Summer Hits

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Jettisoning the sunbaked lo-fi pop of their previous singles (subsequently compiled on the essential Beaches and Canyons), this four-song 12" recasts the Summer Hits as a tighter, more beat-oriented West Coast groove machine -- case in point "Dirty Bad Flash" is the most f*cked-up funk imaginable (imagine the theme for a blaxploitation movie made on Mars). While still making head music of the highest caliber, Tartarex seems to be courting new muses and consuming new drugs this time out, and to be honest, the effect is jarring -- it takes numerous listens and no small investment of time to wrap your consciousness around music so willfully abstract and alien, and it's hard to let go of the effortlessly melodic pop that once defined their sound, but in the years since its original release it's gotten better and better.