Jay’s Greatest Hits?

Clearly, Jay Reatard never had any “hits,” but he had numerous memorable songs and fan favorites alike. The concept of a “Best Of” or “Greatest Hits” for Jay seems a bit odd to me, but in light of the fact that Shattered Records will be releasing one soon, I decided to make my own playlist, entitled “Best of Jay.” At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go the route of his most popular songs, which is hard to measure, or simply my favorites. Ultimately I went with the latter. Enjoy! I highly recommend looking them up.

1) See/Saw (Matador Singles ’08)
2) No Time (MS08)
3) Haunting You aka “Fading All Away”- falsely listed as “Searching For You” (Singles ’06-’07)
4) I Know A Place (S0607)
5) An Ugly Death (MS08)
6) Nightmares (Blood Visions)
7) Screaming Hand (MS08)
8) I’m Watching You (MS08)
9) Oh It’s Such a Shame (BV)
10) Feeling Blank Again (S0607)
11) My Shadow (BV)
12) Hammer I Miss You (S0607)
13) Rotten Mind (Watch Me Fall)
14) It’s So Easy (BV)

I think I’ll take Glen’s tip and limit it to fourteen tracks. What do Reatard fans think? What would be your best of?

Best of Jay: Blood Visions Review



Artist
: Jay Reatard
Title: Blood Visions
Label: In the Red
Year: 2006

1) Blood Visions- 9.5- Perfect opener: loud, fast, simple catchy, a great foreshadow to everything else Jay would later do on this album and beyond.

2) Greed, Money, Useless Children- 9.2- Quick, little catchy number. Employs the classic Reatard pop technique of slowing down the guitars and drums and simply shouting one line repeatedly, in this case- “Greed, Money, Useless Children.” It is clearly effective and we see this over and over again.

3) It’s So Easy- 9.7- Lyrically this is classic Reatard. Apathetic… to the point of not caring when your friends die haha.

4) My Shadow- 10! Arguably the band’s greatest offering (actually “See/Saw” is my favorite!) or at least a major fan favorite. And it’s not hard to see why. The song begins with simple and slow, but menacing guitars then erupts into a heavy motherfucker with Reatard hollering MY SHADOW at the top of his lungs! The best track on this album by far.

5) My Family- 9.2- Funky guitars, spooky/disturbing lyrics, it works for me! Displays Jay’s bizarre interaction with the other humans or “assholes” haha in his life. This theme continues on this album and throughout his current discography.

6) Death Is Forming- 9.0- The classic Reatard technique is exemplified on this track. See #2 I dig how he evolves “Death is Forming” into “Forming Death” haha.

7) Oh It’s Such A Shame- 8.5- Decent, nothing wrong with it, but for some reason, just doesn’t stand out.

8) Not A Substitute- 8.8- Another typical Reatard track…. actually a bit shorter, but it works here.

9) Nightmares- 9.5- Excellent Pop song, sounds more like a track off Matador Singles ‘08 or Watch Me Fall. Fabulous love/hate song. The lover Jay speaks of causes him to have horrible nightmares, yet he keeps “Searching” for her. Good Stuff

10) I See You Standing There- 9.0- Jay Stalker haha. Just listen to the lyrics to understand what I’m saying. Musically, very catchy and endearing. I especially love the final line, which is shouted extremely fast: “DON’T MOVE!” ahaha.

11) We Who Wait- 9.0- Great sing along. You could march this one haha. Once again we see lyrics containing themes of isolation and generally misanthropic thoughts.

12) Fading All Away- 9.9- Amazing! Hilariously savage. Lyrically this is a extremely malevolent tune about an apparently psychopathic/sociopathic/schizophrenic miscreant who will go to no end to kill his victim because of “the voices in my head.”

13) Turning Blue- 8.2- Eh, it’s a decent track, but comparatively it’s just ok. For some reason it doesn’t do all that much for me.

14) Puppet Man- 9.2- Cool, catchy, funny, somewhat short.

15) Waiting For Something- 9.9- Sums up Jay’s outlook on the people around him and his situation at the time. Waiting for something bigger to happen and get away from all the “creeps” surrounding him. Perfect title for the brief documentary on him, which I advise all fans to check out!

Grade: A: A fantastic example of modern punk music with undeniable pop hooks and elements of noise rock. One can hear glimpses of the incredible (noisy) pop Jay and his crew unleash in their future material.

Chris

NPR Says Goodbye

“As most of you know by now, Jay Reatard has died at the age of 29.

It’s a sad day for music, because we lost a guy who made the kind of songs most of us, in our heart of hearts, really love. We love his music because, before we got all worldly and esoteric in our tastes, all we wanted was for our music to rumble and roar, to give us that teenage feeling forever.

Jay Reatard made great rock music; garage-y, fuzzed-out and pounding. Songs like “My Shadow” were staples on a lot of mixes that I made for friends. And I’m listening to “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” as I type this.

In L.A. tonight, there is a jam for the late Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton. I hope the folks on that bill give a shoutout to Jay Reatard. I don’t know for sure, but I imagine that Reatard was a fan of Asheton. Both were players who had trust in the singular hypnotic engine that is rock ‘n’ roll.

Finally, I saw this video over at Brooklyn Vegan and wanted to share it here, as well. It’s nice to veer into Jay’s world for a bit. Jay Reatard, you will be missed.”- http://www.npr.org/blogs/monitormix/2010/01/jay_reatard_rip.html

I thought that was “nice.” lol Clearly his music had a great effect on many including myself.

Chris

CD Review: Singles ’06-’07

Artist: Jay Reatard
Full Title: Singles ’06-’07
Label: In the Red
Year: 2008
My Rating: A/ 9.4/10

1) Night of Broken Glass- 9.3- Solid opener. I love the shattering of glass as the first thing you hear! It’s pretty damn catchy, simple guitar, nothing groundbreaking, but an overall sound recording.

2) Another Person- 9.1- Even catchier than the first track, but not as rocking, still great though. It’s an upbeat track musically (odd for Jay I suppose). Lyrically, this person gives him the “creeps” haha. He loves that word. The guitar is really catchy and I dig the mini solos. There is also great use of vocals (all Jay) in which he sings the lead and then he takes a separate set of his vocal and throws it in the background cool stuff! I’m not sure, if this is the first instance of this, but it’s certainly not the last. I guess that was an unintentional reference to the previous number haha.

3) All Over Again- 8.8- A good tune, but it doesn’t stand out that much from any of his other material, though I have said this before about other Jay tracks that I now love, so clearly early impressions do not dictate offical tastes. I will say I like the raw “Jay” drum work in this song. Simple, but not reatarded.

4) Feeling Blank Again- 9.6- One of the compilation’s better offerings and one of my new Jay favorites! Another excellent use of the aforementioned vocals tactic. The backing vocals are simply “uhhhh” but, they are certainly creepy and perfectly complement the lead vocals in which Jay describes how it feels to feel blank: “can’t breathe.” I feel a tad bit claustrophobic when listening to this, that’s how effective the music/lyrics are.

5) I Know A Place- 9.8- Amazing pop song. It’s too bad I didn’t recognize this song when I saw him perform it at Harpers Ferry (I only know he played it because I have the set list). I would have definitely sang along, but anyone who has seen Jay live knows that even if you know one of his songs, you can still miss it, that’s how fast and furious the Jay Reatard Colossius is live! But, I digress… Anyway, back to the song; superb, soft, vocals. This is a love ballad of sorts. Kinda sounds like it is crawling outta an 80s soundtrack, but good lol. That’s the best way I can describe it without insulting it, cause typically 80s pop blew massive 80s Alf spunk! Lyrically, the tune captures Jay’s “soft” almost romantic side; he attempts to persuade some girly into escaping “away… away from here” to a place he knows, where they can be alone. Most likely he is referring to some shady, uncomfortable place, like the back of a Volkswagon somewhere in the middle of Memphis. Then strangely in the next verse, the tune loses it’s love ballady sentiment and transforms into a suicide note about escaping said lover: “I know a place, where I can go to be alone, I know a place where I can crawl to die. Away… away from you.” Odd, but kind of cool.
6) Don’t Let Him Come Back- 9.8- Another Softie, but Classic! It gets stuck in your head easily. I really enjoy the slow beginning which I think is a guitar?! Haha, I’m not really technically sophisticated. It sounds like keyboards are ramblin’ in the background, either way it all works.

7) Hammer I Miss You- 9.7- Terrific sing along and extremely uplifting! If Glen can recall I was singing the lyrics on the way to the Jay concert and have been since. It’s not a rocker like “It’s So Easy” and it’s not a softie like “No Time,” it’s simply a pumping pop number about missing some Hammer dude. Gay Reatard cough cough. In terms of Garage Pop, you can’t touch this…

8) It’s So Useless- 9.6- Heavy and very very catchy. I love the loud guitars, one of the comp’s heavier tracks and yet still has it’s hooks. It’s more akin to Blood Visions tracks, I suppose, but it still has this comp’s poppy/lovey dovey flavour. This track stands out because it doesn’t have soft vocals like most of the other tracks, but rather they are screamed and shouted. You can headbang and mosh and do your thang.

9) All Wasted- 9.0- Cool track about zombies. But, not the kind of zombies you want to walk around at night with. Nah these guys are “all useless…all wasted.” A decent guitar solo (haha, you know what I mean) toward the end. This one lacks the catchiness of it’s buddies, but nonetheless has strength.

10) In the Dark- 8.7- This doesn’t stand out that much to me. It’s a good song, but just doesn’t bring anything new to the table and isn’t particularly catchy. But, yeah if you like Reatarded music you will probably like it.

11) Searching For You- 10.0- This makes the hair on my testicles stand up and do the tequila! For those of you Blood Visions devotees out there, this track is an acoustic version of BV’s “Fading All Away.” BELIEVE ME, you haven’t heard “Fading All Away” like this before. Sure, since it’s acoustic, it’s not as angry or heavy, but it is infitnitely more malignant. This psychotic, musical madness is completely unpolished, noisy and sounds like some amateur, lonely, melancholy, Jay fan lying on his bed covering the song, warning his listeners of his menacing plans of murder and torture. This callow sounding approach in no way hinders the song, it only adds to its eeriness, a feat I did not think was possible!

12) Haunting You- 9.7- This is pretty much like the above track in style and sound: raw, acoustic, unpolished, version of a Blood Visions song. This time it’s “Nightmares,” a classic in it’s own right. I really dig this track for similar reasons to “Searching For You,” but it’s not quite as strong as the former and I prefer the original (unless this one is the original and the BV version is the second? Release dates? Shit, now I’m really curious about this and the last track).

13) Let It All Go- 9.4- Yet another hooky love number! I really dig the poppy guitars, pulsing, but steady drums, and best of all the repeated lyrics, “And now I need you, and now I need you, and now I need you… say that’s you want me, say that’s you want me… you never loved me, you never loved me….” He finished the show we saw with this song and I can definitely see why, it’s a powerful closer and overall pop song.
Tracks 14-17 are pretty much the same versions of their Blood Visions counterparts, but weaker and of poorer sound quality, in my opinion anyway. Although, “Turning Blue” is an exception; it’s not better thant the BV track, but basically on par. Here they are without ratings:

14) Blood Visions
15) Turning Blue :)
16) It’s So Easy
17) Oh It’s Such A Shame

Overall, this is an exceptional CD and is truly underated. Some of Jay’s strongest pop songs appear on this compilation and it makes me realize that his Matador Comp wasn’t as big of a transition as I thought it was. His latest release, Watch Me Fall, is definitely his biggest leap, though it’s my least favorite, but that’s a whole other story. This singles set ranks behind Matador Singles ’08 and Blood Visions as my favorite Jay work, but it still receives a well-deserved A. I hear through the grapevine that these tracks are nonexistent online, well then I highly suggest shelling out some dough for this one, you won’t be disapointed and if you are, oh it’s such a shame!

Chris

Shattered Records Tour: Jay Reatard, Nobunny, Hunx and His Punx, Box Elders, Useless Eaters @ Harpers Ferry (10/2/09)


Artist(s): Jay Reatard, Nobunny, Hunx and His Punx, Box Elders, and Useless Eaters
Location: Harpers Ferry, Alston, MA
Date: Friday, October 2, 2009

Pre-Show Activity: Doors opened at 8, so we arrived at 8, but that was not good enough apparently. Doors were now to open at 8:30. In the meantime we shot the shit with Billy, drummer for Nobunny, whom would later play before Jay Reatard. Billy was a great guy and provided Glen and myself with insight on the real world of garage rock: Grueling tour schedules (driving in vans to and fro, none of that pussy bus shit), partying, and fun fun Rock and Roll! Having played with Jay for some time, Billy voiced his admiration for the band, particularly the incredibly fast guitar playing. He also mentioned the light and dark sides of Mr. Reatard (calm at one moment and gonzo the next); no surprise.

The Show:
Useless Eaters:
Chris: This duo composed of Reatard on bass with a fierce, energetic comrade on guitar and vocals. Clearly, guitar-driven music; vocals were weak. But, I thought it was decent, a good start to the show. I am glad to see Jay keeps busy with side projects.

Glen: Played hard punk-influenced garage rock that sounded at times like early Jay Reatard. Jay’s bass play is what made this band, but I got to complement the guitarist on his fine solos. The last song, which was at leat over five minutes long, stood out in my mind as the group’s best. Jay played the same bass line over and over again while the guitarist went through a few different effects.

Box Elders:
Chris: With this group we see a slight progression in crowd reaction. This progression would sharply follow with each group up to and including Jay Reatard. Anyway, Box Elders (I thought they were “Box Cutters” until just now haha) offered me a rare experience. Only once in a blue moon, if that, do I see a live band, especially an opening act and almost immediately find myself singing along to their tune. So, props to Box Elders for that. They displayed plenty of passion and high energy, particularly the drummer, who stood up the entire and simultaneously played keyboards the entire set! He also made goofy faces and body movements, which was funny and entertaining, to say the least. The guitarist sported a fancy, double guitar, which I have never seen in person, so that was cool. Well, I can really see their music appearing on my ipod in the future.

Glen: Really really catchy. Old sounding garage-pop, fun for the entire family! The drummer made this band in my opinion. He was quite the character, doing aerobics and stretches all whilst playing the drums with one hand and using the other to hit some organ keys. The two singers voices went well and definitely this is a band I’ll keep a fine eye on in the future. Their best two songs in my opinion were “Jackie Wood” (brought back memory of Ramones + arm aerobics!) and “Librarians” (awesome little keyboard part).

Hunx and His Punx:
Chris: Wow! Bruno Live! Which I’m sure disgusted or irritated, or possibly enticed many. For me, I just laughed my ass off in bewilderment. If you think you have seen homocore or queercore, then look again. Hunx and His Punx is just about as gay as it gets and unabashedly so. I will admit, the music was fine, but nothing special. Wit that beings said, singer Hunx (? lol) demonstrated fabulous showmanship, albeit in tight spandex, which he disrobed until her was down to a thong. The guy next to me had his face planted in the singer’s crotch…. it looked like he enjoyed it though haha. By the way, he looked like Cole Alexander.

Glen: When it comes down to it, Hunx and His Punx played some pretty awesome good music. That’s beside their stage presence which made everyone in the audience except for one guy feel really awkward. A homo-punk band taken to the most literal sense, the singer chanted about how he “likes [his] boys like meat – juicy and raw.” The singer actually reminded me of a really flamboyant Dean Allen Spunt plus an intense lisp.

Set List:
1. You Don’t Like Rock & Roll
2. Hey Rocky
3. Cruisin”
4. Teardrops
5. Do the Makeup
6. GOOD Kisser
7. Gimme Gimme Back Your Love

*On October 1, 2009, Hunx and His Punx arrived at the Holiday Inn in Montreal. How much did it cost to accommodate five individuals? Why 126.99, in case you wondering. Seth Bogard made the reservation. Yeah, next time don’t put your set list on the back of your hotel invoice. Good times.

Nobunny:
Chris: Perhaps the best band to play straight before Jay. These wild bunnymen, (yes there was a bunny!) continued the trend of charisma Hunx created. Playing loud, fast, garage punk, they garnered the crowd in to intense dancing, moshing, pogoing and just about any -ing you can think of. The guitarist (drummer, Billy’s bro) spent most of their set at the very front of the stage with and sometimes in the audience. I even grabbed one of his fluffy bunny tails, which he proceeded to Jay(ha!) with. The set concluded with some good old fashion Pyrotechnics! Unfortunately, the security stomped them out merely after seconds of ignition. I dug the last line of their performance, right after the pyro was put out, “We still have seven more songs to play.” Something to that effect.

Glen: The crowd really got into Nobunny. They fuckin’ rocked the place. Their formula for success was essentially the same as the other bands, except they just seemed to have a little something extra. The singer was really interactive, jumping into the crowd on a few occasions. The bassist also didn’t hate going up to the crowd. We met the drummer Billy! Such a cool dude…besides him dressing in only underwear. That’s what the singer did too and a bunny mask too. Apparently, the lead singer of Hunx is the lead singer of Nobunny, but I can’t confirm this. They pulled similar antics on stage, except Nobunny was far less gay. “BoneYard” was probably their biggest hit.

Jay Reatard!!!!:
Chris: Looking back at my earlier post, “Jay Hopes and Expectations,” I can say most were ultimately satisfied in this great concert. He played over half of the favorites I envisioned him playing. He did not get pissed and leave abruptly. There was no animosity between the audience and the performers. His set was about forty minutes I believe that is the exact time or longer than I expected. Unfortunately, he did not play all of my favorites; these are songs I wish he would have played: “Blood Visions,” “Waiting For Something,” “Screaming Hand,” “Always Wanting More,” “DOA,” “No Time,” “You Were Sleeping,” and “Rotten Mind.” It seems like he will never play those really soft songs like “No Time,” “You Were Sleeping, and even one of his latest, “There Is No Sun.” Nahh, Jay has to maintain that unrelenting, brutal, live assault. His music live is much different than on record. I know this true of all artists, but especially true of him. Live, sometimes you cannot even tell which song it is, even if it is a number you would normally recognize if you heard the recording; it’s all heavy, great for rocking out, moshing, crowd surfing, stage diving, etc. And our crowd certainly did so. We Reatards had tons of fun bashing around and singing along to his malevolent, anti-social lyrics. “My Shadow,” “It’s So Easy,” and “See/Saw” evoked tremendous crowd response, more than any other tracks. Fans, self-included, got a massive kick out of screaming “IT’S SO EASY WHEN YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD! IT’S SO MUCH EASIER WHEN YOU DON’T EVEN CARE! ALL THESE FACES MEAN NOTHING TO ME! ALL THESE FACES MEAN NOTHING TO ME! ALL THESE FACES MEAN NOTHING TO ME!” Just taking a quick gander at the set list (which is featured below) one will notice most of the songs were from Reatard’s earlier albums, Blood Visions (7) and Singles ’06-’07 (8, though some of those are BV tracks). This is another indication that he plays mostly raw, heavy, guitar fuzz-driven songs in his concerts, since these albums feature such music much more than his past two releases: Matador Singles ’08 and Watch Me Fall

Glen: I was pleasantly surprised that the crowd was 10X more into Jay this time around than they were in July. He played all good ones. He’s rocked for a while and probably will for years to come. “See/Saw” certainly got me the most excited.

The following is Jay’s set list for the night; in parentheses is the album/compilation of which the song appears:

An Ugly Death (Matador Singles ’08)
Nightmares (Blood Visions and Singles ’06-’07 but under the name “Haunting You”)
Fading All Away (BV and S0607 as “Searching For You”)
It Ain’t Gonna Save Me (Watch Me Fall)
Trapped Here (MS08)
Greed Money Useless Children (BV)
_*_*_- Switch To Acoustic- _*_8_
All Over Again (S0607)
I Know A Place (S0607)
I’m Watching You (MS08 and WMF)
–_*_*_-Switch Back-_*_*_–
It’s So Easy (BV and S0607)
Not A Substitute (BV)
MY Shadow (BV)
Oh It’s Such A Shame (BV and S0607)
See/Saw (MS08)
Hammer I Miss You (S0607)
Faking It (WMF)
A Whisper (demo)
Let It All Go (S0607)

Final Thoughts
:
Chris: My 3rd favorite concert! Behind Black Lips, King Khan & The Shrines and just ahead of good old No Age. Four solid opening bands, a lot of charisma/energy, highly entertaining. I always get really exited when I see my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES and Jay is #4 for me, so this was big time. Pure Rock And Roll Fun!

Glen: Overall the experience was similar to the best concerts I’ve gone to…and that’s always awesome!

Grade: A

Chris

CD Review: Blood Visions

Artist: Jay Reatard
Title: Blood Visions
Year: 2006

1) Blood Visions– 9.5- Perfect opener: loud, fast, simple catchy, a great foreshadow to everything else Jay would later do on this album and beyond.

2) Greed, Money, Useless Children– 9.2- Quick, little catchy number. Employs the classic Reatard pop technique of slowing down the guitars and drums and simply shouting one line repeatedly, in this case- “Greed, Money, Useless Children.” It is clearly effective and we see this over and over again.

3) It’s So Easy– 9.7- Lyrically this is classic Reatard. Apathetic… to the point of not caring when your friends die haha.

4) My Shadow– 10! Arguably the band’s greatest offering (actually “See/Saw” is my favorite!) or at least a major fan favorite. And it’s not hard to see why. The song begins with simple and slow, but menacing guitars then erupts into a heavy motherfucker with Reatard hollering MY SHADOW at the top of his lungs! The best track on this album by far.

5) My Family– 9.2- Funky guitars, spooky/disturbing lyrics, it works for me! Displays Jay’s bizarre interaction with the other humans or “assholes” haha in his life. This theme continues on this album and throughout his current discography.

6) Death Is Forming– 9.0- The classic Reatard technique is exemplified on this track. See #2 I dig how he evolves “Death is Forming” into “Forming Death” haha.

7) Oh It’s Such A Shame– 8.5- Decent, nothing wrong with it, but for some reason, just doesn’t stand out.

8) Not A Substitute– 8.8- Another typical Reatard track…. actually a bit shorter, but it works here.

9) Nightmares– 9.5- Excellent Pop song, sounds more like a track off Matador Singles ’08 or Watch Me Fall. Fabulous love/hate song. The lover Jay speaks of causes him to have horrible nightmares, yet he keeps “Searching” for her. Good Stuff

10) I See You Standing There– 9.0- Jay Stalker haha. Just listen to the lyrics to understand what I’m saying. Musically, very catchy and endearing. I especially love the final line, which is shouted extremely fast: “DON’T MOVE!” ahaha.

11) We Who Wait– 9.0- Great sing along. You could march this one haha. Once again we see lyrics containing themes of isolation and generally misanthropic thoughts.

12) Fading All Away– 9.9- Amazing! Hilariously savage. Lyrically this is a extremely malevolent tune about an apparently psychopathic/sociopathic/schizophrenic miscreant who will go to no end to kill his victim because of “the voices in my head.”

13) Turning Blue– 8.2- Eh, it’s a decent track, but comparatively it’s just ok. For some reason it doesn’t do all that much for me.

14) Puppet Man– 9.2- Cool, catchy, funny, somewhat short.

15) Waiting For Something– 9.9- Sums up Jay’s outlook on the people around him and his situation at the time. Waiting for something bigger to happen and get away from all the "creeps" surrounding him. Perfect title for the brief documentary on him, which I advise all fans to check out!

Grade: A: A fantastic example of modern punk music with undeniable pop hooks and elements of noise rock. One can hear glimpses of the incredible (noisy) pop Jay and his crew unleash in their future material.

Chris