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JAY REATARD & r & & r & Singles 06-07 & r & & r & 4 STARS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & he 17 tracks that compose this collection of singles hit the highlights and lowlights of Jay Reatard's musical output as a solo performer. The songs are brash and bratty and filled with all of the youthful angst one can imagine. And while putting an album together with such a narrow focus tends to create unnecessary repetition, it never devolves into self-parody.





The most accurate description of the album? Loud, loud, fast and loud. And many of the tracks succeed in this limited formula. But one of the early standouts is "Don't Let Him Come Back," a straight-from-the-garage guitar jangler of lost love. The punk going soft? Nope. Just a nod to a larger listening demographic.





Though the product of a fairly young musician, the collection showcases just what might come. He has the personality to pull off the present aggression. An expanded creative vision, however, would allow for much more.





-- CAREY MURPHY





DOWNLOAD: "It's So Useless"








THOSE POOR BASTARDS


The Plague


4 STARS


& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & his is country music from hell, but then I once thought all country music was from hell. That's because the only country I heard was the crap pumped out of the speakers of the local grocery store. Those Poor Bastards' sound is the revivified country and blues of the 1920s and '30s with a horror aesthetic. It's a brand-new genre that the duo likes to call "country doom," though I prefer "apocalyptic gospel" if only because it seems more appropriate to TPB's latest album, being inspired largely by Cormac McCarthy's book, The Road.





Distorted vocals, heavy chanting and lyrics like "the iris of my eye / is cancerous and black / tear out your golden hair / and stitch it to my back" make for a stew of despair that will appeal to God knows who. It's something different.





-- BEN KROMER





DOWNLOAD: "Sick and Alone"
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