By Tom Reardon, August 2019 Issue.

It’s the dog days

of summer here at the mighty Echo Magazine. One of the great things

about summer hibernation here in Phoenix is the opportunity to listen to

delightful summer jams that make you want to lounge around a pool and sip some

atomic lemonade. Here’s some records that might make your summer even more


Mike Krol – Power Chords

There is something so eminently familiar about the latest Mike Krol

record. It’s got that cool, poppy, fuzzy, guitar-driven yet hook-laden sound

that is perfect for summer. As I listen to “Little Drama,” which is the fourth

track on Krol’s fourth LP, Power Chords, I feel as if I’m riding a

rocket that has just been shot up into the Fourth of July sky. Will I explode

before I cum or will it all be one big sparkly eargasm? The song just drives

its point home so deliciously that I’ll happily light the fuse again and again

(and again and again, just to get four in there one more time). My brain keeps

coming back to “Song 2” by Blur, for some reason, when I listen to Power

Chords. The energy and guitar sound are so similar and Krol, who is

definitely keen on an overdriven guitar tone, does those little hooky things

that Blur does so well. I’ve got to say that “Wasted Memory” is another one

that makes me want to straddle a chaise lounge, drink super-powered vodka

drinks, and appreciate a song that sounds like what The Strokes follow up to

2001’s Is This It should have sounded like. This record is chock full of rad.

Thom Yorke – ANIMA

Is it me or does anyone else get confused when the lead singer of an

iconic band puts out a solo record? As I slide effortlessly into the opening

track of Thom Yorke’s ANIMA, I can’t help but feel that this is a new

Radiohead record. “Traffic” is the name of the track in question and for the

life of me, I can’t tell the difference between this and about a dozen or so

Radiohead songs. I also never noticed that, on occasion, Yorke slightly

channels Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell. To what extent this is good,

I think it scratches an itch that was forged in the late 80s and that makes it

all right. As the album progresses, there is really nothing to dispel the

feeling that this isn’t a new Radiohead record, with possible exception of

Jonny Greenwood’s exceptional lead guitar work that would be there if it were.

Now, before you go getting ready to send me out on the deck without any sunscreen,

this is not a bad record … it’s just not what I was expecting. It’s kind of

like going to the beach and getting sand everywhere. You know it’s going to

happen, but you don’t really care. ANIMA is like the sand. You won’t

mind bringing it home with you, but once you wash it off, you won’t think about

it until the next time you hit the waves. This record is “Perfect for someone

who has never heard Radiohead but would love them.”

*Writer’s note — This one is more of a recommendation than a review:

Peggy Lee – The Best Of Miss Peggy Lee

Nothing says (or sings, I should say) summer better than Peggy Lee.

Fuck the Beach Boys, Peggy Lee is the true goddess of summer. For those of you

aren’t hip to Peggy, pick up a copy of The Best Of Miss Peggy Lee, fill

up your flotation device, and float away on the most underrated voice in pop

music history. The second track, “I Don’t Know Enough About You,” is maybe the

best song ever written. Dave Barbour wrote the music and Miss Lee herself wrote

the lyrics and it has been covered by a number of people, including Diana

Krall. The original, though, is sublime and it will make you feel cooler in

more ways than one. “I know a little bit about biology, and a little more about

psychology, I’m a little gem in geology, but I don’t know enough about you” are

some of the most fun lyrics ever, and that’s just one track off this crazy cool

record. Another summer fun and frolic song, “It’s A Good Day,” will have you

tapping your toes, but it doesn’t stop there. “Fever” and “Golden Earrings” are

also on this one, as is “I’m A Woman.” Peggy Lee was a woman, that’s for sure,

and this record rules.

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

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The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

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