Jay Reatard, Toyko Electron, Lamps in San Fran

Jay Reatard in the Lost Sounds Chicago 2005 by Canderson
Jay Reatard in the Lost Sounds Chicago 2005 by Canderson
posted Friday Jan 19th, 2007

Jay Reatard is heading out on short tour with Tokyo Electron to support the recent release of his debut solo album, Blood Visions. Making a couple of stops in San Francisco at the Hemlock Tavern on Saturday, January 20 and then again at The Knockout on Sunday, the city should be aware of an impending sweep of the tightly controlled doom Reatard is known for kicking up.

A glance back at Mr. Reatard's career over the past decade and its pretty easy to see how his music has ended up at the current intersection of chaotic, caustic, and poisonous introspection his music excavates. The Reatards' confrontational whack at songs with seemingly personal subject matter bled from the same heart of those that would come out of the Lost Sounds years later. With different instrumentation, The Lost Sounds had a more modernized take on his original formula of perpetual rhythms that leave a feeling of urgent trepidation that completely wiped away any “garage” twang his previous work had. Then as the Angry Angles sprang up, they added a squirt of melodic sentiment, but retained the same barreling and aggressive vehemence and came off as something completely different, but had a very familiar sound.

Jay Reatard's newest release on In The Red leaves it all behind without actually letting go of his prior output. It seems like his progress of aggression includes an urgency that makes it impossible to sit still and listen to a Jay Reatard song no matter what band it is. As far as his live performances, they are leveling and acute, like watching a car accident from under the hood.

Supporting are Toyko Electron whose debut full length appeared on Reatard's Shattered label in 2005 and also on Empty Records, have the same white-knuckled fervor as Jay Reatard. Their low-end guitar hum is as dangerous as they come and cuts though their gnarled vocals that seem to come from a corroded larynx caked with hate. Opening are the tweaked and twisted LA outfit The Lamps who have a sound falls somewhere between the tech-void charm of bands like The Intelligence and a murky smash-up of Jesus Lizard if David Wm. Sims severed a finger or two whittling away at a bass neck.