September 19, 2020

The Ataris – Blue Skies, Broken Hearts, Next 12 Exits–Kung Fu

By Kristi Kates | Feb. 2, 2019

Also in the revamp department this week is this limited-edition blue vinyl release of the Ataris’ landmark sophomore album. The Indiana punkers, who initially conquered the charts with their hit cover of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer,” remind fans what their best is made of: a blend radio-ready power-rock hooks (“Losing Streak,” “Better Way”) with catchy, stripped-down acoustic reboots (“My Hotel Year”) and outright punk anthems (“Angry Nerd Rock.”) ** ½

Echobelly – On– MOV
The revamped edition of this U.K. No. 4 chart achiever is a great introduction to the band, who is frequently compared to the likes of The Breeders or Lush for its mix of grungy, guitar-based instrumental backgrounds and space-drone vocals. Opener “Car Fiction,” the slick drive of “Something Hot in a Cold Country,” and the futuristic “Great Things” maintain the band’s glam-punk feel, while the alternate vocal lines on “Go Away” add to the song’s in-your-face feel. **

Lupe Fiasco –Drogas Wave – 1st and 15th Prod.
At two dozen tracks and nearly two hours of music, Drogas Wave, the follow-up to Fiasco’s major label effort Drogas Light, finds the artist free from that label’s obligations and better poised to do some audio experimenting. The venting is real here; many of the tracks deal with the artist feeling trapped in his corporate record deal. Now unshackled, he drops out songs like the expansive “Mural Jr.,” the retro-sprinkled “Hip-Hop Saved My Life,” and the equally nostalgic “Stack That Cheese,” an audio trip back through Fiasco’s own career. ***

Sam Phillips – World on Sticks – Littlebox
If you’ve watched any of the award-winning Amazon Prime streaming series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, you’ve probably heard Phillips’ voice already. Her calm, only occasionally barbed vocals are layered lightly over spare folk-pop arrangements that blend in strings and percussion suites on tracks like the dark nightclub-esque “American Landfill Strings,” the almost-country “Roll ‘Em,” and the pop-inflected title track. ** 


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