Talk about chutzpah: First, the Ataris
covered Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer" on a nostalgia-drenched breakthrough, 2003's So Long, Astoria
. Then frontman Kris Roe and guitarist John Collura, the only two members to survive the pop-punk band's 2004 implosion, broke with Columbia Records and established their own Isola Recordings. Not surprisingly, today's version of the Ataris now an alt-indie quintet that calls New York home is experiencing some undeniable growing pains. But the band's wholehearted embrace of the DIY revolution exposes its true, unshakeable punk roots even if this year's Welcome the Night
leaves behind all traces of SoCal sunniness for moody atmospherics, sober introspection and (as the name implies) pitch-black lyrics.