Jay Reatard

Remember the first time you heard the Pixies' classic "Where Is My Mind?" It condensed the euphoria of cutting anchor and sailing into the abyss into a four-minute pop song. Now Jay Reatard (that Memphis garage punker from the Lost Sounds, the Retards, Angry Angles and probably a dozen other bands that played every 20-watt-bulb-and-a-couple-power-strips basement party on the circuit) has set out on a solo excursion to compact that asylum jubilance even further. On Blood Visions, Reatard leaves plenty of carnage in his wake -- lyrics about dead pals, faces turning blue, inner voices with killer instincts, buried romance -- yet he's so flip and quick with the riffs that you can't help but chant along with a Cheshire grin. Blood Visions has all the social conscience of a giggling psychopath, and that irreverent manner sharpens the hooks in every track (including a cover of the Adverts' "We Who Wait"). This record is easily one of my picks for garage punk sprint of the year; Reatard is brief, brash and anything but boring as he flirts with pop, British accents and a bit of post-punk abrasion. Murder can be fun, indeed.

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