Con Me (& Live for Today)” (With Joe Algeri and Herb Eimerman) (2017) Bandcamp

lisa mycholsLisa Mychols | “He’s Got Me Dreaming'” and “Don’t Wanna Close My Eyes” (2017) (“He’s Got Me Dreaming” CD Baby; “Don’t Wanna Close My Eyes” CD Baby)

irene pena Irene Peña | “Shut It Down” (2017) (From Trying Not to Smile) Patreon

radio days i'm in love with you haruka Radio Days | “I’m In Love With You, Haruka” and “Teenage Kicks” (Undertones cover) Bandcamp

the dahlmanns forever my babyThe Dahlmanns | “Forever My Baby” and “The Last Time”
Pop Detective Records

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Buckle Up: We Begin the Long Rundown of New Music and Artists Recently Added to the Pure Pop Radio Playlist

purepoplogoA message from Alan Haber:

For the past few months, I have been adding hundreds of new songs and artists to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. For a lot of reasons, most notably ongoing health concerns, I have been unable to report on these adds.

Since time is marching on at a rather rapid pace, and 2015 will be over before you know it, I have decided to simply list the adds with minimal commentary because, otherwise, this task, as important as it is, would never get done. I thank you for your understanding.

So, join with me today by perusing this first in a series of lists of new music and artists recently added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. All of these artists and songs are wonderful specimens that have contributed to this year being one of the best, if not the best, years for melodic pop music in a very long time. It has been my privilege and honor to preview this music and ultimately make it part of the Pure Pop Radio listening experience.

Without further ado, let’s get to it. Installment number one:

Pete Kennedy | Heart of Gotham The third Kennedys-related release this year puts Pete Kennedy in the spotlight for a glorious song cycle about New York City. We’ve added all but the album-ending reprise of the song “Union Square”: “The Bells Rang,” “Williamsburg Bridge,” “Never Stopped Believin’,” “Unbreakable,” “Rise Above,” “People Like Me,” Harken,” “Asphodel,” Riot in Bushwick,” “New York,” “Gotham Serenade,” and “Union Square.”

The Del Zorros | Wilmington Now playing in rotation are all but two of the stellar songs on the Del Zorros’ wonderful new album, a love letter to Wilmington, North Carolina, the duo’s adopted home town. Stede and Monte sing and play their hearts out on “The Bells of Wilmington,” “Biscuits for Breakfast,” “The Henrietta,” “The Carriage Man,” “Bella’s,” “Halfway to Heaven,” “Orange Street,” “Surfin’ Wrightsville Beach,” “The King of Wilmington,” and “The House on Dawson’s Creek.” A real winner of an album that’s one of the best of the year.

Tommy Sistak | “A Better Time” Since his great Short Songs album appeared, Tommy has released a few additional tracks that prove he is one of the great practitioners of the retro sound. “A Better Time” is a danceable rave-up, as good as anything he has released.

The Dahlmanns | “Girl Band” Speaking of rave-ups, this happy celebration of the girl band-as-“kick-ass rock and roll band” makes us smile and yearn for a nearby dance floor. Plus, it’s a great pop song, and of course we’re playing it in rotation. More Dahlmanns tracks added are noted in an upcoming list.

Adam Walsh | “High Time (at Frisco Bay)” Here is yet another classic track, written and performed by an artist we are quite enamored with. A sort-of seventies-styled, mid-tempo ballad, this one is, as you would expect, a real keeper.

Strangely Alright | “I See the Sun” A recent song from this hard-charging pop group fronted by the great Regan Lane, “I See the Sun” boasts a powerful, hooky chorus and a whole lot of heart.

Silver Ships | “Roads that Lead Us Home” This group, led by Chazz Bessette, has released a single track from their upcoming album. It’s very pop, so singalongable and it will make you smile, so job well done.

Arvidson | Arvidson From Sweden comes this majestic 2001 pop album that we’re thrilled to be playing from stem to stern. Featuring the ultra-catchy power pop number “I Hear a Sound” and 11 other great numbers, this is one of the great finds for us this year. We’re playing “Wake Up,” “I’ll Bear It In Mind,” “Get Well,” “Will Never Know,” “Get In(to) the Car,” “I’d Hate to See You Go,” “Our Days,” “You Caught My Eye,” “Still on the Wrong Side,” “Slide,” “I Hear a Sound,” and “Daffodil.”

Kurt Baker Combo | “Give It Up” It’s no surprise that this is another electric, quite alive number from one of power pop’s top recording artists. One side of a new single (the other side will be noted in a future report), it’s a guaranteed favorite for fans that ends in spectacular fashion with a warmhearted Beatles chord.

Jeri Sykes, Scott McPherson and KC Bowman | “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” Recorded for the Tower of Song Challenge, this slightly-slowed-down cover of the Electric Light Orchestra’s famed song is reworked in the manner of an early rock ‘n’ roll number, kinda sorta, and features Jeri Sykes on most of the instruments (Pop 4’s KC Bowman plays bass and drums, and Pop 4’s Scott McPherson sings). Pretty awesome.

Kontiki Suite | The Greatest Show on Earth The follow-up to this much-loved British band’s 2013 inaugural release, On Sunset Lake, finds Kontiki Suite in fine form, delivering another set of lovely Americana/country songs with a decidedly smooth pop edge. We’re playing nearly all of this album, in rotation: “Bring Our Empire Down,” “My Own Little World,” “Free from Sound,” “Here for You Now,” “Pages of My Mind,” “Keep Up With My Old Self,” “All I Can Say,” and “Years Roll On.”

There is much more to come. We’ll try to report on all of the recent adds to the playlist before Christmas. As we said, there’s a lot of adds to report, which really is a very good thing. Thanks for hanging in there with us.

purepoplogoAlan 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.

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