Kurt Baker Combo “In Orbit”
Baker’s back with a new band; the Kurt Baker Combo (who Kurt formed during a tour in Spain) is Juancho Lopez on bass guitar, Jorge Colldan on guitar and backing vocals, and Sam Malakiam on drums. They signed up with Little Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records and we’ve got liftoff.
In many ways it the same Kurt we know and love, the combo of power pop and pub rock on “Upside Down” and “Baby’s Gone Bad” are gems on par with past work. The energy level is still high, on the ’50s rhythm of “Rusty Nail” and bar room blues rock of “Count On Me.” A Cheap Trick-like riff sets up ”All For You,” and the refreshing Rickenbacker chords on “Ugly Way To Be” make both tunes a highlight. A cover of Devo’s ”Jerkin Back ‘N’ Forth” is also a nice change of pace. As with most of Kurt’s music it is highly recommended.
Tommy Sistak “A Good Hat Indeed”
A Good Hat Indeed is the follow up to the first album from Tommy Sistak, Short Songs. The same tradition of early Beatlesque melodies continues with the opener “Not About You,” with a driving riff opening up the multi-tracked harmonies. While its faithful to the source, the chorus of “Its There For You” is a catchy gem that would’ve hit big on AM radio playlists back in the mid ’60s.
The fab “You Can Have Your Way With Me” and “A Better Time” will appeal to Beatle fans, but I’m glad Tommy does vary the style slightly through the album. “If I Only Knew” is a charmer in the skiffle-beat tradition with ukulele and the washboard as primary instruments. “Sure Like Your Love” is a mid tempo ballad that keeps the mood upbeat, and overall while not every melody here hooks you there are enough gems to keep you satisfied.