*The Following Press Release Was Issued By Earshot Media*
|Kurt Baker (Kurt Baker Combo, The Leftovers) Debuts Another Track Off Solo Album ‘After Party’ Out Now on Wicked Cool Records|
|“…his upbringing at the crossroads of AOR and Modern Rock is quite palpable. The video for “Over You,” meanwhile, is a total spoil of riches for any fan of 80s culture, all neon tubing, sharp camera angles and sleek, funky typography. Its a total trip to watch if you grew up with MTV on the television as a young youth.”- American Songwriter|
|“…punk-meets-Elvis Costello rocking… definitely fits in the power pop mold, but also has a heavier guitar presence that gives it more energy and intensity. Baker also incorporates a subtle New Wave touch, bringing to mind some of the finest rock gems of the 1980s. With plenty of shredding and infectious harmonies, “Over You” showcases the massive musical talent and tightness within this band and gets you excited for when we will finally be able to see acts like them perform live one day.”- Glide Magazine|
|“…a one-way ticket to pop heaven.”- Faster and Louder Blog|
|American musician, songwriter, music producer and multi-instrumentalist Kurt Baker gave fans another taste of music off his solo album ‘After Party,’ released on October 23 via Wicked Cool Records.|
Stream the new single “I Like Her A Lot” here: http://orcd.co/ilikeheralot.
Stream the music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieL5YxMIBMk&feature=emb_logo.
Of the track, Kurt says, “A lot of the topics on this record came out of conversations I would have with my co-writer and producer Wyatt Funderburk. I’m sure I said, “I like her a lot” in passing and then was like, “Wait… it’s so simple, but why not make that the title!” I love the line, “Monday night she goes down to Amigos, never afraid to get up and dance,” mostly because of the Amigos name-drop. I’ve talked about this bar in Portland, Maine a lot, but the place really is an important spot in the making of ‘After Party.’ They say it’s a Mexican restaurant, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve never eaten the food there. One of my favorite choruses on the record, Wyatt suggested a few variations of the melody line that really made it pop in the end. This definitely captures our sound during a live show.”
‘After Party’ marks a return to primo Power Pop form under Kurt’s own name, backed by his bangin’ five-piece American band for the first time in five years. The 12-song sonic boom of hooks and melodies hits on the heels of two acclaimed albums with Kurt Baker Combo, his four-piece group based in Madrid, Spain, where the native of Portland, Maine has resided for some years now.
KURT BAKER – AFTER PARTY
Pre-save/Pre-add ‘After Party’ here: https://orcd.co/after-party
Stream the single “Over You” on all digital platforms here:
About Kurt Baker’s ‘After Party’:
What began as raucous noise in a Maine basement is poised to be the soundtrack to many a socially distanced soiree as Kurt Baker gets back to his roots on the rollicking new album ‘After Party.’
“The idea for the Combo was always to be a band that showcased my more Garage/Pub Rock/Punk side, while the U.S. group is firmly rooted in Rock/Pop/Power Pop,” explains Baker. Counting those two albums with the Combo, ‘After Party’ is the artist’s sixth full-length record, in addition to his previous work with Pop/Punk band The Leftovers.
The Combo’s 2018 album ‘Let’s Go Wild!’ was “a high-spirited and thoroughly enjoyable Rock ’n’ Roll record” (Faster And Louder). It built on 2016’s ‘In Orbit,’ which The Big Takeover called “a fast-paced, high-energy ride.” Both LPs saw heavy airplay on Little Steven’s Underground Garage and inspired endless touring in Europe and the U.S. A pair of standalone singles, “Can’t Go Back” and “(I Can’t Help) Failing In Love,” kept the momentum going through 2019.
In the intervening years, the careers of the American band members exploded to the point where this reunion now amounts to a Power Pop supergroup.
Wyatt Funderburk, who produced, engineered and mixed the record, also played guitars and co-wrote all the songs with Kurt during a four-day Maine hang in summer 2019. The pair previously collaborated on songs for many of Kurt’s releases before he relocated to Spain. “The fact that the songs came to us so easily, after such a long time not working together, made me realize how special this collaboration is,” Kurt recalls.
Keyboardist Kris Rodgers is now a successful Wicked Cool recording artist in his own right. The recent single “She Likes To Party” by Kris Rodgers and The Dirty Gems follows up “Every Little Crack,” which Stevie Van Zandt declared the number one Coolest Song Of The Year for 2018. “Kris shines with his vocals on ‘Wandering Eyes’ and piano on ‘A Song And A Drink.’”
Also on guitars is Geoff Palmer, well-known to Underground Garage listeners with his band The Connection, who’ve received Coolest Song honors multiple times. “His guitar playing is just so Geoff and he makes sure you know that.”
Craig Sala, who has played with everyone from John Entwistle to Captain Kangaroo, rounds out the group on drums. “He tracked all the songs in a couple hours – a few in just one take.”
Most of the album was recorded in the basement of Kurt’s parents’ house in Portland last year. Funderburk tracked drums and finishing touches in his Nashville studio. “The best thing about these sessions was when we were all together singing into the same microphone, each of us doing our vocal parts, with Wyatt coaching us like Brian Wilson during a Pet Sounds session,” Kurt recalls.
While rooted in ’60s and ’70s aesthetics, ‘After Party’ does feature ’80s AOR and New Wave sounds on tracks like lead single “Over You.” “If it’s not The Beatles or Beach Boys we’re drawing influences from, then it’s something from the New Wave era. Donnie Iris is huge to us, as well as Boston, Nick Gilder, .38 Special, Tom Petty, New England, Starz and Cheap Trick.”
Follow-up single “I Like Her A Lot” offers a bit of a grinding ’90s rock sound. “When it comes to ’90s music, Wyatt and I really love the Pop/Punk stuff, especially Lookout Records. So Green Day, The Queers, Screeching Weasel, The Mr. T Experience – we grew up on that.”
“Outta Sight” closes the LP in upbeat romantic fashion. “Wandering Eyes” adds an alluring French spoken-word interlude for which Kurt is coy about providing a translation. “It’s nothing too risqué, I promise!”
While the COVID-19 pandemic makes it unlikely that the full five-piece band can play shows as planned, the goal is to tour in both the E.U. and U.S. eventually. A road warrior who has toured with the likes of The Offspring and Tommy Stinson in the past, Baker is always itching to play live.
Kurt rode out the terrifying early months of the pandemic in his Madrid apartment, amidst the epicenter of the first wave in Spain, where restrictions were serious. “Even when I’d go for a five-minute walk to the grocery store, the police would stop me to question what I was doing and what I was going to buy! It was a bit surreal. One thing that saved me during the lockdown was that each day Wyatt would send me a new mix of the record. This kept me positive and excited.”
The latest Wicked Cool release distributed by The Orchard, ‘After Party’ is receiving a full marketing push from the label, whose 2020 slate also featured new music from Jesse Malin, WYLDLIFE, Ryan Hamilton and The Harlequin Ghosts, The Empty Hearts and Jessie Wagner.
Photo: Natacha Bouznad-Villena