November 1, 2012

Making Noise: Baker's power-pop produces a 'Brand New Beat'

Portland's Kurt Baker likes to listen to his new album, with its 10 songs that "could all be singles."

By Aimsel Ponti
News Assistant

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Kurt Baker, a fixture in Portland’s music scene, will take The KB Band to Spain in December for eight shows. But first, a CD-release gig in Portland on Nov. 10.

Courtesy photo

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WHEN: 9 p.m. Nov. 10

WHERE: Empire Dine & Dance, 575 Congress St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $5; 21-plus


WHAT ELSE: The Pontiffs, The New Technicians, The Dee Cracks and Spruce Bringsteen are also on the bill


"Help You Ann," The Lyres

"Exposed," The Dictators

"Stay Away From Downtown," Redd Cross

"School Love," Anvil

"Baby, Baby, Baby," Barreracudas

"It's Only Money," Thin Lizzy

"Make Up Your Mind," Stiv Bators

"Catamaran," Allah-Las

"Gamma Ray," Aimee Mann

"Are You Lovin' Me Too," Del Shannon

TURN YOUR RADIO DIAL to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.

Who are your influences?

Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello for sure. Those guys had the attitude, the style, the sense of melody and lyrical wit. Quite incredible musicians. And I cannot forget Nick Lowe. I got to see Nick Lowe perform twice this year. He's an incredible man.

Besides the pub-rock icons of the late '70s, obviously '60s pop is a big influence on me. Groups like The Hollies, Small Faces, The Sonics, The Turtles and singers like Leslie Gore, Lou Christie and Dusty Springfield. I used to get laughed at for being obsessed with these groups when I was younger. But this kind of stuff was not a phase for me. From the moment I heard it, I knew this was the music for me. Another big influence on "Brand New Beat," though you might not be able to hear it as clearly, are '80s glam-metal acts like Kix and Motley Crue. The first Motley Crue record is amazing. I guess I just like those bands' attitudes when it comes to having fun and partying it up. Grunge rock had its moments, but it certainly killed any emphasis on "fun" in rock 'n' roll music. Sugar Ray kind of brought that back. I love me some Sugar Ray!  

What did you grow up listening to?

I first heard The Beatles when I was 5 years old. I still remember the exact moment when I heard them. It was the "Rubber Soul" album. I pretty much listened to nothing but The Beatles, Beach Boys, Mamas and the Papas and The Turtles from the age of 5 to 12. I did own Shaquille O'Neal's hip-hop tape "Shaq Diesel," but it was mostly because I thought listening to it would improve my skills on the basketball court. This proved to not be true. 

What's one of your favorite all-time albums, and why?

The Beatles' "Rubber Soul," hands down. It was the first album I ever heard, and it was a great place to start. That record has everything. So much has already been written about that record that it makes no sense to reiterate it. All I'll say is, if you don't like The Beatles, don't even bother picking up my new record. 

Where can people get a copy of "Brand New Beat"?

"Brand New Beat" will be available locally at Bull Moose Music. Online, you can buy it from us directly at or Vinyl is available on and, and of course you can grab the album digitally on iTunes (and) Amazon, and hear it on Spotify.

Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:


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