Review: Kurt Baker – Brand New B Sides
Kurt Baker is up to more than just his recent collaboration with Brad Marino and Geoffrey Palmer of the Connection (aka The New Trocaderos). The songs on Kurt Baker’s Brand New B Sides are the leftovers from his first LP, those deemed less worthy for release than the tracks chosen, one might suppose. Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s some “B Sides” here that would stand up well against many “A Sides” I’ve heard lately. My only regret with this collection is that Kurt didn’t include 13 songs so that I could call this a “Baker’s dozen”.
Influences are all over the map here and Baker bounces from one style to another effortlessly. If you’re a fan of the stiff-rockabilly side of Baker, you’ll get that too – but there’s oh so much more. The uptempo “Quit Dancing With My Girl” and melodic “Lost in Translation” are familiar territory for Baker fans. “Emma Stone” can only be described as classic powerpop – a catchy, hook-laden and instantly memorable gem. The Romantics will come to mind when hear the opening guitar riff about 15 seconds into this one. If you miss hearing Bachman Turner Overdrive, you’ll get a kick out of “On the Run”. “Think it Over” is a pleasant surprise, a faux-Motown song that, in the words of many an American Bandstander, “as a good beat and you can dance to it”.
There’s a couple of well chosen cover tunes here too. Syl Sylvain’s “What’s That Got To Do With Rock n Roll” and Nick Lowe’s “So It Goes” are right in Baker’s wheelhouse.
All in all, this is a fine collection of songs that deserve more than a B Sides status. This is A material for most any other powerpop act around today.