New on Pure Pop Radio 7.25.18: The Quite Grand Debut of the Grand Leve

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alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

Spins and Reviews | 7.25.18

The Grand Levé | The Grand Levé (2018)
the grand leve coverThe music reviewer’s job, the same as it ever was, is to paint a picture with words that convince you that an album either isn’t worth a scintilla of your time (which, of course, we don’t do here) or should rise to the top of your must-buy list. So, we talk about an artist’s influences and how he or she fits into the scheme of things that matter to you and yours. Are the songs good? Are they catchy? Do they matter?

Then, it’s up to you, and if we’ve done our job, your next move is easy.

Göran Hjertstedt, who made the quite grand The Grand Levé with Europe’s (the Swedish rock band, not the continent) Ian Haugland, Ulf Holmberg, Göran Holmberg, Staffan Ebbesten, and Jonas Karlberg, knows that making the next move–the creative move, in this case–is never easy. His more than four decades making music, primarily with hit duo Visitors in the late 1980s, Brains Beat Beauty in 1997, and Longplayer beginning in 2010, can be looked at as an extended ramping-up period during which he soaked up the key attributes that attracted him to his favorite artists and led to his new songs (even if two of them date back to the time of Visitors).

Basically, Göran Hjertstedt has the same record collection as you do, which means that you and his new songs will get along just fine.

Although The Grand Levé fairly obviously shares cell structure with the music of Jeff Lynne, 10cc, Queen, Tom Petty and other members of the usual suspects club, and traffics in motifs pioneered during such periods as the 1960s and 1700s (note the classically-inclined first track, “And Light Appeared,” which straddles influences by either consciously or subconsciously quoting Elton John), the artist Hjertstedt is his own man, and The Grand Levé is his album.

This enticing mix of catchy, well-crafted songs knows how to command your attention. “All in the City,” very Electric Light Orchestra in every imaginable and loving way; “Free,” very melody-rich Tom Petty; and “Yesterday Man,” very pure pop and Göran Hjertstedt by way of Longplayer, lead the more than sufficiently well-appointed pack. The mutli-retro “Two to Tango,” a bluesy drawing room number about love and dancing that namechecks Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and “What Am I Gonna Do (Lunar City Heartache),” a luscious, romantic mid-tempo ballad with sci-fi overtones, are two more superlative melodic wonders. The alluring, closing instrumental, “Memory Lane,” is perhaps the perfect ruminative end to these proceedings, marked by lovely, expressive electric guitar lines that sing.

When all is said and done, The Grand Levé makes its mark because its sound pictures, drawn with love and affection, tell an affecting, collective tale. The Grand Levé is nothing less than a triumph for fans of melodic pop music. Same as it ever was, in fact.

black box Now Playing in Rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Ride the Wind,” “All in the City,” “Two to Tango,” “Free,” “What Am I Gonna Do (Lunar City Heartache),” and “Yesterday Man”
black box Where to Get It: Digital download at Amazon. Stream on YouTube and Spotify

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day. Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!

Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation (Wednesday, 9 pm ET) and Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show (Thursday, 8 pm ET), air exclusively on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation Podcasts: Goran Hjertstedt (Airdate: May 30, 2018)

alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

The Grand Leve’s Göran Hjertstedt was my very special guest on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation on May 30. This show was, in fact, the second of two, back-to-back episodes broadcast that evening.

TGL-RecoveredGöran, formerly of Pure Pop Radio favorite band Longplayer and now the creative force behind the Grand Leve, has produced yet another marvelous mix of melodic pop and roll, performed by Göran, Ulf Holmberg (ex-Longplayer), and Ian Haugland, the drummer for Swedish rockers Europe.

Grand melodies abound in this new collection, a must for fans of melodic pop music. Göran and I talked about the Grand Leve, and surveyed his musical journey from his time in the hit pop band Visitors to his work with Ian in Brains Beat Beauty and his time with Ulf in Longplayer and, subsequently, the Longplayer Orchestra.

During this hour-plus program, we played songs from Visitors, Brains Beat Beauty, Longplayer, and, of course, the Grand Leve. Göran related the stories behind these terrific numbers (click on the links to listen to samples):

You can, and should, purchase the Grand Leve’s debut album at Amazon.

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pprListen to my interview with the Grand Leve’s Göran Hjertstedt from the May 30 edition of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation by clicking the play button on the following player, or click on the Pure Pop Radio button to the left to download (then right click and choose “Save audio as” to save the file to your computer). (This interview is presented in scoped format; the songs have been removed due to copyright concerns.)

 

 
Listen to a wide selection of previously-aired Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation interviews by clicking here.

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day. Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!

Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation (Wednesday, 9 pm ET) and Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show (Thursday, 8 pm ET), air exclusively on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

This Week’s Pure Pop Radio Specialty Shows: An In Conversation Double-Shot, and Peter Noone Pushes the Red Button on the Pop Tunes Deejay Show

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alan headshot from schoolBy Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

This week’s Pure Pop Radio specialty shows, broadcast exclusively on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio, offer up a powerful Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation twofer and an all-new Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show with a new release featuring guest vocalist Peter Noone from Herman’s Hermits.

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This week’s special Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation twofer delivers a total of two-plus hours worth of joyous chat and music from two longtime melodic pop denizens. First, tomorrow (Wednesday) night at a special time–8 pm ET–Danny Benair, from ’70s power pop band the Quick, joins me for a fun talk about Mondo Deco, the 1976 classic long-player melding pop, rock and classical influences.

coverThe Quick, which featured Danny Wilde, later of the Rembrandts, as lead vocalist, were shepherded by the legendary Kim Fowley and producer and engineer Earle Mankey, who was a member of Halfnelson, which later became Sparks. The Quick’s one and only album, featuring clever arrangements and harmonies galore, pops and rocks with abandon. Danny and I talk about the origins of the Quick, recording Mondo Deco, and other topics, including how he came to get Rolling Stone Charlie Watts’ drum sticks (hint: Charlie gave them to Danny). Plus, you’ll hear three songs from Mondo Deco, including their mondo-creative cover of the Beatles’ “It Won’t Be Long.”

Following tomorrow night at 9 pm ET, the second half of our In Conversation twofer stars Göran Hjertstedt, formerly of Pure Pop Radio favorite band Longplayer and now the creative force behind the Grand Leve.

TGL-RecoveredThe Grand Leve’s self-titled album is a wonderful mix of pop-rock songs performed by Göran, Ulf Holmberg (ex-Longplayer), and Ian Haugland, the drummer for Swedish rockers Europe. Grand melodies abound in this new collection, a must for fans of melodic pop music. Göran and I talk about the Grand Leve, and survey his musical journey from his time in the hit pop band Visitors to his work with Ian in Brains Beat Beauty and his time with Ulf in Longplayer and, subsequently, the Longplayer Orchestra.

During this hour-plus program, you’ll hear songs from Visitors, Brains Beat Beauty, Longplayer, and, of course, the Grand Leve. Göran will relate the stories behind these numbers, all of which will become your favorites.

pop tunes disc smallThis Thursday night at 8 pm ET on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio, I’m back with another all-new edition of the Pop Tunes Deejay Show, this time around featuring the Red Button’s latest release, “Ooh Girl,” featuring Herman’s Hermits’ Peter Noone on lead vocal. You won’t want to miss this one.

Also on the docket on this edition of the Pop Tunes Deejay Show: Astral Drive, Lisa Michaels, David Myhr, Ken Sharp, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Matt Tyson, the Oohs, Richard Harris, and a set of California-themed tunes from the Beach Boys. It’s another hour-long spin you won’t want to miss.

Join me for a Wednesday night In Conversation twofer with the Quick’s Danny Benair at 8 pm ET and the Grand Leve’s Göran Hjerstedt at 9 pm ET, and come back on Thursday night at 8 pm ET for an all-new Pop Tunes Deejay Show. Both shows are proudly and exclusively broadcast on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio. Mark your calendars!

Pure Pop Radio’s signature shows, Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation (Wednesday, 9 pm ET) and Alan Haber’s Pop Tunes Deejay Show (Thursday, 8 pm ET), air exclusively on Pop that Goes Crunch Radio.

ppr radio purple background - insetPure Pop Radio plays the greatest melodic pop music from across the decades, 24 hours a day. Listen by clicking on the Live365 Listen Now button at left. Hear us once and you’ll be a listener for life. Join us, won’t you? You’ll be glad you did!