Monthly Archives: November 2015

TY SEGALL – Ty Rex LP

Album: Ty Rex

Artist: Ty Segall

Label: Goner

Release Date: November 27, 2015

www.gonerrecords.com

Ty rex front - Copy

The Upshot: Collecting all of Segall’s Marc Bolan covers and touching upon both the hippie and glam phases of the T. Rex mainman, this colored-vinyl album has appeal for both Segal fans and Bolan devotees.

BY FRED MILLS

The uber-prolific Ty Segall caused a couple of limited edition stirs with his previous Record Store Day “Ty Rex” releases, a 2011 12” EP and a 2013 7” single that found him covering, you guessed it, T. Rex. Now arrives, as threatened, the full nine-song LP that includes those tracks plus the previously unreleased “20th Century Boy.” No less an authority than Britain’s The Guardian is proposing, via a gone-viral video, that Ty Rex is the one album you should hear this week, and while that may be overstating matters just a tad—apparently some folks aren’t particularly chuffed with it, such as this commenter at the Goner Records Facebook page who contends Segall “chose really underwhelming covers and performed them as such. Really boring, just… noisy, and I really like Ty’s original stuff! T.Rex is inherently sexy, and Ty didn’t pull that off”—the record sounds pretty decent to these ears and might even be a reasonable party-starter be you a Segall fan or a Marc Bolan nut like me.

Pressed on colored vinyl that, on my copy at least, is mostly clear with some hints of cloudy green swirls (it was advertised as being green wax, so it’s likely the press run contains infinite variations of clear and green), Ty Rex is also reportedly pretty limited, although not as much as the previous 12” and 7” that go for sizable sums now on eBay. The fact that Goner released it on Nov. 27, Black Friday, and that it does not presently appear at the Goner online store, may mean you’ll have to resort to the usual auction site trawling. (A quick look at Amazon.com indicates that neither the vinyl nor the CD is available directly from Amazon but only via a handful of other record stores’ sites—although Amazon is selling the digital album, and you can also stream it via Spotify. So it won’t be impossible to snag in one form or another.)

The aforementioned “20th Century Boy” in is one key reason to grab the album. It retains the original glammy vibe but then paints thick layers of grime on top of it until you’re awash in fuzzed-out distortion, a riot of sneering vocals, and a blazing conclusion that practically begs for an end-of-concert instrument demolition ritual from the Segall band.

“Buick Mackane,” from the classic The Slider album (which the Ty Rex rear sleeve art pays homage to) is another obvious high point, smartly recorded and brawny as it gets—no need to take my word for it, however, as you can check it out above. A fellow The Slider cut, namely “The Slider,” doesn’t fare as well as it’s just sludge for the sake of sludge’s sake.

One interesting thing about Ty Rex is how Segall nicely balances the more familiar glam/Seventies side of Bolan with the early folky-faerie side that characterized his Sixties output (as Tyrannosaurus Rex). In particular, 1968’s “Salamanda Propaganda” and 1969’s “Cat Black” hold up nicely, the former kind of woozily psychedelic, the latter a strummy folk strut. It’s “Elemental Child,” however, originally on 1970’s transitional LP A Beard Of Stars, that will simultaneously cause jaws to get dropped and heads to be scratched: the extended, suite-like number utilizes an echo-drenched production and a series of bizarre tape manipulations to great effect even as Segall is kicking out the jams via a twin guitar duel and some frankly indecipherable vocals. It’s not likely to be the song to convert Segall fans to T. Rex, nor T. Rex fans to Segall, but you still gotta give Segall a grade of “W” for “Wow, man!”

Which is a decent enough summary of the entire album. Maybe it’s not the only record you need to hear this week, but wow, man, you definitely need to hear it.

DOWNLOAD: “20TH Century Boy,” “Elemental Child,” “The Motivator”

 

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS- It’s Great To Be Alive

Album: It's Great To Be Alive

Artist: Drive-By Truckers

Label: ATO

Release Date: October 30, 2015

www.atorecords.com

TRuckers

The Upshot: With 35 tracks spanning all phases of the DBTs’ collective career, the live-at-Fillmore album shows them in their true element — raucous, raw and unapologetic. A classic concert album, period.

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

Where once bands like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd provided the template for the so-called Southern Rock sound, today’s generation of resident rockers from below the Mason Dixon line is far more contentious than ever before. Take the Drive-By Truckers for example. In 2001, they released their classic opus Southern Rock Opera, a fictional account of a southern rock band dubiously dubbed Betamax Guillotine, a group whose ill-fated trajectory clearly recalled that of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Indeed, they’ve proudly paraded their Alabama-bred heritage on every other effort before or since, and those individuals that emerged from their ranks, Patterson Hood and Jason Isbell in particular, have gone on to earn significant solo success as well.

Given the fact that they can now count ten studio albums as part of their collective canon in the nearly 20 years since they first formed, the idea of a sprawling three disc concert collection certainly seems warranted. Never mind that the DBT boys have released three live albums before; somehow It’s Great To Be Alive seems like the essential set, given that it boasts some 35 tracks spanning all phases of their collective career. It shows them in their true element — raucous, raw and unapologetic, a combination certain to appeal to diehard devotees and practically anyone else whose taste in music is generally affirmed by frequenting sweaty beer joints and any local roadhouse bar.

Recorded live at the Fillmore in San Francisco late last year, it includes any number of stand-outs and standards, among them “Used to Be a Cop,” “Made Up English Oceans” and “Sink Hole,” but anyone itching to get at the essence of what this group is all about need only zoom in on “Ronnie and Neil,” a knowing nod look back at the supposed feud between Ronnie Van Zandt and Neil Young, which we all know was instigated after the old Neil rattled some traditional southern sensibilities.

These days though the South is ready to rise again, and it could do far worse than by serving up a soundtrack dominated by Drive-By Truckers tunes.

DOWNLOAD: “Used to Be a Cop,” “Made Up English Oceans,” “Ronnie and Neil”

MATT BAUER — Dream’s End

Album: Dream's End

Artist: Matt Bauer

Label: Crossbill

Release Date: November 13, 2015

http://crossbillrecords.com/

Matt Bauer 11-13

The Upshot: Lusher and more complicated than Bauer’s previous effort, it’s a strange one, populated by mythical creatures and unspoken dangers, with his powers of observation as sharp and naturalistic as ever.

 BY JENNIFER KELLY

Matt Bauer limns lurid, surreal landscapes in murmury understatement, his voice kept to a whisper as he describes events both vivid and strange. He sounds a lot like Richard Buckner — with vibrato flourishes that are barely voiced, hardly a puff of air behind them, and lines that open new, darker perspectives, all the sudden like at a bend in the road. His latest album is a strange one, populated by mythical creatures and unspoken dangers, but his powers of observation are as sharp and naturalistic as ever. You believe in the world that Dream’s End creates. It makes sense on its own terms.

Matt Bauer’s last album, The Island Moved in the Storm, was hallucinogenic but plain spoken and sparely recorded, its description of a girl’s murder carried out by traditional Americana instruments. Dream’s End is lusher and more complicated, its banjo-plunked simplicities filled out with flourishes of strings, rackety drums, piano and, at one point, in melancholy “Too Late” a breathy flute that almost exactly matches his vocal timbre. The range of instruments Bauer uses this time adds uneasy, unearthly beauty. Female vocal counterparts and harmonies give cuts like “Silver Orchard” a witchy undertow; a high thin violin line swoops vertiginously between banjo plucks. There’s a feeling of fog and uncertainty in this collection of songs, of lovely textures that are hard to get a handle on.

The disc’s best song is, perhaps, its most straightforward, the indie-folk strummed and crooned, “I Am Trying to Disappear,” which contains Dream’s Ends’s most memorable tune. Yet even here, Bauer lands softly on the hook, reinforcing the dreamy ambiguity of the line with a vocal tone that is slipping out of hearing. “And when you asked me why I’m here/I am trying hard to disappear,” he sings, and it’s a couplet that is already fading at the edges as you listen, but that will stay with you forever if you let it.

DOWNLOAD: “I Am Trying to Disappear”

 

 

Flamin’ Groovies – 11/20/15, Philadelphia

Dates: November 20, 2015

Location: Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia PA

Groovies live

The Upshot: Playing with the energy and enthusiasm of a brand new group looking to prove something, the San Fran legends thrilled a sold out crowd comprising both greying/balding fans and 20-something hipsters aiming to shake some of that magical action.

BY JOHN B. MOORE

The Flamin’ Groovies may have hit their record sales peak in the late 1970s, but you’d be hard pressed to know that, taking in the reaction that greeted the band in Philadelphia last week. Playing a sold out show at Johnny Brenda’s, nearly 300 acolytes from a span of generations came out to catch a rare performance of one of the best straight ahead rock bands San Francisco has ever churned out.

As one person proclaimed at the show, “They’re essentially a bar band. But a really, really great bar band.” [Boy howdy. –Bar band Ed.] And that description is pretty apt considering how many covers the Flamin’ Groovies have recorded over the years, putting their garage rock stamp on songs by everyone from Johnny Rivers and The Byrds to Chuck Barry and The Who. Even as the band took the stage and front man/guitarist Cyril Jordan (interviewed earlier this year at BLURT) broke a string, fellow guitarist Chris Wilson entertained the crowd with an impromptu cover of Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom” as his buddy scrambled to restring.

The band, the American precursors to punk rock and power pop, played a nearly flawless hour-and-a-half-plus set that sounded unbelievably tight. They played with the energy and enthusiasm of a brand new group looking to prove something, despite the fact that these guys earned their stripes – and a lifetime pass to half ass it on stage, should they be so inclined – in 1976 when they put out Shake Some Action. Two years later, in ’78, the Groovies would make their last appearance in this city – it’s been that long.

“We haven’t been back to Philly since then. How you been,” quipped Wilson before plowing into that record’s title track.

The mostly male audience included plenty of gray heads in various stages of balding, but there were also plenty of 20 and 30-somethings that packed in for the performance. One very tall and very thin hipster decked out oddly enough in full Duck Dynasty uniform (from bushy beard to stars and stripes bandana) showed up well into the band’s set and kept imploring people at the front of the balcony to “move over so my chick can get in,” despite the fact that his chick was so drunk she likely thought she was still in her living room. After about 20 minutes of trying to convince folks that have waited decades, plus two opening acts, to see The Flamin’ Groovies live, he finally gave up and skulked away.

The band, ever the entertainers, made the audience wait until the encore before they launched into the opening licks of “Teenage Head,” their 1971 classic (yes, classic). Along with Wilson and original members Jordan and bassist George Alexander, the band was rounded out by drummer Victor Penalosa, who despite being about two decades younger than his bandmates, nearly struggled to keep up with their drive throughout the set.

Groovies stock

We are massive fans of the Flamin’ Groovies, needless to say. Go HERE to read editor Mills’ interview interview with Jordan and Wilson, published earlier this year at Stomp & Stammer magazine.

Parquet Courts 11/13/15, Denver

Dates: November 13, 2015

Location: Marquis Theatre, Denver CO

PC

The Upshot: Parquet Courts totally get it. They make no bones about how much fun it is to do what they’re doing. And it is infectious.

BY BEN CURNETT

Fact: Parquet Courts attract the tallest damn audience in Denver. I don’t know why. Maybe it was in their newsletter. “Attention height-enhanced Coloradans: Please come to the sold-out Parquet Courts show at the Marquis Theater. There will be pizza. More importantly, there will be a reviewer there that we would like you to surround.” It was undoubtedly the most people I had seen in the Marquis at one time. Still and yet, between the skulls of the Russian mob stand-ins encircling me, I got to see a pretty great show.

Parquet Courts are a nightmare for most current punks: their songs are good enough to appeal to a pretty wide range of people and get some serious exposure. They were Pitchfork darlings. They’re led (?) by a guy who is doing a dead-on Jack Black impersonation with his entire life. All told, they’re too perfect to be a modern punk band, stuck in the popular crowd, try as they might to hang with the losers. But what punks have always missed about their own scene is this: selling out only happens when you earn money for something you don’t want to do. Parquet Courts totally get it. They make no bones about how much fun it is to do what they’re doing. You should be jealous.

They sounded fantastic at this show in support of their new Monastic Living EP; booming and vamped and noisy and off-key. There were serious Dylan nods to be heard (“Instant Disassembly”), VU-inspired goodness (“Pretty Machines”), and Spiral Stairs noodling (“Dear Ramona”), wonderful influences all, channeled through 19 songs’ worth of what it feels like to be in your twenties today. The crowd was fully into it, too; at one point, even the russian mob guys were pogoing, and I distinctly saw a skank-to-stagedive ‘80s flashback move during “Sunbathing Animal.”

At the end of the night, I can say that I enjoyed the pizza, I didn’t get crushed by Fan-Bros, and the Parquet Courts were totally worth seeing.

***

setlist:

No No No

Bodies

Black and White

Vienna II

Always Back in Town

Insufferable

Instant Disassembly

Sunbathing Animal

Dear Ramona

Psycho Structures

Everyday It Starts
Pretty Machines

Master of My Craft

Borrowed Time

Yr No Stoner

What Color Is Blood

Content Nausea

Light Up Gold

You’ve Got Me Wondering Now

Uncast Shadow Of A Southern Myth

Stevie Wonder 10/7/15, Philadelphia

Dates: October 7, 2015

Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia PA

Stevie Wonder

The Upshot: Onstage for nearly three hours October 7 at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, the soul legend performed Songs in the Key of Life in its entirety along with a string and horn section, backing vocalists and gospel choir.

BY STEVE KLINGE

Is Songs in the Key of Life Stevie Wonder’s best album? Probably not. Its double-album-plus-EP length leaves room for sprawl and diversion that its immediate predecessors Talking Book (1972), Innervisions (1973) and Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974) avoid. But its combination of breadth and depth make it the best example of Wonder’s genius, and it was his last truly great album (although 1980’s Hotter Than July still sounds great).

Last fall, Wonder returned to the stage after a long absence to perform Songs in its entirety, and he rounded out a year of touring the world with a victory lap of return performances in DC, Philadelphia and New York. The Oct. 7 Philly show, at the big Wells Fargo Center, was fantastic.

When he had the full complement of a string section (from the Philadelphia Orchestra), horns, backing vocalists and gospel choir join in, the stage held upwards of thirty musicians. Although occasionally the mix seemed jumbled—too much bass here, some crackles and pops there—the arrangements never seemed busy or grandiose. The core band, led by bassist Nate Watts (who played on the original album), was funky and soulful and jazzy and everything else Wonder required.

The three-hour show began with Wonder greeting the audience with a casual but emphatic speech. He reminisced about his history in Philly, including a sixteenth birthday party that he implied turned wild (although he joked that he couldn’t see it). Songs in the Key of Life is in part a work of social realism—at one point, it was going to be called Let’s See Life the Way It Is—and Wonder told the multi-racial audience, “If this is the City of Brotherly Love, I’m going to challenge you to fix the problems in this country and the rest of the world,” and that “We need to deal with the gun situation in this country” (the shooting at Umpqua Community College occurred just a few days earlier, but Wonder also alluded to the Black Lives Matter movement).

Those comments were fitting introductions to the album’s first track, “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” and the need for love was a constant theme throughout the evening, whether in the songs or in Wonder’s comments. From the start, Wonder showed that he wasn’t interested in a straight re-enactment of the album: he signaled to the band to bring it down so he could stretch “Love’s in Need of Love” with some improvisational scat singing. Although he had a few hoarse moments in the next song, “Have a Talk with God,” Wonder’s voice is still marvelously flexible and expressive at age 65.

The setlist followed the album, with a few diversions. Wonder inserted the EP tracks “Ebony Eyes” into the first set and “All Day Sucker” into the second, and he threw in a few covers: an extended version of the O’Jays’ “Family Reunion” became a showcase for each of the six backing vocalists (Wayna Wondwossen was the standout) and also an opportunity for Wonder to reiterate his plea for unity and for opposition to gun violence; and Wonder began “Ngiculela – Es Una Historia – I Am Singing” as a duet with backing vocalist Jazmin Cruz, but then turned it into an extended solo on the harpejji, a finger-tapped string instrument, that gradually turned into Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”—it was magical. That moment was one of many that showed that Wonder was eager to enjoy himself on stage, that he wasn’t resting on past glories (the harpejji is a new instrument, developed less than a decade ago), and that he wanted to share his magnanimous spirit.

There were a few soft spots: a perfunctory “Ordinary Pain,” an overlong sax-and-two-harmonica blowing session during “All Day Sucker,” a bit of clumsy pre-recorded voices in an otherwise funky “Black Man.” Hits such as the big band tribute “Sir Duke” and the funk workout “I Wish” brought the crowd to its feet, but some other songs were surprise highlights: “Village Ghettoland” with only the string section; a stirring gospel version of “Joy Inside My Tears.” Only the instrumental “Contusion,” with its prog-jazz guitars, seemed dated.

After finishing the album with “Another Star,” Wonder almost derailed the evening by returning to the stage and saying that he was now another person, DJ Tick Tick Boom Boom. He acted as if he wanted to start disc jockeying a dance party, playing snippets of “I Can’t Feel My Face” and “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” but interrupting them abruptly by telling the crowd “Y’all not serious!” Then, with the band following his lead, he sat at the keyboard and played snippets of his own hits—“Do I Do,” “All I Do,” “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing”—but cut each of them off after a few lines. It was frustrating and baffling until he redeemed it all by settling into rousing renditions of “Living for the City” and “Superstition.”

“Genius” is a word that is too often used loosely and indiscriminately. It’s still the right one for Stevie Wonder, though.

Steview poster

Public Image Limited (PIL) 11/20/15, Englewood CO

Dates: November 20, 2015

Location: Gothic Theatre, Englewood cO

PIL

The Upshot: This is the story of Johnny Rotten who, head cold or not, was in fine singing, sneering and gobbing form, as was his tight band.

BY TIM HINELY

How I’d made I this far in life without seeing PIL I have no idea. Oh sure, they haven’t toured in a lot of time but I have plenty who caught them on the ’83 tour and while I did like PIL back then, I (somehow) missed it.

For tonight’s show at the Gothic Theatre there was no opener, which I do like on the rare occasion that happens. They hit the stage at 9:15 PM as a four piece. Johnny (Mr. Lydon to you) appeared to be sick as a dog and when he approached the mic he stated as much. “’allo Denver…I’ve got  bit of a head cold this evening so please bear with me” which he then proceeded to hock a big loogie right into the trashcan that was on stage behind him. In fact, between every song he would go back, grab a swig of hot tea (erm, I think it was hot tea), swig from his bottle of Robitussen and then lean back and do a big spit into the trash can. In addition to the gobbing he was also doing shooters (also known as snot rockets ) in between some songs, after which he’d flash a goofy smile and thumbs up. Good ol’ Johnny Rotten!

The band, who I think he’s been playing with for quite some time, was excellent! There was a guitarist (that’s Lu Edmonds) who looked a bit like Charles Manson and while not being Keith Levene (more on that later) he could play, while the rhythm section of drummer Bruce Smith and bassist Scott Forth was tight as hell but not flashy (ok, the drummer was a bit flashy….eh, I didn’t mind).

On to the songs: they opened with “Double Trouble” and then, upon cutting into “Know Now,” I must say that the band (and Johnny’s sneer) were in fine form. Midset we heard “This is Not a Love Song,” “Corporate” and “Death Disco” and they saved “Religion” ‘til near the end (final song of the set was “Open Up/Shoom”). .

The crowd would not let them leave the building without coming out and playing
“Public Image” and “Rise.” The former sounded good but not great because it didn’t have that Keith Levene ringing guitar sound, but again a small quibble as it sounded fine. So if you’re wondering whether PIL is worth leaving the house for, the answer is a resounding YES!

 

THE JET AGE – Destroy, Rebuild

Album: Destroy, Rebuild

Artist: Jet Age

Label: Sonic Boomerang

Release Date: August 28, 2015

www.sonicboomerangrecords.com

Jet Age

The Upshot: The sound of a supremely confident indie-rock band putting forth engaging melodies, shatter-resistant rhythms and agile arrangements as it enters a fresh new phase.

BY FRED MILLS

DC-area trio The Jet Age serves up album numero six, marking the culmination of a rather prolific period of performing and recording, which yielded both 2012’s masterful Domestic Disturbances (a kind of rock opera about love, marriage, alienation and romantic redemption) and last year’s equally fine Jukebox Memoir (also thematic, but that time zeroing in sonically on some of songwriter/guitarist Eric Tischler’s influences, like The Who, Small Faces, Swervedriver, Ride, the Stones and the Verlaines). Point of fact, “conceptual” has long been one of Tischler’s trademarks, as befits a gent for whom Pete Townshend represents a spiritual mentor—the punk meets the godfather, so to speak. 2010’s In “Love” dealt with the scars wrought by the libido, for example, and as our reviewer noted at the time, it marked the trio’s “decisively come into their own as purveyors of some of the brainiest, brawniest pop around, and Tischler [also hitting] an impressive new level as a literate, provocative songwriter.” Meanwhile, 2008’s What Did You Do During the War, Daddy? found Tischler & Co. in a prior rock opera mode, charting a contemporary political fantasy amid a set of quiet/loud mondo distorto jangly indie garage pop songs.”

Enter the remarkably potent Destroy, Rebuild which, per its title, is the sound of a band breaking out of its (self-) perceived conceptual straitjacket. Tischler says as much in his current band bio, noting how previously he “was increasingly distracted by the desire to write ‘types’ of songs and that maybe, after a string of ‘rock operas,’ I was shortchanging the emotional core of the songwriting” and adding that Jukebox Memoir was therefore and attempt to get those urges out his system and rediscover his songwriting voice.

That he has, in spades. Along with bassist Greg Bennett and drummer Pete Nuwayser, Tischler has crafted an 11-song tour de force rife with engaging melodies, shatter-resistant rhythms and inventive, agile arrangements. True, the aforementioned Mr. Behind Blue Eyes is never too far from the Tischler toolbox, as evidenced on tracks like “It Cuts Both Ways” (a yearning, rippling number cut from Who Sell Out pop cloth—watch out for those massive midsong power chords, though!) and “Hand Upon the Throttle” (which boasts Moon-y thumping from drummer Nuwayser and a kind of “Underture”-like twinned guitar/bass riff). Elements of Tischler’s beloved Flying Nun bands also surface, per Jet Age tradition, including the jangly, Verlaines-like “Don’t Make A Sound” and the jetpack riffing that powers “I Wrote You This Song,” bringing to mind vintage Clean.

Still, there’s something fresh going on here with the trio that makes it far, far more than the sum of its influences. Referring again to “IWYS”: the tune goes through a complex series of sonic changes, including a delightfully gnarly wah-wah solo and an out-of-the-blue bah-bah-ba-bah vocal harmony break; it also is one of Tischler’s purest and most straightforward lyrical evocations of how love, and the memory thereof, can be eternal. “I wrote this song so you’d know it hadn’t been so long,” sings the vocalist, “that I could forget how it was when we first met.” (It’s enough to make me want to become a songwriter, just so I could say the same thing to my love of four decades.) Similarly, “In Time, All Want Will Cease” benefits from an agile, waltz-time sway set in motion by the rhythm section that allows the tune room to breathe, and in turn frees Tischler to explore textural shifts, moving easily from dreamy to brawny to psychedelic as he also muses upon the nature of dreams and ideals (“Seduced and betrayed, by my own will I’m captured/ Come, be still and talk with me about the things you hope will be”).

Ultimately, Destroy, Rebuild lives up to its own dreams and ideals, the sound of a band fully aware of its own limitations and supremely confident of its ability to push past them. Bravo, lads.

DOWNLOAD: “I Wrote You This Song,” “In Time, All Want Will Cease,” “It Cuts Both Ways”

JACK THE RADIO – Badlands

Album: Badlands

Artist: Jack The Radio

Label: Pretty Money

Release Date: October 16, 2015

www.JacktheRadio.com

Jack 10-20

The Upshot: Outstanding roots-rock, alt-country, spaghetti western and blues from one of North Carolina’s most underrated outfits.

 BY JOHN B. MOORE

Raleigh’s favorite sons, Jack the Radio, have a pretty solid track record when it comes to delivering solid roots-based alt- country and their latest, Badlands, is no exception. It’s a slow burn album that may take more than one listen to really sink in, but once it does it stays with you.

While not exactly a rock opera in the 1970s “drop some acid, buckle in take in our pretentious record” sense of the term, this latest full length is inspired by sci-fi spaghetti westerns and as a result there is a Theremin tossed in and more blues licks then previous albums, but even if the themes go unnoticed by the casual listener it’s still a satisfying album.

Elizabeth Hopkins duets on “Criminals” and BJ Barham lends his voice to “Wayfared Warriors.” Despite the guests and the themes here, this is still very much a Jack the Radio record from start to finish and that is always a good thing.

DOWNLOAD: “The Takedown,” “Leaves” and “Wayfared Warriors”

 

 

THE REATARDS – Grown Up, Fucked Up

Album: Grown Up, Fucked Up

Artist: Reatards

Label: Goner

Release Date: August 21, 2015

www.goner-records.com

Reatards 8-21

The Upshot: 1999 release now reissued to make the loss of Jay R all the more palpable.

BY TIM HINELY

The two Reatards records that I own, Not Fucked Enough and Bed Room Disasters, both released on Seattle’s Empty Records, are filled with the kind of unhinged punk rock that only a young person who didn’t care (but totally cared ) could create. This new Reatards’ record, Grown Up, Fucked Up, was originally released on Empty Records in 1999 and it was Jay Reatards’ sophomore release (after his debut Teenage Hate from the year before). And what else can I say, it’s great.

Jay and his two cohorts , Redd on guitar/vocals and Rich Cook on drums cooked up some of the most raw, manic and wild punk rock of the era (or of any era, really). Give one listen to “Sat. Night Suicide” and just listen to Jay blathering at the end, but then there’s an obvious nod to 50’s doo wop with the swaggerin’ “Heart of Chrome “(which is a cover of The Persuaders, by the way). A few more favorites here include “No One Stands Me” and the jagged “Tonight It’ll Come” and the power poppy “Who Are You?”, but honestly, not a bum track is to be found here.

A few years after this Jay ended up doing the solo thing, putting out a few terrific records for Matador and In the Red labels and then died way too young. If listening to this isn’t inspiration enough for some young folks to go out and start a band then I don’t know what is. God bless the Reatards and all who sailed with them.

DOWNLOAD: “Sat. Night Suicide,” “No One Stands Me,” “Tonight It’ll Come,” “Who Are You?”