A long-time champion of guitar-driven rock ‘n roll, Kurt Deemer responds to the modern moment with his newest album, World Upside Down, out March 5.
Recorded during the COVID-19 era, World Upside Down is an album about resolve, resilience, and relationships, laced with power-pop hooks and the anthemic songwriting of a frontman who’s been sharpening his craft for more than two decades.
New Noise Magazine is proud to premiere Kurt Deemer’s latest single, a cover of Lloyd Cole’s classic number, “From the Hip,” below:
Rather than write exclusively about the forces that drive us apart, Deemer also wrote about the experiences that bind us together, turning tracks like “Real Deal” and the heartland rock anthem “Rain” into amplified love songs. Inspired by his own ongoing recovery from addiction, he turned “From the Hip” into a rallying cry for those fighting their own daily battles.
The result is an album that nods to those who came before him—including fellow melody-driven rockers like Tom Petty, Neil Young, and the Replacements—while exploring new sonic territory by turning Deemer’s classic influences into something singular.
On his rendition of “From the Hip,” Deemer states:
“Lloyd Cole has long been a major influence on my songwriting. His third album with the Commotions, Mainstream, especially had a lasting impact on me; and to this day, that record instantly transports me to a time when I was in early recovery and had a lot of reckoning to do, looking back on the damage I’d done to my life abusing alcohol from a very early age.
I knew I wanted to finally do a cover of either ‘Mister Malcontent’ or ‘From the Hip’. ‘From the Hip’ won out. When I sing the words, I experience the perennial sensitivity I feel, trying to analyze a world gone mad while simultaneously trying to sort out and exteriorize inner turmoil. In ‘From the Hip’ when Lloyd says ‘I don’t care anymore, I’m sick and I’m tired, why should I know why it’s a wicked world’ it seems to me he’s trying to throw in the towel on having all the answers. When I sing that, I feel a sense of relief.
At some point I just need to do me and let all the things beyond my control sort themselves out. That’s a really important narrative for me to focus on right now because there’s no shortage of things to worry about. As a songwriter who is given to asking big questions, it helps to check my head and make sure it’s in the same universe as where my feet are.
This narrative about ‘why should I know why it’s a wicked world’ seemed right for this record and right for this time even though The Commotions first put it out in the late eighties. Some things never change, and as unique and disturbing and ‘upside down’ as things seem to be, there’s no time like the present for remembering our finite role in it all and to make the most of the things we can.
I spoke to Lloyd after a show of his in DC a while back and told him I wanted to do a cover of the tune. He said he was glad about that because it had fallen out of his repertoire, completely. And I saw him post that he thought of the song as not lending itself to being a strong acoustic number and that it didn’t hold up well without a lot of studio production. I did do a bit of production on the song but nothing over the top. I wanted the song to feel a bit bare and a bit raw. Basically, I want to prove him wrong. I think it’s a great song at its core.”
Created during a time of global instability, World Upside Down chooses hope in the face of hopelessness, Love in the face of loss. Focused rock & roll in the face of noisy cacophony.
Pre-order and stream World Upside Down here.