Matador Singles ’08

You may know Jay Reatard from one of the many bands he's been in, but his solo effort, minimal garage-punk pop, might be his best act yet.

Like almost any punk rock musician worth his spit, Jay Reatard has been in a slew of bands—the Reatards, the Lost Sounds, Nervous Patterns, the Final Solutions, Angry Angles, Terror Visions—though his current, solo act may be his best. On Matador Singles ’08, we find Reatard’s 2008 output—scattered by the label across six seven-inch singles—on one handy disc. It’s minimal garage-punk pop in the spirit of Wire, with a lyrical dark edge not unlike Matador hall-of-famers Guided By Voices (try “There is a reason I’m afraid of you/And I don’t know what it is” on “You Mean Nothing to Me”). Things get psychedelic with “Fluorescent Grey,” one of the few tracks to eclipse the three-minute mark, but Reatard rarely wavers from his three- and four-chord formula—the nervous breakdown always right around the corner.