I recently discovered a new artist to whom the more I listen the more I enjoy. The artist is German musician Kai Danzberg, a power popper who has released several albums. However, I discovered him while I was browsing Bandcamp, a downloading website where indie artists can posted their work and charge whatever they would like for their work. Many times, I have discovered free downloads on their, which has lead me to purchase the whole album download. What happened in the case of Herr Danzberg is that a power pop website had led me to his Bandcamp site. About a week after getting a free download of his new album, Pop Up Radio, I got an email from his people in order to purchase a limited CD printing of this album. Well, I jumped on the offer and paid the ten bucks to get a physical copy of this album.
Well, the official verdict is in, and Pop Up Radio is officially my favorite album of 2018! How can I possibly not love an album that begins showing its influence as ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” and name checks The Beatles, Jellyfish, Bee Gees and Queen in its second song, and first single, “Welcome to the Show.” By the end of the album’s fourth song, “Just Listen to Me, I am absolutely hooked on this pop album that sounds as if Danzberg was raised on artists like the Beach Boys, Cheap Trick and Raspberries. The whole is drenched in ELO’s post-Sgt. Pepper/Magical Mystery Tour pop sheen that you might miss the other influences. But, unlike other artists, Danzberg does not forget to forge his own identity throughout this album.
After the first listen, I was excited to bring this album to everyone’s attention. After the fourth time, I realized that Pop Up Radio may be showing off many influences, but it never ceases to be of its own time and era. Danzberg sounds as if he wanted to make the ultimate album that could almost sound as if it were a concept album, telling tales that reminds one of Queen’s A Night at the Opera/A Day at the Races at their most pop, with a a healthy dose of ELO’s Out of the Blue, of course, along with some Spilt Milk by Jellyfish, a pinch of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and a sprinkling of Bowie’s “Space Oddity”.
Still, all in all, this is Kai Danzberg’s statement of his commitment to pop and power pop, and the saving grace of rock music. And, in this age of cynicism and Trump, maybe we need to hold onto our pop innocence, and follow Kai Danzberg into this beautiful pop world he is giving us on Pop Up Radio. This is the standard against which all other 2018 releases will be measured. This album deserves to be heard by the masses.