Posts

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The Legal Matters and the Nines’ Steve Eggers Make Beautiful Music this Week on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation

mic-small 10Two of the hottest releases of the year are discussed by two of the most beloved melodic pop groups working today on this week’s sparkling pair of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation episodes.

the-legal-matters-conradthe legal matters photoTomorrow night, Tuesday, November 15 at 8 pm ET, the Legal Matters converge on our In Conversation microphones to talk to Alan Haber about their brand-new, hall-of-fame album, Conrad. Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith provide the in-depth background on an album that sets a new standard for vocal harmonies. You’ll hear three songs and the stories behind them, including the remarkable “Lull and Bye.”

the-nines-alejandros-visionssteve-eggersThe Nines’ Steve Eggers joins Alan this Wednesday, November 16 at 9 pm ET to go in-depth on his new album Alejandro’s Visions, a lovely tribute to the song styles that fuel the Great American Songbook, doo-wop, Beach Boys-styled harmonies, Jeff Lynne, the Four Freshman and other touchstones. Three songs will be spun, and you’ll find out which records might surprise you if you were able to look through Steve’s record collection!

Don’t miss the Legal Matters and the Nines’ Steve Eggers this week on a pair of all-new episodes of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.

Alan 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 Legal Matters and the Nines to the Weeklings, Dana Countryman, Pop 4, Tiny Volcano, and Kurt Baker, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Become a fifth Weekling 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

A Specialty Show Bonanza? An Exclusive First Airing of Every Little Thing, Starring the Weeklings? You Bet, Hoss!

mic-small 10This week’s lineup of Pure Pop Radio specialty shows is nothing less than a bonanza, a rich run of programs designed to entertain and delight.

the-weeklings-studio-2-smallAnd now, to get our week’s worth of programming off and running, we’re pleased as punch to announce that Pure Pop Radio is the first affiliate to air tonight’s all-new edition of Ken Michaels’ Beatles get-together, Every Little Thing, starring the Weeklings. Ken talks to the Weeklings themselves and plays two sparkling tracks from the group’s new album, Studio 2, which comes out this Friday via Jem Records. Also on tap tonight, beginning at 8 pm ET: the usual top-flight group of songs from the Beatles, from their group and solo years.

waveAlso tonight, November 14 at 9 pm ET, Jammin’ James Riley presents the second part of his exclusive interview with Dean Torrence (he of Jan and), and tracks by Duane Eddy, Dennis Wilson, Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars, Laughing Gravy, and the Ramones. Jammin’ James keeps the spirit of summer sounds alive, every Monday night.

the-nines-alejandros-visionsthe-legal-matters-conradYou can read all about this week’s double shot of all-new episodes of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, featuring the Legal Matters and the Nines’ Steve Eggers, by clicking here. Reserve tomorrow night at 8 pm ET for Alan Haber’s chat with Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith, and Wednesday, November 16 at 9 pm ET for an in-depth conversation with Mr. Eggers.

scott-mcphersons-the-weird-and-the-wonderfulMake a nice sandwich and pour a hot cup of soup in time to check in with Pop 4’s Scott McPherson on Wednesday, November 16 at 1 pm ET. On this week’s edition of The Weird and the Wonderful, Scott will be spinning a selection of songs that wear their influences on their sleeves. Tracks from Elvis Costello, the Spongetones, Teenage Fanclub, XTC, the Sugarplastic, the Fraternal Order of the All (aka Andrew Gold and friends), and the Cowsills are just the collective tip of the musical iceberg on Scott’s seventh show, with tons more shows to come.

the-beatles-things-we-said-todayWinding up this week’s specialty show lineup is our esteemed panel of Beatles experts on an all-new edition of Things We Said Today, the premiere Fabs roundtable. This week, Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman and Allan Kozinn talk about the Beatles and politics, and discuss Paul McCartney’s latest soundtrack song: Does our panel feel that “In the Blink of an Eye,” featured in the new animated film, Ethel and Ernest, makes the grade? Tune in and find out.

al-sussman-fans-on-the-run-buttonWhat a week! We’ve got one more all-new In Conversation show to bring you before the Thanksgiving holiday: one of our “Just for Fun” sessions, this time around with Beatlefan magazine executive editor Al Sussman. Details are forthcoming. You won’t want to miss this show!

See you on the radio for this week’s lineup of Pure Pop Radio specialty shows!

Alan 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 Weeklings to Dana Countryman, Pop 4, Tiny Volcano, and Kurt Baker, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Become a fifth Weekling 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

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The Legal Matters’ Conrad Says “Hi!” Release Day is Here!

the-legal-matters-conradIt’s release day for The Legal Matters’ new album, Conrad, who, by the way, says “Hi!” There certainly has been no lack of attention paid to this tremendous long player; this is for good reason. Conrad is quite simply a winning achievement.

My in-depth review, originally published here on October 4, is reproduced below for those of you who missed it the first time around. In the review, I state that “The Legal Matters have set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music.” If ever there were a case to be made for musicians being drawn together because it had to be, this album is it. This is the audio proof. Don’t miss this one. – Alan Haber

The Legal Matters | Conrad (Omnivore, 2016)
A review by Alan Haber alan 5 small

On the inside left panel of the gatefold sleeve of The Association’s 1970 double album “Live”, a list of the band members, titled The Players, fed into a section titled And Their Instruments, which named usual suspects such as guitars, drums and bass guitar along with suspects that were perhaps not so usual for a rock ‘n’ roll album: soprano recorder, tenor recorder, and pocket trumpet.

And, in the manner that cast credits for a film or television show might spotlight a particular actor–and Kiefer Sutherland, for example–the following was noted, perhaps as an afterthought to some: “and the human voice.” As a 15-year-old, music obsessed boy whose world turned around rich vocal harmonies, this was the most important piece of information on offer for an album that was, for me, a monumental achievement.

My young world, as informed as it was by my favorite comic book artists–Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson–my stamp collection, my dedication to the television shows that defined my generation–The Twilight Zone, The Flintstones, I Dream of Jeannie–and my transistor radio, which connected me to broadcasts both local and far away, was moreover defined by the sound of the human voice singing the songs that were written by my favorite recording artists.

The Beach Boys were certainly important to me for that very reason, as were The Four Seasons and The Association, whose records I cherished (no pun intended) and played probably more than those of any other artists in my collection (don’t tell John, Paul, George or Ringo). A committed vocal, with just the right amount of heart and soul, could stop me in my tracks, but a two- or three- or four-or-more-part rich harmony was something else again; it was something magical, something quite amazing.

Thankfully, the melodic pop music I have devoted my life to championing these past 21 years, in reviews and on the radio, very often continues to put the spotlight on the vocal harmonies that I so cherish. Bands like Kate Stephenson’s Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club carry on that vocal harmony tradition in a way that mirrors the many hours I spent as a child listening to music playing on my stereo and coming out of my transistor radio.

the legal matters photoAnother band that carries on the vocal harmony tradition and, indeed, practically redefines it, is The Legal Matters out of Detroit, Michigan, a long-standing, storied music town whose favorite musical sons are many and varied and legendary. It wouldn’t be out of line to include Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith in that group, such has been the level of acceptance of their wares on the part of fans of melodic pop music.

Their list of credits, spanning more years than probably any of them would care to acknowledge, is long and celebrated and includes a variety of solo and group releases. Just mention The Reed Brothers, An American Underdog, Chris Richards and the Subtractions, The Pantookas, and The Phenomenal Cats to those in the know and see what kind of a reaction you get.

As often happens in storied partnerships, the coming together of Andy, Chris, and Keith ignited a fertile spark that resulted in them recording together. 2014’s self-titled Legal Matters album was a warm, 10-song affair that was crafted in the dead of winter inside Andy’s Reed Recording Company studio in Bay City, Michigan, with drummer Cody Marecek and guitarist Nick Piunti, a top-flight pop artist in his own right, in tow.

Their musical sensibilities clicked from the start as the cold weather whipped around them, and songs such as the melody-rich, uptempo “The Legend of Walter Wright” and the pretty ballad “Mary Anne” were born. “Mary Anne,” in particular, was something of a triumph, in that its rich vocal harmonies showed the heights that Andy, Chris, and Keith could reach as a unit.

the-legal-matters-conrad-buttonA second album was inevitable. Its name is Conrad; the cover art depicts a mouthless, seemingly silent, colorfully shirted koala bear. The 11 songs are a natural progression from the 10 on the first release, taken at a slower, but not slow, pace; the harmonies are more intricate and deeply felt. The vocal harmonies are more up front and alive. This is the sound of a band that has come into its own, that has benefitted from time spent feeling each other out, turning complex vocal structures into seemingly simpler constructs that aren’t at all simple.

The rich, finely detailed vocal harmonies are the collective star of Conrad’s show, but by no means the only performer; the instrumentation, supplied by Andy, Chris, and Keith, with Donny Brown and Andy Dalton handling drum duties, is peerless, and the songs are sweetly realized, from the opener “Anything,” not the first track on this album tipping its hat to the much-loved Beach Boys vocal vibe, to the upbeat, single-worthy “Short Term Memory,” which tips its drumsticks to Ringo Starr in a delightful fill and puts forth some top-notch electric guitar playing.

But it’s the rich vocal harmonies that set Conrad apart from a slew of other, recent melodic pop music releases. Nowhere is this more evident and true than on the short, coda-like, penultimate track “Lull and Bye,” a virtually a cappella, powerful slice of emotion-filled vocalese that is a thrilling testament to the power of the human voice that The Association so aptly included in the list of instruments played on their “Live” album. Other than the beautiful harmonies, the only instrument in evidence is a ghostly, spare piano, barely heard, that acts as really nothing more than a light, percussive underpinning. This track is so powerful that it recalls Brian Wilson’s “One for the Boys,” a majestic cut included on his first, self-titled solo album.

In order to truly appreciate the power of “Lull and Bye,” one must listen to the vocals-only mix available to purchasers of Conrad as a download bonus. For this experience, the piano part is gone and only the lovely vocal harmonies remain. To listen to it is a thrilling experience, along the lines of listening to the most vibrant of The Beach Boys’ recordings, stripped of instrumentation.

The vocals-only mix of Conrad should be considered an important part of the total listening experience, especially for musicians and students of how-it-is-done, although, of course, you can and will enjoy the album proper without ever setting the bonus tracks into motion. In fact, forget I said anything; Conrad is just fine–perfect, really–as it is.

the-legal-matters-band-photoThis year has been particularly rich–there is that word again–with strong albums released by both heritage artists and artists new to the melodic pop world stage. As always, artists who stress vocal harmony as a key element of their musical makeup rise to the top of the heap for me. In just 11 lovely songs, The Legal Matters have set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music. Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith are the players, and their human voices are their instruments.

black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Anything,” “I’m Sorry Love,” “Hip Hooray,” “Minor Key,” “Short Term Memory (Radio Version),” “She Called Me to Say,” “The Cool Kid,” and “Lull and Bye.”
black box When and Where to Get It: Kool Kat Music, Amazon, iTunes, CD Universe.

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 Legal Matters, Nick Piunti, The Nines, The Beatles and The Beach Boys, 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

“…and the Human Voice”

The Legal Matters set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music.

banner 5  mic-small 10

Spins and Reviews | 10.4.16 | by Alan Haber

The Legal Matters | Conrad (Omnivore, 2016)

the-legal-matters-conradOn the inside left panel of the gatefold sleeve of The Association’s 1970 double album “Live”, a list of the band members, titled The Players, fed into a section titled And Their Instruments, which named usual suspects such as guitars, drums and bass guitar along with suspects that were perhaps not so usual for a rock ‘n’ roll album: soprano recorder, tenor recorder, and pocket trumpet.

And, in the manner that cast credits for a film or television show might spotlight a particular actor–and Kiefer Sutherland, for example–the following was noted, perhaps as an afterthought to some: “and the human voice.” As a 15-year-old, music obsessed boy whose world turned around rich vocal harmonies, this was the most important piece of information on offer for an album that was, for me, a monumental achievement.

My young world, as informed as it was by my favorite comic book artists–Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson–my stamp collection, my dedication to the television shows that defined my generation–The Twilight Zone, The Flintstones, I Dream of Jeannie–and my transistor radio, which connected me to broadcasts both local and far away, was moreover defined by the sound of the human voice singing the songs that were written by my favorite recording artists.

The Beach Boys were certainly important to me for that very reason, as were The Four Seasons and The Association, whose records I cherished (no pun intended) and played probably more than those of any other artists in my collection (don’t tell John, Paul, George or Ringo). A committed vocal, with just the right amount of heart and soul, could stop me in my tracks, but a two- or three- or four-or-more-part rich harmony was something else again; it was something magical, something quite amazing.

Thankfully, the melodic pop music I have devoted my life to championing these past 21 years, in reviews and on the radio, very often continues to put the spotlight on the vocal harmonies that I so cherish. Bands like Kate Stephenson’s Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club carry on that vocal harmony tradition in a way that mirrors the many hours I spent as a child listening to music playing on my stereo and coming out of my transistor radio.

the legal matters photoAnother band that carries on the vocal harmony tradition and, indeed, practically redefines it, is The Legal Matters out of Detroit, Michigan, a long-standing, storied music town whose favorite musical sons are many and varied and legendary. It wouldn’t be out of line to include Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith in that group, such has been the level of acceptance of their wares on the part of fans of melodic pop music.

Their list of credits, spanning more years than probably any of them would care to acknowledge, is long and celebrated and includes a variety of solo and group releases. Just mention The Reed Brothers, An American Underdog, Chris Richards and the Subtractions, The Pantookas, and The Phenomenal Cats to those in the know and see what kind of a reaction you get.

As often happens in storied partnerships, the coming together of Andy, Chris, and Keith ignited a fertile spark that resulted in them recording together. 2014’s self-titled Legal Matters album was a warm, 10-song affair that was crafted in the dead of winter inside Andy’s Reed Recording Company studio in Bay City, Michigan, with drummer Cody Marecek and guitarist Nick Piunti, a top-flight pop artist in his own right, in tow.

Their musical sensibilities clicked from the start as the cold weather whipped around them, and songs such as the melody-rich, uptempo “The Legend of Walter Wright” and the pretty ballad “Mary Anne” were born. “Mary Anne,” in particular, was something of a triumph, in that its rich vocal harmonies showed the heights that Andy, Chris, and Keith could reach as a unit.

the-legal-matters-conrad-buttonA second album was inevitable. Its name is Conrad; the cover art depicts a mouthless, seemingly silent, colorfully shirted koala bear. The 11 songs are a natural progression from the 10 on the first release, taken at a slower, but not slow, pace; the harmonies are more intricate and deeply felt. The vocal harmonies are more up front and alive. This is the sound of a band that has come into its own, that has benefitted from time spent feeling each other out, turning complex vocal structures into seemingly simpler constructs that aren’t at all simple.

The rich, finely detailed vocal harmonies are the collective star of Conrad’s show, but by no means the only performer; the instrumentation, supplied by Andy, Chris, and Keith, with Donny Brown and Andy Dalton handling drum duties, is peerless, and the songs are sweetly realized, from the opener “Anything,” not the first track on this album tipping its hat to the much-loved Beach Boys vocal vibe, to the upbeat, single-worthy “Short Term Memory,” which tips its drumsticks to Ringo Starr in a delightful fill and puts forth some top-notch electric guitar playing.

But it’s the rich vocal harmonies that set Conrad apart from a slew of other, recent melodic pop music releases. Nowhere is this more evident and true than on the short, coda-like, penultimate track “Lull and Bye,” a virtually a cappella, powerful slice of emotion-filled vocalese that is a thrilling testament to the power of the human voice that The Association so aptly included in the list of instruments played on their “Live” album. Other than the beautiful harmonies, the only instrument in evidence is a ghostly, spare piano, barely heard, that acts as really nothing more than a light, percussive underpinning. This track is so powerful that it recalls Brian Wilson’s “One for the Boys,” a majestic cut included on his first, self-titled solo album.

In order to truly appreciate the power of “Lull and Bye,” one must listen to the vocals-only mix available to purchasers of Conrad as a download bonus. For this experience, the piano part is gone and only the lovely vocal harmonies remain. To listen to it is a thrilling experience, along the lines of listening to the most vibrant of The Beach Boys’ recordings, stripped of instrumentation.

The vocals-only mix of Conrad should be considered an important part of the total listening experience, especially for musicians and students of how-it-is-done, although, of course, you can and will enjoy the album proper without ever setting the bonus tracks into motion. In fact, forget I said anything; Conrad is just fine–perfect, really–as it is.

the-legal-matters-band-photoThis year has been particularly rich–there is that word again–with strong albums released by both heritage artists and artists new to the melodic pop world stage. As always, artists who stress vocal harmony as a key element of their musical makeup rise to the top of the heap for me. In just 11 lovely songs, The Legal Matters have set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music. Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith are the players, and their human voices are their instruments.

black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Anything,” “I’m Sorry Love,” and “Hip Hooray”; more tracks coming soon.
black box When and Where to Get It: Anywhere and everywhere on October 28.

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, Nick Piunti, 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.

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

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New on Pure Pop Radio | 8.9.16: New Legal Matters Now Spinning in Rotation!

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Extra-Special Legal Matters Edition | 8.9.16 | by Alan Haber

the legal matters - an intro - use this oneThe Legal Matters | An Intro…
Chris Richards, Andy Reed, and Keith Klingensmith, collectively known as the Legal Matters, are gifting their fans with a superb summer sampler titled An Intro…, available today for zero shekels (click here). In other words, this is free!

In addition to two ace songs from the Legal Matters’ first, self-titled album–“The Legend of Walter Wright” and “We Were Enemies–and a cover of Teenage Fanclub’s “Don’t Look Back,” unavailable anywhere else, this sterling introductory EP includes the gorgeous, harmony-soaked, melodic wonder “Anything,” the leadoff track from the Matters’ forthcoming second album, Conrad, being released later this summer on Omnivore Records. And, of course, we’re spinning this great song in rotation!

the legal matters photoIt’s like Christmas in August, I’m telling you…a brand-new track from the Legal Matters’ upcoming, second album, Conrad, an otherwise unavailable Teenage Fanclub cover, and two songs from the Matters’ first album. What could be better? Don’t miss this! Remember…it’s free!
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Anything,” “The Legend of Walter Wright,” “We Were Enemies,” and “Don’t Look Back.”
black box Where to Get It for Free: Noisetrade

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.

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

New on Pure Pop Radio 7.6.16

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Spins and Reviews | July 6, 2016 | by Alan Haber

The hits just keep on coming, with the Carpenter touch in today’s lead positions…

michael carpenter and the cuban heelsMichael Carpenter and the Cuban Heels | Ain’t Nothing Left to Say Country? Sure, there’s that, but moreover there are a dozen room-filling explosions of sound emblazoned with Carpenter’s trademark melodic touch. Witness the boom-boom-to-snare power of the catchy “One of these Days I’m Gonna Get Myself Right,” the easy intro-to-mid-tempo-pop punch of “Big in the City,” and the pumping, big guitars, big drums punch of “Black Chevy.” There really isn’t anything this Australian musical magician can’t do. Our playlist, and melodic pop music in general, benefit always from his mastery of the pop form.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Ain’t Nothing Left to Say,” “Black Chevy,” “I Should Have Told You,” “One of these Days,” “One of these Days I’m Gonna Get Myself Right,” “Photo,” “Big in the City,” “You’re Givin’ Love a Good Name,” “Thank You.”

crash and the crapenters 2Crash and the Crapenters | Set in Stone Pumping and thumping within just about the complete opposite spectrum of the Cuban Heels’ platter, the combo of three Carpenters–Chris, Michael, and Paul–congregate to bash out 15 smashing Chris and Michael originals (plus one Paul Weller cover). The breathless pace and let-it-all-hang-out attack is somewhat outside Pure Pop Radio’s usual purview, but the four-on-the-floor pop-rocker “Pray to Your Own God” and the upbeat, early Elvis Costello nod “Everything’s Coming My Way” fit perfectly. Yet another side of Michael’s musical palette, and a fun, assured debut for brother Chris.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Pray to Your Own God” and “Everything’s Coming My Way.”

cloud elevenCloud Eleven | Garden of Obscure Delights: A Retrospective (1996-2015) Spanning a period of 19-years, from the infant waxings of Jiffipop to last year’s sterling Record Collection, this ace release showcases the many colors and moods contained in Rick Gallego’s paintbox. An astounding selection, highlights include the lovely, mid-tempo pop ballad “Flying” from 1996’s debut from Jiffipop, Demolicious, to the dreamy, luscious, melodic wonder “Ocean,” from 2006’s Sweet Happy Life. A trio of outtakes from 2015’s Record Collection, including a winning, atmospheric cover of the 1971 Fleetwood Mac single, “Dragonfly,” close out the top-flight program. Gallego is an artist that deserves, as he always has, to fly well above the radar. He can only fly higher from here.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Blue Butterfly,” “Dragonfly,” “Evaporate,” “Flying,” “Hurry Home,” “Ocean,” “Rainbow Station,” “Sound on Sound,” “Take Control,” and “The One.”

solarflairs stereo alleySolarflairs | “Stereo Alley” Literally just in minutes ago from these Memphis power popsters that, the band says, don’t sound like a power pop band, this gently aggressive and lively guitars-driven number adds to the previous songs already on our playlist. Catchy as always.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

indie artists united for world peace

kirk adams photo - pop 4

Kirk Adams | “Love’s Looking for You” (from Indie Artists United for World Peace)  Appearing on this compilation promoting the world’s number one goal alongside wife Gale Trippsmith and Pop 4 compatriots Andrea Perry and KC Bowman, Florida resident Adams unspools an outtake from his superb 2015 long player Undertown. Beautiful ballad drips with melody to spare; a superbly sung and played and featuring a lovely George Harrison-esque guitar solo, this is a keeper for the ages.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

andy reed introduction'Andy Reed | An Introduction to Andy Reed Andy Reed’s importance in the grand scheme of all things melodic pop can not be overstated; the proof is here in this peerless collection of songs spotlighting his innate talent. The pure pop pleasures of “World of Make Believe,” from 2011’s An American Underdog album, Always On the Run; the beautiful, melodic “Dreaming of the West Coast,” from last year’s Relay Vol. 1 EP, and the glorious, straight-ahead cover of Jay Ferguson’s “Thunder Island” from the vinyl release of 2013’s celebration of lite rock, Drink a Toast to Innocence, dazzle, but then so do all 11 tracks. A great introduction, available on vinyl and in digital form, to the joy of listening to Andy Reed.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Thunder Island,” “Dreaming of the West Coast,” “World of Make Believe,” “Your Reign is Over,” “The Show Goes On,” “Crimes of Paris,” and “Always on the Run.”

flossyFlossy | “Cloudy Brain” From Perth, Australia, songstress Lauren M. O’Hara and her sister Sinead pair up to produce this bluesy rocker balancing above a pop highwire. Deep, thumping bass, thrashing drums by Chris Winterburn, raging guitars, and committed vocals rule the grooves. Impossible to ignore, and you shouldn’t.
black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio.

More to come.

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.

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

We’re Top of the Pops on this New Music Wednesday!

It’s time for another round of new music that we’ve just added to our playlist. We’ve got a whole lot of new songs and artists to tell you about, so let’s get on to it, shall we?

the dowling pooleThe Dowling Poole | Single: “Rebecca Receiving,” “The Same Mistake Again,” and “Empires, Buildings and Acquisitions (Live in Manchester)” This tasty taster, being released February 19 in advance of the full-length One Hyde Park, is yet another example of what Willie Dowling and Jon Poole do so very well: mix the past with the present as they point to the future. “Rebecca Receiving” is an undeniably catchy art-pop explosion drinking from a well overflowing with Stiff and Godley and Creme-isms. It’s hard to deny, as is the non-album “The Same Mistake Again,” a wholly different, gentle-by-comparison beast, coming from the other, Stewart-Gouldman side of the 10cc fence. A lovely, heretofore unreleased, stripped down, live version of Bleak Strategies‘ “Empires, Buildings and Acquisitions” completes the triptych. Super stuff.

sloan tributeVarious Artists | If It Feels Good, Do It: A Sloan Tribute Keith Klingensmith’s Futureman Records hits another bullseye with a collection of covers of songs from the Sloan catalog. A selection of familiar and perhaps not-so-familiar artists delivers the goods, from Coke Belda and El Inquieto Roque’s melodically-charged “Autobiography,” which kicks off with a knowing, smile-inducing nod to Jeff Lynne’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” to Pop 4’s short but sweet “Flying High Again,” sounding more than a little like electrified, later-period Cowsills. We’re playing 12 superb tracks in rotation, including the previously-mentioned nuggets and Andy Reed’s “I Love a Long Goodbye”; Fireking’s “The Other Man”; Gretchen’s Wheel’s “Try to Make It”; the wonderfully named Hal E. Fax and the Supernova Scotias’ “So Far So Good,” with its Beach Boys vocal open; Nick Piunti’s “Right or Wrong”; Phil Ajiarapu’s “Set in Motion”; Stereo Tiger’s “C’mon C’mon (We’re Gonna Get It Started)”; The Hangabouts’ “The Answer Was You”; and the Well Wishers’ “The Lines You Amend.” Cheers to a fun listen.

cowsills poor babyCoke Belda | “Poor Baby” Speaking of Coke Belda, this pop master has recorded a spirited and loving cover of the Cowsills’ 1967 single track “Poor Baby” for Pop Parade, a forthcoming compilation from the Rock Indiana label. Coke plays all of the instruments and sings all of the vocals. It’s a spectacular performance, and we’ve got it playing in rotation. Beautiful.

propellerPropeller | Fall Off the World The followup to 2013’s Don’t Be Sorry Again, sporting a K-tel International homage on its cover, is an infectious collection of hook-filled songs with more than a hint of Teenage Fanclub-esque-fueled DNA. Songs like the Byrdsian “She’s So Alive” is but one example of the heights the group achieves; “You Remind Me of You” melds Buddy Holly swagger with its power-pop heart; “It’s Kinda Why I Like You” is a virtual love letter to Fanclub song construction. These three songs, plus “Wish I Had Her Picture,” “The Things You Say,” “What a Way to Feel,” and “Can You Hear Us Now,” are currently playing in rotation, as you would expect.

tobbe

Tobbe | ep1 – summerbound Tobbe is The Tor Guides’ Torbjorn Petersson, a multi-instrumentalist who flexes his solo sweet pop muscles on four catchy classics: the hit single-worthy “What in the World” and “Two Minutes of Your Time,” the lovely ballad “Absent Minded Me,” and the comparatively muscular “Love Went to Paris.” Tobbe plays all instruments, save for the drums. Hooks abound. Listeners are in love.

chris murphy ghost townChris Murphy | Ghost Town The Murphy Brothers’ Chris closed out 2015 with this gorgeous collection of songs soaked in melodic charm. The title track, a lovely ballad, is quite simply one of the most affecting numbers we’ve heard in quite some time. The blues-rocking “Scarecrow” is a punchy number, punctuated by Chris’s strong vocal and some tasty piano runs; and “Kid from the Country” sings a heartland song from the heart. These three tunes, plus “Not Like it Was Before,” “Running Out of Time,” and “Happy Boy” are now happily playing in rotation.

new sincerity works nowadaysNew Sincerity Works | Nowadays Our old friend Mike Tittel returns, fellow travelers Roger Klug, Bob Nyswonger, Mike Landis, Greg Tudor and Tom White in tow, with New Sincerity Works’ second album, another sparkling collection of melodic gems. “The Upside of Being Down” is a powerful rocker performed with energetic swagger; the gorgeous “Our Room Shares a Door” sports a delicious melody and beautiful harmonies. In addition to these two songs, we’re playing “Dreams Worth Keeping” and “Lips Miss Talking” in rotation.

the cactus brothersThe Cactus Blossoms | You’re Dreaming It’s like the Everly Brothers are spinning on the turntable, but you’d better open your eyes (and your ears, for that matter), because it’s not Phil and Don; it’s brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum delivering an authentic mix of Everly, country and western, and Bakersfield magic. One of the great surprises of this early year, we’re playing five great numbers: “You’re Dreaming,” “Traveler’s Paradise,” “Stoplight Kisses,” “No More Crying the Blues,” and “Clown Collector.” It just doesn’t get much better than this.

daisy house western manDaisy House | Western Man Here is another great surprise that has defined this year, even early on, as a great one for melodic music. Doug Hammond and his daughter Tatiana have made an album for the ages. Golden harmonies and great songs melt your heart all the way through. The heavenly duo channels the Byrds in the uptempo “She Comes Runnin’ Back” and “Twenty-One,” offers up a catchy, playful vibe with the singalong number “Willow,” and delivers a strong, emotive ballad with the orchestrated pearl, “Western Man.” We’re playing these and five other grand musical gestures: “The Defender,” “The Boulevard,” “Say Goodbye,” “Like a Superman,” and “Golden Heart.” This is nothing less than a gift from heaven.

tricia countryman cover for upcoming solo album 2-2-16john hunter phillipsTricia Countryman and John Hunter Phillips | “The Warmth of the Sun” Taken from Tricia’s upcoming solo album, being produced by her husband Dana (a Pure Pop Radio favorite, don’t you know), this lovely rendition of the Beach Boys classic is pure gold. This is just about as perfect an example of how important harmonies are to melodic pop music as we can think of.

That’s it for today. You’ll be getting another big fix of new songs and artists added to our playlist coming up in a harmony-filled blink of an eye. Until then, why not click on one of the listen links below and sway to the melodies and harmonies coming out of your speakers by listening to Pure Pop Radio?

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.

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

Ready, Set, Go! Hundreds and Hundreds and Hundreds More New Songs and Artists Have Been Added to the Pure Pop Radio Playlist. Let the Tunes Play!

Alan Haber's Pure Pop RadioSo here’s the scoop: We’ve been adding new music to the Pure Pop Radio playlist for the last couple of months–all sorts of melodic pop from new and heritage artists; songs with sent-from-heaven hooks and harmonies that are pretty much guaranteed to put a big smile on your face.

Let’s get right down to it. Here are just some of the new songs and artists now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. This is but a quick sprinkle of what we have in store for your ears. You’ll be reading about all of our recent adds to the playlist over the next few weeks. Sit back, relax, and start singing along.

michael carpenter the big radioMichael Carpenter | The Big Radio To say that Aussie Michael Carpenter has been a major force in helping to shape the sound of melodic pop music would be barely scratching the surface of the run of his estimable achievements. Michael’s first album, released by Not Lame in 1999, was called Baby; it featured a dozen songs that, like a well-orchestrated fireworks display in the summer sky, showed how it was done if one wanted to do it well. Sixteen years later, The Big Radio, an explosive, musical fireworks display, an all-consuming expression of passion fueled by skill and a keen sense of purpose, is here and nothing, really, has changed.

Which is the kind of good news one wants when hitting the play button on what will surely wind up being one of the best power pop albums of the year–power being the operative word. It’s impossible to not feel the electricity in every note of The Big Radio’s opening salvo, the vigilant, energized, take-no-prisoners number, “Don’t Open that Door,” which announces itself with a flip-flopping, upside-and-then-down rolling drum call-to-arms that feeds directly into a classically-styled, electric guitar-fueled blast of melodic wonder and manages to pack a half-hour’s punch into just over three minutes of playing time.

michael carpenter photoThese 14 songs, from the propulsive, runaway train that is “I’ve Been Lovin’ You,” to the catchy, medium tempo nugget, “The Little Blue Box,” and “Too Late,” a rubbery, determined, slowish burner of a rocker sliced and diced with Keith Richards-y electric guitar flourishes, The Big Radio is nothing less than exactly what you would expect to get when Michael Carpenter shows up at your door with a new album. Turn ‘er up and let your power pop flag fly.

Of course, we’re playing all of these songs in rotation, and they are: “Don’t Open that Door,” “She’s in Love With Herself,” “Blind,” “I Kissed that Girl,” “I’ve Been Lovin’ You,” “Father,” “The Only One,” “The Little Blue Box,” “Chrissie Hynde,” “Run Away,” “Too Late,” “Never Be the One,” “Never Know You,” and “Place in Our World.”

It’s a pleasure and a privilege to welcome Michael Carpenter back.

andy reed relayAndy Reed | Relay Vol. 1 Andy Reed, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, recording artist, producer, engineer and yeah, probably that too, steps out from behind his An American Underdog moniker for five songs worth of pretty near perfect pop. Coupling four originals (one written with Donny Brown, whose songs are playing in rotation here on Pure Pop Radio) with a lovely cover of Sloan’s “I Love a Long Goodbye,” the master music craftsman produces pure delights aplenty. The first focus track, an insanely catchy, melodic gem, “Dreaming of the West Coast,” is but one of the wonders on offer; the gorgeous ballad, “Love is Gone,” marries a luscious melody to a beautiful, fluid chord structure. We’re playing the songs mentioned here, plus “Waves” and “Darlin’, You Don’t Know.” Absolutely essential listening, and we can’t wait for more.

duncan faure 4Duncan Faure | 4 For more than four decades, from Rabbitt to the Bay City Rollers and through to his solo career, Duncan Faure has been a popular tunesmith and a master of the pop song. It’s only fitting that Duncan’s latest release is titled 4. We’re playing the following songs in rotation, all catchy, joyous and full of life: “Back to the Day,” “Lies and Promises,” and “The Day that I Found Love.” The mark of a great pop song is how strong the pull is to hit the repeat button and play it again. Guess how strong the pull is here.

paul starling the wild wolfPaul Starling | The Wild Wolf According to his blog, Paul Starling is a left-handed bass and guitar player and a right-handed drummer (make of that what you will), whose favorite male singer is Paul McCartney (which guarantees him an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner) and whose favorite food is clam chowder (which is apropos of nothing but interesting nonetheless). He is also a member of Anchor and Bear, a quite wonderful group whose album, Ahoy!, is currently playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. What’s more, he curates, using his real name, Brian Bringelson, a fine and quite dandy deejay show called Needle Meets Vinyl, which airs here on Wednesday nights at 8 pm ET.

All dressed up in his Paul Starling clothes, this talented artist is currently watching his latest long player, The Wild Wolf, climb to the top of the pops. Well, we certainly love it here at Pure Pop Radio. We love not only the music, which is quite catchy and full of hooks and heart, but also the lyrics, every set of them creatively poised to listeners to ponder. Consider the title song, for example, as near as we can tell the story of a lover who takes, doesn’t give back and slinks off into the night without regret. Plus, she may be less than the sum of her parts: “She’s been kissing all the boys without a raincoat/Seems her reasons lack the water, sink and won’t float.” Another of our favorites, the vaguely mid-1960s-flavored stomper, “Tarantula,” about a love affair pulling apart from itself, also makes the grade with us.

In addition to the two aforementioned songs, we’re also playing the rest of the album in rotation: “Boots,” “Seance,” “Endless Waiting,” “Midnight Turns Into Day,” “Seven,” “Middle of Darkness,” “Waiting,” “Broken Bones,” “EP Foster,” and “Giving Up the Ghost.” We love them all, and we bet you will too.

Well, it’s time to get back to work. We’ll be reporting on more of the new music added to the Pure Pop Radio playlist throughout the next few weeks. We’ve added hundreds and hundreds more of the finest melodic pop songs being crafted and released by the top recording artists you know and love. Keep listening to Pure Pop Radio; simply click on one of the listen links below and sing along if you know the words.

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.

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

High “Fives” All Around! It’s Day Five of Pure Pop Radio’s New Music Explosion. And We’re Still Just Getting Started!

wow-5This week has practically flown by! Wasn’t it just Monday…yesterday? Wow! Well, it’s Friday, and that means it’s day five of Pure Pop Radio’s exciting New Music Explosion, which is great news all by itself, but the even greater news is that we’ve got so much new music to add to our playlist that we’ll be exploding next week, too! Look for another great list of newly-added songs and artists next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Meanwhile, here’s today’s quartet of great melodic finds. Let’s make it happen, shall we?

never-surrender-coverNever Surrender: The Cheap Trick Tribute |  Various Artists We’ve long been big fans of Australia’s Zero Hour Records, a great independent label run by George Matzkou. Zero Hour continually releases great-sounding compilations in smart looking packages that you can hold in your hand and admire as works of art. The latest in a series of tribute albums curated by the label is an exciting two-CD celebration of the songs of Cheap Trick. Never Surrender serves up 40 songs from across the wide-ranging body of work produced over the years by one of the most loved bands of the rock era. All manner of artists deliver their versions of such great songs as “ELO Kiddies,” “Oh Candy,” “”Come On Come On,” and “I Want You to Want Me.”

Naturally, many of pop music’s greatest artists wanted, and probably even needed, to be part of the celebration of some truly great songs; quite a few of these artists are Pure Pop Radio favorites. We’re thrilled to have added to our playlist 16 tracks, each one guaranteed to have you up and running with your favorite imaginary axe, playing air guitar to these venerated classics.

Here’s the rundown: The Cry, “ELO Kiddies”; The Running Jumps, “If You Want My Love”; Chris Richards and the Subtractions, “Downed”; Stephen Lawrenson, “Such a Good Girl”; Lannie Flowers, “Oh Candy”; Spike Priggen and C. P. Roth, “So Good to See You”; Lisa Mychols, “Tonite It’s You”; Bill Lloyd, “Come On Come On”; Corin Ashley, “I Want You to Want Me”; Jeremy, “Takin’ Me Back”; Easterly, “Let Go”; Rob Smith and Danny McCarthy, “Had to Make You Mine”; Rob Bonfiglio, “Taxman Mr. Thief”; The Affections, “Say Goodbye”; honeychain, “I Can’t Take It”; and Michael Carpenter, “Surrender.” Not only is this an eclectic bunch of songs, it’s an electric bunch of artists, joining together to pay tribute to a classic group that has wowed the world’s music fans for so long. We’re proud to be bringing you tracks from this album, in rotation. Good job, Zero Hour!

the-corner-laughersThe Corner Laughers | Matilda Effect The award for the most enchanting melodic pop music album released so far this year must, without question, go to the well-appointed members of the Corner Laughers, who have produced a song cycle that sounds bright and cheery, wonderfully enchanting, and lyrically invigorating. From the opening, Motown vibe of “Fairytale Tourist” to the lively pure pop pleasures of the happy, bouncy “Go Fly Your Kite,” Matilda Effect, which releases today, puts a big smile on your face that nary a tissue or wet towel will be able to wipe clean. The reggae-meets-pop vibe of the closer, “Good Hope,” is quite intoxicating and joyous and mighty hard to resist, which you wouldn’t want to do anyway under any circumstances at all. Big hugs to the enchanting Karla Kane, who wrote most of the songs here; Khoi Huynh; KC Bowman; and Charlie Crabtree. Equally big hugs to Allen Clapp, who produced, along with the Laughers. We’ve added all 10 of the songs on this delightful album: “Fairytale Tourist,” “The Girl, America,” “Octavia A,” “Queen of the Meadow,” “Sophie in the Streets of Stockholm,” “Midsommar,” “Lammas Land,” “Go Fly Your Kite,” “Martha (Cincinnati, 1914),” and “Good Hope.” Color us enchanted.

adam-walsh-epAdam Walsh | The Crooked Trail of Midnight We’ve been playing a host of tracks from this mighty talented singer-songwriter for months. Whether on his own or with his pal Colm Gavin, his talent sparkles and lights the sky. Country, folk and a decidedly keen pop sense permeate everything Adam records. Might we refer to his music as Americana Pop? Perhaps. This EP is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to Adam’s considerable charms as a musician of the highest order. We’re playing, in rotation, “Child of Love,” “Hidden Times,” “Of Our Love,” “Love that’s Gone,” “Steamboat Dream (for John Hartford),” and ” Sun Goes Down.” Great stuff.

But that’s not all. We’re also playing a few other Adam tracks: a cover of the Bee Gees’ “Sun in My Morning,” Gene Clark’s “Here Tonight,”  and Jeff Lynne’s “Can’t Get It Out of My Head,” all three performed with Colm Gavin. Lovely, all.

andy-reed-2Andy Reed | “Darlin’, You Don’t Know,” “Good Girl,” and “The Show Goes On” Producer, engineer, songwriter, performer, member of the Legal Matters and all-around musical magician Andy Reed’s latest single is another one of his can’t-miss creations that even before the first chorus has been sung burrows into your brain and holes up there for, you know, ever. So, naturally, we’re playing it in rotation on Pure Pop Radio. The two b-sides are remixed versions of songs that appeared on the split EP Andy released with Brandon Schott a little more than a year and a half ago. We love them both. And you will, too.

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Thanks for checking in this week and exploring our latest adds to the Pure Pop Radio playlist. Click on one of the listen links below to hear hundreds of new songs and a total of more than 6,800 melodic pop nuggets from the ’60s to today! See you back here next Tuesday or Wednesday for another edition of our New Music Explosion!

Click here to download our app for listening on the go with Android and iOS devices!

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 Musician’s Opinion #2: The Legal Matters’ Chris Richards, Andy Reed and Keith Klingensmith: Favorite Songs

legal-matters-largeFor the second edition of The Musician’s Opinion, we asked the Legal Matters’ Andy Reed, Chris Richards and Keith Klingensmith to talk about some of their favorite songs. Their choices may well surprise you. You will certainly be delighted. (The Legal Matters’ self-titled, debut album took a top spot in Pure Pop Radio’s Favorite Records of 2014. Read the entry here.)

andy-reedAndy Reed:

brendan-benson“Tiny Spark,” by Brendan Benson | I was very lucky during the beginning of my musical career. My first official album was recorded and produced by Brendan Benson in his home studio in Detroit. I had been a huge fan of Brendan’s first record, One Mississippi. I was a sponge during those sessions, as I realized I was in the presence of a true genius. Then the moment came about half way through the record. Brendan turned on his tape machine and played me a track he had been working on. The song was “Tiny Spark.” I was blown away instantly. The song had everything I loved about music wrapped up in three minutes. When we finished recording and mixing, Brendan gave us our CD. He also gave us a CD of what would later be released as his album Lapalco. This was the first album I had ever made and my CD never made it into the car CD player on the way home.

harry-nilsson“One,” by Harry Nilsson | Nilsson will always be my favorite vocalist of all time. He could sing just about anything and transform his voice to fit the tune perfectly. There is a lot of beauty in the lyrics and the melody of this tune. If you are going to write a sad song, this is a great one to take notes on.

chris-bell“I Am the Cosmos,” by Chris Bell | I am a huge Big Star fan but I may be an even bigger Chris Bell fan. The song itself is gut-wrenching in the best sort of way. The vocal performance is even more so. You can hear and feel Chris’ pain. It also sums up what I love about Big Star. The guitar tones are huge and warm. The production is flawless.

xo“Waltz #2 (XO),” by Elliott Smith | I caught on to Elliott Smith late in the game. The first record I bought was XO; it was referred to me by a friend. I was instantly drawn in. I will still say that Elliott is the closest we would get if Lennon and McCartney were one guy. He had Lennon’s desperation and McCartney’s melodic sense and musicianship. This became my favorite track early on and still is to this day. The imagery of the lyric is very trademark Elliott. This haunting track still gives me chills when I listen.

chris-richardsChris Richards:

sloan“The Good in Everyone,” by Sloan | Picking a favorite Sloan album would be hard enough…but a favorite track? Please. That being said, for this exercise I shall choose “The Good In Everyone,” the leadoff track from the brilliant 1996 release, One Chord to Another. After spending big Geffen money on their first two records, Sloan found themselves looking to flip the script in a sense and record their third record minus big label funds (their first two records had 100K budgets; this masterpiece was recorded for 10K). This song is really Sloan at their core–it has an enormous hook elevated by harmonies that will resonate in your memory for what should be a lifetime. And if you really want to feel the power of this song, watch the video–it’s a majestic piece that reenacts a scene from the movie Easy Rider in its intro. This is a band that couldn’t be stopped.

nick-lowe“Marie Provost,” by Nick Lowe | Nick Lowe was more important to the secondary British Invasion than sales would indicate. His imprint on what was coming out of the UK in the late ’70s through the 1980s was undeniable; consider the countless records he produced by such artists as Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, and the Damned. Nick Lowe’s records were charming, witty and rocked, despite the overt poppy overtones. “Marie Provost” perfectly molds all that is Nick in one song. You get incredibly funny lyrics based on a very true and tragic story of a Canadian silent film actress who died alone in her apartment amongst countless liquor bottles, a $10 promissory note to Joan Crawford, and a barking dog that  may or may not have tried to take matters into its own paws, as far as food goes.

kinks-village-green“Big Sky,” by the Kinks | I suppose I could’ve selected any track off the Kinks’ exemplary 1968 release, The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society. This is truly a mind-blowing record as a whole, but when you take a track out of the original mix,  you see how these little English classics can live on their own. “Big Sky” may be the perfect Ray Davies composition, in my opinion, as it has the key elements that make a great Kinks song, such as the immediate, yet simple melodic hook married to an introspective lyric. This song is delivered as a heavier rock piece, a style that the very proper Kinks were clearly moving away from.

the-who-magic-bus“Pictures of Lily,” by the Who | At one point I hope the world realizes the brilliance of Pete Townshend as a holistic composer; his ability to wax poetic on an array of simplistic, yet direct subjects and write complex, truly diabolic songs about introspective demons made him the genius that we have today. “Pictures of Lily” will always be a favorite of mine. I especially love the key change in the second half of each chorus that takes you to the breakdown, at which point Keith Moon brings you to the best part of the song: the ba-da- da-dum-dum–“Pictures of Lily!” This is followed by an amazing French horn “solo” by John. Lyrically and in two minutes and 35 seconds, Pete tells a full story of an individual with insomnia who is given a picture of a pin-up girl (the eponymous Lily) from his father. The individual falls in love with the pin-up girl, which leads to sleep and the realization that the girl has been dead since 1929.

keith-klingensmithKeith Klingensmith:

pet-sounds“Please Let Me Wonder,” by the Beach Boys | I’m firmly in the Pet-Sounds-is-the-greatest-record-ever-made club, but side two of The Beach Boys Today contains every bit of that same magic. “Please Let Me Wonder” starts the side off with a perfect dose of Brian Wilson longing. I’m a harmony guy and as heartbreaking as this song is, the Beach Boys’ harmonies are mixed so loud they could almost be considered the second lead voice. I wish every song was mixed this way! I could happily spend the rest of my life listening to Beach Boys vocals-only mixes; you need to do yourself a favor and check out the “Please Let Me Wonder” vocals-only outtakes, if you haven’t already.

the-byrds-lady-friend“Lady Friend,” by the Byrds | There are times when I think this amazing David Crosby song is my fave song of all time. If I could ever manage to make a favorite songs list, this would be near the top for sure. Everything I still love about pop music is entirely contained in this song–an inspired melody, giant harmonies, driving guitars and horns. Some top-notch girl lyrics can never hurt, either. There’s mystery to this song. I can never fully get to the bottom of why all these pieces are able to combine in a way that destroys me every single time. If I ever had to play a single song to define myself musically, I’d be comfortable playing this one.

the-undertones“Teenage Kicks,” by the Undertones | That sound! The sound of this record kills me. This song sends electricity directly from the speakers to my nervous system. Something about that opening riff is pure magic. Feargal Sharkey never sounded better or more alive, and the solo just ruins me every time. I didn’t hear the Undertones’ first record until the Ryko re-release in the mid-’90s, but it’s been in regular revisit rotation ever since.

del-amitri“Keepers,” by Del Amitri | Somehow, Del Amitri’s self-titled, first LP gets ignored and belittled by every Del fan that came after this record. No single LP made more of an impression on me than this one; I seriously love every single note contained within. “Keepers” has always been a fave song on the record. It’s an absolute epic with multiple peaks, told from the point of view of a man who only appears to only be interested in owning females. But like all great pop music, this song is wrapped up in gorgeous paper so that the lyrics take a few listens to sink in. Always an appreciated bonus. Go find this record!

(Read the first entry in the Musician’s Opinion series by clicking here!)

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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