KURT BAKER – Keep It Tight / Get Away

Despite a highly prolific power pop-centric solo output, releases with punkier band K7s and The Bullet Proof Lovers also showed Kurt Baker to be a great team player, able to transfer his musical chops to other guitar driven styles. His easy demeanour and gifts for a strong melody have always suggested that he’s a great addition to any band and a good guy to have around. His 2021 collaboration with Nuevo Catecismo Catolico reinforced these ideas, with his adding some great harmonies to the band’s punchy garage rock.

That release also marked the end of Baker’s years in Spain and coincides with his return to his home town of Maine. The return to the States also brings a more traditionally American sound, beginning with the standalone digital track ‘Anytime At All’. That saw Kurt melding a pop punk chorus to an old Chuck Berry riff very effectively, but the two songs from the ‘Keep It Tight’ download find the musician in far more of a comfort zone.

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ENUFF Z’NUFF – Never Enuff: Rarities & Demos

Enuff Z’Nuff have never been shy of digging up old recordings in the name of a new release. The band began their “patchwork” approach to making albums as far back as 1996 when their sixth release ‘Peach Fuzz’ was constructed from material that wasn’t considered suitable for their 1994 album ‘Tweaked’ and then fleshed out with a couple of b-sides from 1991. In the case of that album, the old-for-new approach could be easily forgiven, since all of the material was first rate. ‘Peach Fuzz’, against the odds, rivals 1991’s ‘Strength’ as EZ’N’s finest hour.

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Listen: Real Gone’s New Release Round-Up – April-June 2021

It seems unbelievable that we’re now half way through the year, but here we are. We discovered and shared a truckload of new music during the first quarter, half expecting things to fizzle out as we moved towards the northern hemisphere summer, but it really wasn’t the case. If anything, the year’s second quarter was every bit as strong.

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DANY LAJ AND THE LOOKS – Ten Easy Pieces

Unless you happen to be from Ontario, or perhaps have an unhealthy obsession with Transatlantic power pop, there’s a good chance the name Dany Laj will not mean much to you. With his band The Looks, Dany has been cranking out quirky pop-rock sounds since 2016, but his recorded output goes back even further with a (now rare) solo EP from 2010. The third album by Dany Laj and The Looks – 2019’s ‘Everything New Is New Again’ – received some very positive notices from established DIY power pop blogs around the net, cementing the band’s place as a cult act, but the bulk of the Looks’ 2021 LP ‘Ten Easy Pieces’ (featuring twelve songs) runs rings around their previous works.

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