Favorite Track: "See Saw" Least Favorite Track: "D.O.A."
After a stint in about every underground punk band that occupied the early 2000's, including names like Lost Sounds, The Reatards, The Final Solutions and countless others, Jay Reatard would go on to release his compilation with Matador records and his first effort under their label; Matador Singles 08’. The musical progression of Reatard would play a momentous role in the overall sound of this project. Fresh off the departure from his previous band, Lost Sounds, Jay would take a thing or two from their playbook and combine it with his punk rock roots to create a unique blend of indie, punk, garage rock, and most importantly synth rock (which was a sound derived from Lost Sounds). This stylistic switch took place not because it had to, but because the man single handedly had conquered everything he wanted to in the punk underground and consequently desired to do the same within the genre of indie rock. One of my personal favorite elements of Matador Singles 08’ are the passionate vocal performances. While there is plenty of punk music that im a devoted fan of, vocals within the genre can tend to blend together to the point where voices in the scene can simply sound like another guy screaming his head off. On this project Jay kept the tempo and the aggression of his punk vocals, but he opted for something a little more melodic with his new indie edge, and the results sound fantastic. Tracks on this record that are deeply personal to Jay such as “Screaming Hand”, where he describes the abuse he endured as a child, really benefit from the improved vocals. Other elements of that track make it one of my favorites on the album. “See Saw” is another great cut, I love the transitions in and out of the refrain as well as the escalating guitar riff that seems as if its climbing the stairway to heaven. Matador Singles 08’ is a topically excellent effort that features fun refrains, mixed influences, and a sound that isn’t immediately identifiable. The mix brings us somewhere between indie, garage rock, and garage punk, but most importantly it brings us a vital piece of Jay Reatard’s solo discography.