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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ENUFF Z’NUFF – Enuff Z’Nuff’s Hardrock Nite

When Enuff Z’Nuff first appeared on the scene in the late 80s, they were very much the poster children for a bygone age. At a time when so many of the big haired bands were promoting sleaze, Chip Z’Nuff, Donnie Vie and their bandmates were flaunting a tye-dye aesthetic and an almost sub-Beatles like peace and love mentality. It was a move that, although unfashionable at the time, really worked for them. They became brief stars on MTV and gained very enthusiastic press on both sides of the Atlantic. After losing theur first major label deal after releasing the excellent ‘Animals With Human Intelligence’, they bounced from label to label, creating albums in a patchwork style from different sources, and although none of the subsequent releases would garner the kind of attention the debut and 1991’s ‘Strength’ had deservedly brought, Enuff Z’Nuff managed to retain a loyal fanbase.

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Dany Laj to release ‘Retrospectacle’ comp in January; watch the video for ‘Left Right To One’ now

Get ready to begin the new year with a great soundtrack!

You might not know their name, but Canadian power poppers Dany Laj and The Looks released one of 2021’s finest albums. Their ‘Ten Easy Pieces’ came loaded with massive retro hooks, chiming guitars and a world of fun harmonies that reinforced a very natural style. Even with Dany reaching for a few uncomfortable high notes in places, the record screamed power pop cool, and its lead single ‘Don’t Keep Me Guessin‘ was easily one of the catchiest things to emerge from across the Atlantic since Kurt Baker gave the world his ‘Brand New Beat‘ LP all the way back in 2012.

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THE HEARTDROPS – Three Songs EP

Although their name might not be among garage punk’s most familiar, The Heartdrops released a couple of enjoyable albums back in the late 90s. Their debut, ‘This Is The Heartdrops’ (issued on Melted Records in 1997), served up a relentless collection of riff-based numbers, almost guaranteed to make an indelible impression. The band never got the big break they deserved at the time, but the internet has always been a handy tool for rediscovering overlooked artists and lost gems, and this three track freebie is a superb introduction to The Heartdrops’ world of riffs. The three songs were originally issued on a shared EP with The Spills in ’99 – effectively the band’s swansong – but decades on, the tunes sound as good as ever, and certainly don’t sound like the work of a band that would soon throw in the towel.

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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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