The Kurt Baker Combo and The Lowlands

Kurt Baker Combo

The Kurt Baker Combo “Muy Mola Live!”

Other than the New Trocaderos, singer Kurt Baker offers up a smokin’ live album recorded at Salty Peet’s Rock Shack in Kenosha, WI in June of 2014. He has some of album faves like “Weekend Girls”, “Partied Out”, “Everybody Knows”, and “Don’t Go Falling In Love.” In addition the band covers some 60’s classics like “Love Potion No. 9” (Searchers), “Cry For A Carajillo” (Beatles), and “Don’t Look Back” (The Remains). Since Baker has moved off to Spain, we miss him here and this is likely the closest you can get to a Kurt Baker concert now. And if you order from Kool Kat Musik, you’ll get a bonus track: a cover of “Nothing But A Heartache” (Mainstream).
power pop

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The Lowlands “The Whale”

If you like beautiful indie rock arrangements then let me direct you to Seattle’s The Lowlands. Led by songwriter Tom Rorem with a deceptive soulful calm bubbling under the surface storm of piano keys on “Passionate Soul”. I’m reminded of Seth Timbs band, Fluid Ounces or Ben Folds with a lot less sarcasm. Lots of details fill out the story of “Captain,” about a doomed airliner and the meaning of life, using a jaunty piano meter and rich harmonies. It ends with a superb guitar and piano combo, and you’ll find many songs here just rock out in the last half, as “Dust” is another example.

“Hands and Feet” is another example of rich infectious melody that’s impossible to ignore. While not every song is classic, the skill and musicianship here keep these songs from getting predictable. Rorem’s clear vocal is compelling, even on the dry title track. Overall, this short album does just enough to add it to my recommended list.
power pop