Release Date: May 17, 2011
Record label: Goner Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Garage Punk, Indie Rock, Punk Revival
The world of music is still suffering, by and large, from the loss of Jay Reatard. His death created an exodus of the kind of candid punk spirit which is falsely traded in malls across the shallow suburban landscape. Jay’s aesthetic was pure inner-city; he took no survivors and refused to tread water. This was evidenced in his consistent, and consistently pleasing, artistic output.
"Guitar, screaming, and pounding." That's how Jimmy "Jay" Lindsey credited himself in the liner notes of his first proper LP, 1998's Teenage Hate. He also billed himself as Jay Reatard, the pseudonym he would use on a staggering number of recordings until his death early last year. According to a transcript included with this deluxe reissue of Teenage Hate, Reatard was a name taken on one night not long before the material was recorded, during a live set comprised of Bay City Rollers covers.
Teenage Hate may well be the greatest title ever for a punk rock album, and the Reatards' first full-length release (after a few EPs and cassettes) fully lives up to its handle: it's a raw, powerful blast of stripped-down rock & roll that howls long and hard well after the neighbors have threatened to call the police. The Reatards were Jay Reatard's first band to make a noticeable impact, and it's not hard to understand why; the lo-fi audio on Teenage Hate seems to be perpetually in the red zone (the liner notes claim it was recorded at Tape Hiss Is Good Studios), and the trio (Jay on guitar and vocals, Steve Albundy Reatard on guitar and backing vocals, and Elvis Wong Reatard on drums) threatens to explode into three different directions at any given moment, but the band has more energy than a case of Red Bull, and this music confirms that even at his scruffiest, Jay Reatard was a talent to reckon with. His guitar work throws surprisingly agile blues and rockabilly figures into his walls of string-busting downstroke, and the songs here may be simple, but they're memorable, with actual hooks and bellow-along choruses to go with the heavyweight crash of the guitars, drums, and feral vocals (though his over the top phrasing makes "Not Your Man" sound like "Nacho Man"; maybe he was fishing for an endorsement deal with Taco Bell?).
2009 was a banner year for Jay Reatard. He released his second studio album (and first for Matador Records), Watch Me Fall, to stellar reviews. He toured the world over, including high profile opening gigs for the Pixies. He seemed to be primed for his big breakout. Then, suddenly, he died in his ….