Kurt Baker is Rockin’ for a Living

Larger than life
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  November 23, 2011

beat1_KurtBaker2_main
LIVIN’ LARGE Kurt Baker.

There's so much more to Kurt Baker than his music. His first album of original music since he broke out on his own from the Leftovers, Rockin' for a Living, has all the same pop sentiment he's known for, repeating choruses and songs so upbeat it's like you're listening on speed.

I think if you really love this stuff, it's because you pine for the same kind of alternative reality that Baker inhabits. Like living inside an issue of Archie Comics. A place where things are black and white. Where two guys vie for the attention of one fabulous gal. Where you get all kinds of punkish and angry on a song like "The Problem," but the worst insults you dish are "shut your mouth" and "your stupid face."

It's unfair to call this music "simple," as there are cool bridges (the whoah, whoah pull back in "Just Forget About It"), great arrangement (the Animals-style organ on "Can't Have Her Back" is delicious), and vocals that are more nuanced than anything Baker has done in the past. The pleasures are simple, though. Guitar and organ solos. Vocal harmonies. Singalongs.

"Kiss Me" is the one cover on the six-song EP (various versions of the vinyl release include bonus tracks by the Queers and the Wonders), penned by one Pat McCurdy, a songwriter from Milwaukee who lays claim to some 600 songs. He's a guy after Baker's heart: "Girl, I'd rather die than live without you/No matter what your parents say."

Baker is so invested in the pop tradition, so enmeshed in the jolt of a simple great song, it's clear he'd rather die than live without this music.

ROCKIN' FOR A LIVING | Released by Kurt Baker | on Oglio Records | with the Pontiffs + the Outfits | at Geno's, in Portland | Nov 25 | kurtbakermusic.com

  Topics: CD Reviews , Kurt Baker, Kurt Baker, Geno’s,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY SAM PFEIFLE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BETTY CODY, 1921-2014  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine music community lost a hidden giant last week with the death of Betty Cody, at 92.
  •   ADVENTURES IN LO-FI  |  July 11, 2014
    One obvious reason for heavy music is catharsis, a healthy release for all the built-up bullshit modern life entails. Like kickboxing class for suburban women, but with lots of black clothing and long hair.
  •   FULL HORNS AHEAD  |  July 03, 2014
    An arrangement of alto and baritone sax, trombone, and trumpet combining to front a band like Mama’s Boomshack grabs your attention so completely. There just aren’t many bands doing that.
  •   TOUGH AND TUMBLE  |  June 25, 2014
    A new album of rough ones from the Toughcats
  •   EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN  |  June 20, 2014
    Perhaps you missed Old Port Fest. As much as that event might be a shit-show of faux-Bourbon Street nonsense, the way Portland effortlessly throws up bands that any tourist would think are riding hits on the radio is impressive as hell.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE