JATK – Shut Up And Be The Light

Since the release of their 2019 EP, JATK – a band featuring Matt Jatkola and a revolving cast of friends – has slowly built a solid online following. A series of digital singles released throughout the lockdowns of 2020 and ’21 showcased some great and fuzzy, retro rock music, but also seemed unafraid to throw a few pop influences into the mix. This showed a band who were keen to avoid easy labelling; a band starting out on an adventurous path, and a band who had the potential to deliver a rich and varied full length release somewhere down the track. Simply put, JATK quickly marked themselves out as a very cool collective.

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CHIP Z’NUFF – Perfectly Imperfect

Following the release of ‘Diamond Boy’ in 2018, Enuff Z’Nuff began going through the motions, churning out music that often felt very much like a Chip Z’Nuff project, with the band augmented by some musicians that have little to no real claim on the EZ’N legacy. With that in mind, it isn’t immediately clear why 2022’s ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ should be a marketed Chip Z’Nuff solo album and not just another product from the seemingly never ending EZ’N production line. Chip obviously has other ideas, though, and clearly views the material on the album as being somehow different from his day job.

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PRIMA DONNA – Atomic Love / He’s A Rebel

Although their origins stretch back much further, LA power poppers/garage rockers Prima Donna considered their self-titled full length release from 2018 to be a new start; the kind of record that really introduced the world to a band at their best. …And indeed, the bulk of its material showcased a more confident band; an act fully at ease with a commercial sound and a huge chorus or six. Over the next couple of years, some great singles emerged, with Prima Donna’s blend of timeless pop cool and garage rock flair eventually peaking on an unexpected cover of Bananarama’s ‘Cruel Summer’ driven by a massive fuzz bass.

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Watch Kurt Baker’s new animated video for ‘New Direction’

In the age of streaming and the likes of Spotify supplying a world of new tunes at the push of a button, it sometimes feels as if music has become a disposable commodity.  Albums often appear, get a six week promotional cycle and then disappear just as quickly, leaving the consumer to move on to the next quick hit.

Good music deserves far more of a shelf life. How else are new releases allowed time to grow into the new ‘Pet Sounds’ or ‘Born To Run’?  Nobody understands how important it is to cling onto great music than Kurt Baker.  He’s still busily promoting his 2020 album ‘After Party’.  Since that album was released, he’s relocated back to the US, hooked up with his old bandmates (including Kris Rodgers of Dirty Gems fame), and started playing new gigs in support of the record. There’s so much about it that could be his best to date, so it really deserves this ongoing love.

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Kurt Baker shares new digital single ‘Turn It Around’

Following his move from Spain back to the US, Kurt Baker continued to raid his archive of materials to bring his fans some great music. The digital releases – in conjunction with his label, Wicked Cool Records – have really helped to capitalise on the popularity of his ‘After Party’ album, but the newest instalment might just be the best yet.

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