"Haunting You" by Jay Reatard
Jay Reatard kicks off "Night Of Broken Glass," the first song on his Singles 06-07 collection, with the sound of real broken glass. Yes, the man is literal—although, as his misspelling of "retard" implies, he can't even get being an idiot right. Reatard's music is stupid on the surface, but it's also sharp and deeply crafty; since his days in The Reatards and Lost Sounds, his pop sensibility has been extruded through all manner of junk culture, dusty synths, and busted amplifiers. But his 2006 solo debut, Blood Visions, brought more of that hook-worship to the fore, and 06-07 seals the deal. Recycling four songs from Visions and adding tracks from Reatard's prolific flow of vinyl-only singles, the new disc bristles with jittery energy and sheer force of will. Nuggets like "Another Person" and "It's So Useless" are twitchy new-wave anthems fed through the garbage disposal and stripped of flesh, fat, and flash. But it isn't all vicious euphoria: "All Over Again" imagines a young Cure shacking up with The Shaggs, and "Haunting You" even finds Reatard venturing into Guided By Voices territory—and pulling it off with just the right blast of epic minimalism. Demented, melancholy, and in lust with rock's fuck-it essence, Jay Reatard is making the freshest, most exhilarating records in the indie world today—and with Matador pumping out more stunning Reatard singles this year, 06-07 is just the beginning.