Our Gift-Giving Guide Continues With More Great Releases for You and Your Pop-Loving Family and Friends

By Alan Haber – Pure Pop Radio

The new and new-to-you melodic pop releases keep coming, and so shall we. In the coming weeks, we will continue to bring you suggestions for gifts for yourself, and for your melodic pop-loving friends and family.

Today’s collection of suggestions kicks off with the latest from…

Pat Buchanan | “Sandbox” b/w “Hello from the Moon”
(Spyderpop, 2018)
My love of Nashville session cat and recording artist Pat Buchanan goes back nearly 20 years to Idle Jets’ Atomic Fireball album, which was played frequently on the old, weekly Pure Pop Radio show. Now, Pat’s back with a new single, and it is, you will not be surprised to know, fantastic. (Find out everything, and then some, about the single’s two songs by listening to the audio interview below.)

“Sandbox,” written with Pure Pop Radio favorite Bill DeMain, is a lovely slice of melodic pop in which a songwriter looks back at his great songs but cautions that, although everything looks rosy on the outside, inside it’s another story…possibly a sad one. “Hello from the Moon,” written by Terry Simpson, who sings all of the background vocals, is a beautiful mid-tempo ballad about losing a love and trying to navigate the waters.

I spoke to Pat about “Sandbox” and “Hello from the Moon”, about how the songs were written and how they progressed toward the final versions; you can hear that interview below (Fun Fact: “Sandbox” is 20 years old and was originally titled “Continental Breakfast,” and “Hello from the Moon” is even older. This song features a decidedly Andy Partridge/XTC-inspired bridge).

black box Where to Get It: Spyderpop

pprListen to my interview with Pat Buchanan, talking about his new single (“Sandbox” b/w “Hello from the Moon”) 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).

The PondHawks | “River Grove” (2018)
Chicago’s PondHawks return with a wistful, nostalgic piece of melodic pop about staying connected with the past while moving on into the future. This beautiful, orchestrated ballad bodes well for future releases from Mario Novelli and Jorie Gracen. Very pretty.

black box Where to Get It: Amazon, iTunes

Thunderegg | Cosmos (2018)
Will Georgantas and crew, a four-piece working out of San Francisco and simultaneously, it appears, in some quadrant of outer space, marry fairly traditional pop and rock songwriting to spacey effects and ambient sound for an 11-song meeting of the melodic minds.

In other words, each song is wrapped in some kind of otherworldly spice to deliver that something extra that expands the soundfield and tickles the senses. There’s a fair amount of catchy R.E.M.-isms floating around these songs, particularly in “Lucky So-and-So,” an upbeat, poppy song that becomes louder as it reaches its end, and “Stupid Town,” another uptempo number.

You’ll also find a nod to Pink Floyd in the final moments of the title song; machinery sound effects echo those heard in Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.” Also evident: elements of prog, and lots of pleasing melodies. And the odd song out: the faux-country “Math Song,” topped with a light dollop of pedal steel guitar, about a guy who takes a math class just to meet the girl. The upshot: “One plus one is me and you.”

Something different for these ears? Nah, not really. The pop meeting the rock hugging the spacey and ambient sounds really drew me in. Good job, Thunderegg.

black box Where to Get It: Bandcamp, Amazon, iTunes

Tommy and the Rockets & Bikini Wipeouts | Split the Waves (KOTJ, Spain/Roctopus Tea Party, Spain, 2018)
Denmark’s Tommy and the Rockets may be splitting the waves, but they’re also splitting the single…this single, or EP, as it were, with Bikini Wipeouts. Both bands bring two tracks to the communal surfboard and take on the early Beach Boys sound, although they arrive in Surf City with somewhat different approaches.

Tommy and the Rockets hit the waves with the fun, fun, fun “We’re Going Surfin'”, rolling up with great harmonies and a contemporary edge. Their other track is a cover of the Fantastic Baggys’ “Summer Means Fun,” driven uptempo-style to the water’s edge with sweet rock ‘n’ roll guitar.

Bikini Wipeouts’ two tracks, “Pretty Surfer Girl” and “Hawaii,” the latter a cover of the Beach Boys song from 1963’s Surfer Girl album, share a grungy, garage-y approach that suggests their grasp of the Boys of Summer’s sound is a bit closer to the outer reaches of the curl than Tommy and his Rockets, but that’s cool, dudes.

So fun, fun, fun, and far out!

black box Where to Get It: KOTJ, Roctopus Tea Party, Tommy and the Rockets on 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 ended this past August. Welcome to your number one home for coverage of the greatest melodic pop music in the universe from the ’60s to today. Happy holidays!

New on Pure Pop Radio 6.29.16

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Spins and Reviews | June 29, 2016 | by Alan Haber

There’s so much new music spinning on Pure Pop Radio’s airwaves. Here are some more choice melodic wonders, now playing in rotation…

bob lind magellanBob Lind | Magellan Was Wrong Fifty years on from his iconic top five smash, “Elusive Butterfly,” and four years after releasing his last long player, Finding You Again, Bob Lind returns with a typically heartfelt collection of new songs that deliver his always magical one-two punch: emotional lyrics and beautiful melodies. Add in stellar arrangements and production, much of it supplied in grand fashion by the Spongetones’ Jamie Hoover, and you’ve got a recipe for success.

The title cut, a wonderful 1970s bopper, is only one highlight; the romantic, catchy From the Road, awash with poppy background harmonies from Hoover and perceptive, picturesque lyrics from Lind (“In moments others call mundane/My soul is warming by your flame/Turning just like a sailor to the harbor/And I will carry back my songs and tales/Of calms and gales/And sing and tell them all/To you”), and Lind’s emotional cover of Tom Paxton’s “Bottle of Wine,” are two more. Joyous.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “I Don’t Know How to Love You,” “Blind Love,” “Bottle of Wine,” “From the Road,” “I Turn to You,” “Magellan Was Wrong,” “The Outsider’s Dream,” and “You are Home.”

deadbeat poetsDeadbeat Poets | “It’s Summertime” and “I’ll Be Standing By” As great a warm weather pairing of must-hear songs as you’ll encounter during this summer season. Pete Drivere’s toe-tapping “It’s Summertime” lays down a lively Lovin’ Spoonful vibe, inviting handclaps all the way, and Frank Secich’s “I’ll Be Standing By” is a delightful slice of pure pop with a particularly catchy bridge and delectable Byrdsian guitar lines. Another great release from Pop Detective Records.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio

hurryHurry | Guided Meditation Philadelphia trio channels Teenage Fanclub for a sterling set of magnetic songs that are quite simply unforgettable and always singalongable. Matthew Scottoline and his cousins Rob and Joe Decarolis roll along with hook after hook in 10 can’t-miss numbers, including the impossible-to-resist slow burner, “When I’m With You.” Hooky and grand.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “When I’m With You,” “Fascination,” “Shake It Off,” and “Wanna Be You.”

swedish polarbearsSwedish Polarbears | The Great Northern More Teenage Fanclub love from this Swedish band, formed in 2006 and just now releasing their harmony-drenched debut album, a winner in every way possible. The gorgeous “Sleeping/Dancing” could and should be their musical calling card, with its adoring harmony vocals and hooky melody. Don’t miss the equally terrific “Sun of a Gun.” An outstanding release.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Winter,” “Sleeping/Dancing,” “Sun of a Gun,” “Computer Crash,” “Rewinder,” “Stay Young,” “Snow on the Roof,” and “Commotion.”

smile factory king of nothing at allSmile Factory | “King of Nothing At All” As ever, anything Keith Klingensmith is involved in warms my heart (witness the soon-to-arrive, second Legal Matters album, coming soon but not quite soon enough). Keith and pals Brandi Ediss, Lee Wiggins, Zeus Henderson, Bill Shaouy and Torbjorn Petersson deliver a sweet, soft-pop classic. 3D background harmonies, a lovely melody and a passionate lead vocal bring Petersson’s song to life.    A Pure Pop Radio Exclusive!
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio

the pondhawks blue light

The PondHawks | Blue Light Third album and the first in four years from this Chicago trio is a melodic treat, melding retro and contemporary influences for a decidedly catchy listening experience. Clever touches delight across the whole program, from the mandolin-powered “Armadilla,” with its playful vocal harmonies, to the pop pleasures of four-on-the-floor pop-rocker “Bitter Game.” Mario Novelli, Jorie Gracen and Michael Gillespie deliver a highly desirable album and win on all cylinders.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Bitter Game,” “Far Away,” “Orange Sunset Time,” “Incredible Dream,” “Rhythm and Purples” (love the a cappella tag), and “Armadilla.”

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.

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