Up-And-Coming Pop/R&B Singer Shines In Phil’s Picks 2020 Top New Independent Albums List

Courtesy: Wicked Cool Records

The independent music community is the backbone of the music business in whole.  Today’s struggling, independent act is tomorrow’s mainstream star.  Every major superstar act that travels the world today and has legions around the globe was at one time independent.  To that end, independent albums deserve just as much attention from critics as their more well-known counterparts.  That is why this critic continues presenting a list of the year’s best new independent albums each year, this year being no exception to that rule.

This year’s list features albums from a wide range of musical genres.  There’s some country/bluegrass.  There’s pop, there’s rock and even some neo-folk/Americana.  Topping this year’s list is up-and-coming pop/R&B singer Jessie Wagner and her debut album Shoes Droppin’.  Independent southern rock band Faith & Scars is also featured in this year’s list, which includes albums not just from unsigned bands, but from those signed to independent labels, too.  Pop rock act Kulick is even in this year’s list with his new album Yelling in a Quiet Neighborhood.

As with every past year’s list, this year’s list features the Top 10 albums and give honorable mentions for a total of 15 albums.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Independent albums. 

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW INDEPENDENT ALBUMS

  1. Jessie Wagner – Shoes Droppin’
  2. Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves – Sun Via
  3. Ryan Hamilton & The Harlequin Ghosts – Nowhere To Go But Everywhere
  4. Discrepancies – The Rise
  5. Kulick – Yelling in a Quiet Neighborhood
  6. The Devonns – The Devonns
  7. Kurt Baker – After Party
  8. The Tibbs – Another Shot Fired
  9. Faith & Scars – Revolver
  10. Jack The Radio – Creatures
  11. Soraia – Dig Your Roots
  12. Wyldlife – Year of the Snake
  13. Julien K – Harmonic Disruptor
  14. Gab De La Vega – Between Space and Time
  15. Record Thieves  — Wasting Time

Next up from Phil’s Picks is the list of this year’s top new Family Music albums.  Stay tuned for that.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Audiences Will “Celebrate” Kurt Baker’s Latest LP

Courtesy: Wicked Cool records

Independent pop rock artist Kurt Baker is scheduled to release his latest album After Party Friday.  The 12-song record is, like his label mate Jessie Wagner’s new album Shoes Droppin’, another surprisingly enjoyable musical diamond in the rough in the year’s field of new albums.  The four singles that the album has already turned out more than prove the noted statement true.  They are but a snapshot of what makes After Party so enjoyable.  ‘Used To Think,’ which comes late in the album’s run, shows in its own way what makes the album so engaging and entertaining.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Should’ve Been The One,’ the 36-minute record’s penultimate entry, does its own share to show what makes the album stand out.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Waiting For You,’ which comes a little earlier in the album, is another notable addition to the record.  When it is considered along with the other two songs noted here, the album’s singles and the rest of its entries, the whole of After Party proves itself to be a presentation whose arrival listeners will happily celebrate.

Kurt Baker’s new solo album After Party is a wonderful new offering from the independent singer-songwriter.  It is a work that will appeal to a wide range of listeners with its musical and lyrical content alike.  The singles that the record has produced leave no doubt about that.  They are just a portion of what makes the album so enjoyable, too.  It boasts plenty of entertaining and engaging songs other than the noted entries, not the least of which is the song ‘Used To Think.’  The musical arrangement featured in this song is a unique presentation in itself.  It mixes elements of music from the 1980s and 50s for its whole.  The 1950s style sound is more evident in the choruses, with the simple, infectious calls of “ooh-ah, baby” while the more 80s pop rock style sounds are more commonplace in the verses.  The pairing of the sounds does not seem like it would work on paper, but in hearing them together here, they make for such a fun song.  When they join with the song’s lyrical theme, which comes across as Baker looking back on life and learning from his experiences, but doing so with a positive mindset, the song becomes even more accessible and enjoyable for audiences.

The noted lyrical topic is inferred right from the song’s lead verse, in which Baker sings, “I used to think that I wanted money/I used to think that I wanted fame/And looking back/Though it may seem funny/I used to think that was just a game/I used to think/That maybe one day/You might get up and go/I used to think/But now I know.”  The noted theme is continued in the song’s second verse as he sings, “I spent a lot of money on used records/I spent a lot of money on cheap beer/But in the end I got no regrets ‘cause/All that spending got me right to here/I used to think/That maybe one day/I would reap what I sow/I used to think/But now I know.”  He adds in the song’s third verse, “I realize that things are more important/I realize that things are black and white/To understand just how this world works/You’ve got to be in it for the fight/I used to think…”  that last refrain is tough to decipher. That is a minor issue.  Looking at the bigger picture of the lyrical content, it delivers a relatively positive message of someone who has learned some valuable life lessons and grown as a person as a result of those lessons.  That is, as always, just this critic’s own interpretation.  Hopefully it is close to being a correct interpretation.  Regardless, that it is not just another typical song about relationships and that it couples with an equally accessible musical arrangement, makes it that much more enjoyable for audiences.  It is just one of the works that shines so brightly in this presentation.  ‘Should’ve Been The One’ is another enjoyable entry in the record’s overall presentation.

‘Should’ve Been The One’ is another of those songs that mixes influences of the 1950s and 1980s.  What is important to note here is that it is unique from the album’s other entries. In this case, the song’s musical base takes elements of 1950s doo-wop a la The Skyliners, The Everly Brothers, and Ritchie Valens and crosses that with the synth-pop sounds that were so popular during the 1980s.  The hybrid approach makes the song a surprisingly appealing composition that holds its own alongside the album’s other arrangements.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out, too.  The song’s familiar lyrical theme of a relationship adds to its appeal.

The noted theme is presented right from the song’s outset as Baker sings, “I found a true love/But I threw it away/She gave me all the lovin’/Day after day/But I was getting careless/I was foolin’ around/And I shoulda known that you would find out/Always act suspicious when I came home late/I told you I was working/And you took the bait/Rumors have a funny way of making their rounds/But the truth came out/And you found out/I know I let you down/Should’ve been the one to tell you/I should’ve been the one to say/Should’ve been the one to let you know…I can’t change my ways/Should’ve been the one to say.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “We were having our share of sleepless nights/Every disagreement/Turned into a fight/She came out of nowhere/There was nothing I could do/She makes me feel the same way I did when I met you.”  Even lyrically this song harkens back to the 1950s, as it is a song sung from the male perspective, knowing that he has done wrong, and he is basically showing his remorse to the woman he wronged.  This, and the song’s catchy musical arrangement, pair up to make the song that much more unique and interesting.  It is just one more way in which Baker’s latest offering proves to be such a surprisingly enjoyable work.  ‘Waiting For You’ is yet another way in which the album exhibits its appeal.

‘Waiting For You’ is unique in that while it does present its own 1950s sensibility, one could also argue a more modern influence a la Jack Johnson.  That is presented through the simple piano riff and guitar line.  Baker’s vocal performance is the main point at which the 1950s influence shows through.  In this case, it conjures thoughts of Buddy Holly.  That in itself is enough to generate plenty of appeal.  When that element is coupled with the equally familiar modern pop rock influence that is spread across Baker’s record, the song becomes even more enjoyable.  Add in the familiar relationship-based lyrical content and audiences get an even more pleasant presentation.

The lyrical presentation featured here comes across as that of a man who is completely devoted to a woman.  That is inferred as Baker sings in the song’s lead verse, “You were shining bright/On a warm summer night/And I was waiting for you/People smiled at me/’Cause I bet they could see/I was waiting for you/It was something real girl/How you made me feel, girl/And I always hoped you would feel it, too/Well we lost it all, girl/Sometime in the fall, girl/And I’m still in love with you.”  One need not really much deeper than this, as the rest of the song follows in similar fashion.  Though Baker does ask in the second verse, “What else can I do girl/It’s all up to you girl/Did you start a love affair with someone new?” as he tells the woman “I’m still in love with you.”  This is a man who is head over heels for a woman, point blank.  Again, this lyrical theme itself even throws back to another time.  When this is considered along with the song’s equally enjoyable musical arrangement, the song in whole becomes yet another truly high point of After Party.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here, the album’s singles and the rest of the album’s entries, the record in whole becomes a presentation overall that is a wonderful work that any listener will celebrate.

Kurt Baker’s new album After Party is a surprisingly enjoyable offering from the independent singer-songwriter.  Its musical and lyrical content alike more than prove that true.  That is proven through the songs noted here and through the record’s singles, as well as its other works.  All things considered, they make the album its own party for listeners ears that audiences will find themselves celebrating.  It is scheduled for release Friday through Wicked Cool Records.

More information on Kurt Baker’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.kurtbaker.me

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/KurtBakerMusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Kurtmiltonbaker

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Kurt Baker Debuts New Single, ‘Outta Sight,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Wicked Cool records

Kurt Baker debuted another single from his new album last week.

Baker debuted his new single ‘Outta Sight‘ and its companion video Thursday. The song is the third single from Baker’s forthcoming album After Party, which is scheduled for release Friday through Wicked Cool Records. Its debut follows that of the album’s other singles, ‘Over You‘ and ‘I Like Her A Lot.’

The video features footage of Baker sightseeing around what looks like the American Southwest in a variety of locations as the song plays over the pixelated footage.

The musical arrangement featured in lends itself to comparisons to works from Elvis Costello, and according to Baker himself, to another far lesser known act.

“The main influence on this track is the band Single Bullet Theory,” he said. “They had one record in the early ’80s and are mostly unheard of, but Wyatt (Funderbunk, who produced and mixed After Party) and I love them. Wyatt actually found two vintage Single Bullet Theory T-shirts on eBay and picked them up for us. When they came in the mail we sat down and wrote this song off of an idea I had for the chorus. We wanted to build up each chorus so that by the very end it was really big. I think it’s the perfect closer to the record.”

More information on Kurt Baker’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.kurtbaker.me

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/KurtBakerMusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Kurtmiltonbaker

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Mylars Debuts ‘Satellite Girls’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

The Mylars debuted the video for its new single this week.

The band debuted its new single ‘Satellite Girls‘ Friday. The single is the band’s first new music since it released its debut self-titled album in 2017. The video takes a minimalist approach, placing the song’s lyrics over a plain, black background as each verse and chorus progresses.

The musical arrangement featured in the band’s new song will take listeners back to the 1980s with its catchy harmonies. The infectious groove created by the group lends itself to comparisons to works from fellow rocker Kurt Baker.

According to front man Danny Roselle, the song’s lyrical content is a commentary of sorts.

“Satellite Girls is our modern day autobiographical, somewhat comical take on how technology has completely desensitized and taken the heart right out of the experience of enjoying the feelings of surprise and excitement,” he said. “Today, everyone knows the setlist;, everyone knows the special effects; everyone knows the show….Being on stage and staring out at a room full of cell phones gives us a front row seat into the absurdity of it all. Put the phone down, sing along and have a great time. People will believe you were there!”

Audiences who pre-save ‘Satellite Girls’ can get a chance to have a zoom meeting with the members of The Mylars. The song is available to stream and download here.

More information on The Mylars’ new video is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.themylars.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.comthemylars

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/TheMylars

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Kurt Baker Debuts New Single, ‘I Like Her A Lot’

Courtesy: Wicked Cool records

Independent singer-songwriter Kurt Baker debuted his latest single this week.

Baker debuted his new single ‘I Like Her A Lot‘ and its companion video Thursday. The song and its video are the second from Baker’s forthcoming album After Party, which is scheduled for release Oct. 23 through Wicked Cool Records. Baker debuted the album’s lead single ‘Over You‘ Sept. 3 and its video Sept. 15.

The video spoofs the 1980s rock music and movie culture with scenes playing out in a music studio and stage. The outfits are full-on 1980s apparel, and so is the over the top cheesy alien who makes an appearance in the video.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘I Like Her A Lot’ features a sound that bridges the pop rock sounds of the late 80s and early 90s while its lyrical content is simple and accessible, according to a statement from Baker.

“A lot of the topics on this record came out of conversations I would have with my co-writer and producer Wyatt Funderburk,” he said. “I’m sure I said, “I like her a lot” in passing and then was like, “Wait…it’s so simple, but why not make that the title!” I love the line “Monday night she goes down to Amigos, never afraid to get up and dance,” mostly because of the Amigos name-drop. I’ve talked about this bar in Portland, Maine a lot, but the place really is an important spot in the making of After Party. They say it’s a Mexican restaurant but to be perfectly honest, I’ve never eaten the food there. One of my favorite choruses on the record, Wyatt suggested a few variations of the melody line that really made it pop in the end. This definitely captures our sound during a live show.”

‘I Like Her A Lot’ is available to stream and download here. Pre-saves/Pre-adds for After Party are open.

More information on Kurt Baker’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

Websitehttp://www.kurtbaker.me

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/KurtBakerMusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Kurtmiltonbaker

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Kurt Baker Debuts ‘Over You’ Video

Courtesy: Wicked Cool records

Independent singer-songwriter Kurt Baker debuted the video for his latest single this week.

Baker debuted the video for his single ‘Over You‘ Monday.  The video features Baker performing his new single on what is meant to look like a TV studio presentation of days long gone.  Meanwhile a woman talks to a man on a phone.

The phone conversation scenes were explained by Baker in a recent interview with American Songwriter about the video’s creation.

“The first single and video from my new album is the track ‘Over You’, and I’m really excited about how it came out,” he said. “I worked with a very talented director here in Madrid named Trash Diamond, who is well known for his great visual aesthetic, which in this case fits the song perfectly. It’s a vintage 1980’s telethon that reaches chaotic proportions when an anti-rock n’ roller wants to see it all go haywire. Big rock n roll riffs with lots of explosions! Woohoo!”

Baker debuted ‘Over You‘ by itself Sept. 3. The song is featured in Baker’s forthcoming album After Party, which is scheduled for release Oct. 23 through Wicked Cool Records.  Pre-saves/Pre-adds for After Party are open.

The song’s poppy musical arrangement features a distinct 80s rock influence that lends itself to comparisons to songs from the J. Geils Band and other similar acts.  That is evidenced through Baker’s vocal performance, the song’s guitar work and the use of the keyboards. The song’s lyrical theme centers on the oft-used topic of relationships.  That along with the song’s infectious musical arrangement makes the song accessible to a wide range of listeners.

More information on Kurt Baker’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.kurtbaker.me

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/KurtBakerMusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Kurtmiltonbaker

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Kurt Baker Debuts New Single, ‘After Party’; New LP Scheduled For Release Next Month

Courtesy: Wicked Cool records

Independent singer-songwriter Kurt Baker debuted his latest single this week.

Baker debuted his new single ‘Over You‘ Thursday.  The song is featured in Baker’s forthcoming album After Party, which is scheduled for release Oct. 23 through Wicked Cool Records.

The song’s poppy musical arrangement features a distinct 80s rock influence that lends itself to comparisons to songs from the J. Geils Band and other similar acts.  That is evidenced through Baker’s vocal performance, the song’s guitar work and the use of the keyboards. The song’s lyrical theme centers on the oft-used topic of relationships.  That along with the song’s infectious musical arrangement makes the song accessible to a wide range of listeners.

Pre-saves/Pre-adds for After Party are open.

More information on Kurt Baker’s new single and album is available along with all of his latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.kurtbaker.me

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KurtBakerMusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Kurtmiltonbaker

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.