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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 Reatards, 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 a pick 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 postpunk abrasion. Murder can be fun, indeed.


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