Tag Archives: Jay Reatard

The Year. 20-16


20. Port O’Brien – Threadbare [US]
In 2008, Port O’Brien made an album that started with a thunderous, celebratory rumpus. This one starts with solemn humming. Why? Well, if you need some biography to help your music go down, it’s because Cambria Goodwin’s younger brother died in the interim. The album is indelibly imprinted with the mark of that death, devoid of the joie de vivre of All We Could Do Was Sing, but full of frail vulnerability. It meanders along, like a solitary walk on a funeral weekend, flitting in and out of immediate consciousness. Hard to see how they will follow this, but it’s a captivating document.

Interviewed Cambria Goodwin and Van Pierszalowski in Analogue in 2008.


19. BATS – Red In Tooth and Claw [IRL]
Eventually, in music, technology gets subsumed into the general pool of things you can sing about. While we may still be disappointingly waiting for a body of work about loitering on Facebook 14 hours a day, we have reached the point where the Large Hadron Collider has entered currency. So we get BATS, writing precision post-hardcore about girls looking beautiful in the “ray light”, and having to meet and greet to get further funding for research projects. Maybe you’d prefer not to invite them to dinner parties, then, but this is progressive, danceable in a Blood Brothers kind of way, and unfailingly novel.

There’s a BATS Interview Project, and also an excellent video for Shadow Fucking.


18. Jay Reatard – Watch Me Fall [US]
You have to presume that Jay Reatard probably just knocks out short, melodic punk songs without regard for reception or legacy. If not, then this is the successor to Blood Visions, an all-time great, and should be judged as such. The best fast songs (e.g. It Ain’t Gonna Save Me) would easily stand up on the predecessor, but as a whole, Watch Me Fall follows on from the 2008 Matador singles, with keyboards, acoustic guitars and non-breakneck tempos setting up permanent camp. If “I’m watching you and all the things you do” is Jay’s idea of slowing it down, however, there’s no need to worry about him going soft.

Jay with his old, fatter band that left him, and his Twitter, the first stop for keeping up with who he’s feuding with.


17. The XX – xx [ENG]
Not so much a tundra as a frosty cityscape. While it’s sometimes hard to tell how even members of the XX know which song they’re playing at a given time, the overall effect of the album’s whispered minimality means that it doesn’t matter. This is an album for being melancholy to. Not drenched in reverb, a la J+MC, but iced in it, this is what you resort to when you couldn’t walk it off, and you couldn’t pretend like you didn’t care. It also boasts probably the best song called “Intro” since people began thinking structurally about albums. Teenage simplicity is sometimes required to express things that are teenage in their simplicity.

Totally Dublin interviewed the XX at Electric Picnic, but more importantly Carles thinks they are chill.


16. Future of the Left – Travels With Myself and Another [WAL]
Hey, guess what? It’s Falco, so it’s fucking loud and uniquely sardonic. With energy and aggression at levels that Fight Like Apes would probably sacrifice their parents to be able to mine, Future of the Left carry on the Mclusky legacy of cruiseship-sized guitars playing furious, melodic punk while Andy Falkous bemoans and/or satirises a wide variety topics. Like what? Well, “if we arm Eritrea, then we wouldn’t have to pay her, and everyone can go home”, on the geopolitical protest level. Or, on a more zoomed-in scale, “hidden in the mess of letters lies the awful truth, that Emma’s mom and dad use plastic forks”. A pressure-cooker of self-aware ire at the state of the species.

I’ve never seen these live but it seems like a great idea. Also, when they say “Hi, we’re Snow Patrol”, that’s not pre-planned.

Time may heal wounds, but I will kill you.

“Late again, Karl. Well, at least you showed up today. Did you take a wrong turn or something?”

I’ve been late with everything lately since I took a six day chunk out of my life to go visit my friend’s floor and drink the whole world in Vienna last week. This Jay Reatard review, for example, is a full week late. But then again, unlike the two-hour Medieval Dublin class I keep missing on Thursday mornings, I pretty much set my own deadlines here, so I’m going to let myself off with a warning.

There’s also the fact that I was standing beside someone who already reviewed the gig elsewhere. Briefly though, here’s what I thought.

It was great. If you’re a sneering hipster, incapable of motion during a punk gig, Jay Reatard will kick you in the face. If you decide to suck it up and stand front centre, singing along and getting into it as much as you can, Jay Reatard is going to respond to that. It’s punk music. It’s about an exchange of energy between the band and the crowd, and the accident of Jay Reatard P4K-approval doesn’t change that.

“GOODCROWDTONIGHT, FEELNPRETTYPUMPED”

Jay doesn’t do banter. He shouts the names of songs while the noise of the previous song is still hanging around, and then he plays those songs with breakneck energy, with his new replacement Scandanavian backing band.

And Blood Visions is one of the best albums of the last decade. And the Singles are great, and his new album is pretty good too. Songs like Blood Visions, It’s So Easy, It Ain’t Gonna Save Me, My Shadow, See Saw, Trapped Here… they’re vitriolic, they’re fast, they’re catchy and they’re brilliant.

It’s straight up, three-piece, sped-up versions of great songs. There’s nothing more you could possibly ask for.

+++

The Year. Interlude 1: Compilation

((Some things didn’t fit into my conception of this list. Compilations, EPs, other… surprises. So I’m bringing in the big-hitters to help me out. First in a series of linking guest-posts is Darragh McCausland, of Analogue, State, Asleep On The Compost Heap and his kitchen.))

Jay Reatard – Matador Singles ’08
MatadorSo Karl is delegating out the artists who he doesn’t think fit the criteria for his albums of the year list. I don’t know whether to admire or worry about such fastidiousness. Any frozen heads in your fridge Karl? We shouldn’t give a fuck that Jay Reatard’s singles collection is not technically an album because

A: it sounds like one (a brilliantly coherent one too)

B: Jay certainly wouldn’t give a fuck either

For what it’s worth, the music on this collection of singles isn’t futuristic, world-changing or anything like that. It’s just a bunch of reatardedly awesome pop/punk tunes, which doesn’t for one second dip in quality, tempo or attitude. Jay is a rare creature in the current rock landscape, an old school songsmith who just gets on with the business of churning out these thrilling songs, hopefully oblivious to the hurricane of hype building around him.

((Watch this snivelling interview with Nitsuh Abebe and then watch the blistering live set, all on Pitchfork.tv.))