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HEAR YE: Jay Reatard Watch Me Fall

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MATADOR: As we approach the August 18, 2009 release of Watch Me Fall, Jay Reatard’s 90-something th release since dropping out of 8th grade to pursue this game, you might ask, who is this guy? In the late 90s, 15-year-old Jay Lindsey, living right outside Memphis, played all of the instruments on a demo tape by his newly-minted performing moniker of “The Reatards.” This cassette was sent to Eric Friedl of the Oblivians, who had used the “Goner Records” imprint on a couple of releases. His next would be a 7” by The Reatards, followed shortly by a full length LP, Teenage Hate (Goner, 1998). Remembers Jay:

“I read an article in Spin about ‘The Lo-Fi Revolution’ in the mid-90s, and I kept seeing ‘Four-Track’ ‘Four-Track’ ‘Four-Track’….and I didn’t know what one was, but I figured out that it was what all of those bands, Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, used to record their records. Before the internet, it was really hard trying to figure out what one cost, or how to find one in the first place, but I finally got one for Christmas. Before that, I recorded by using a karaoke machine with two tape decks hooked up to it.”

After quickly building a reputation for an anything-goes live set, and releasing another excellent full length Grown Up, Fucked Up (Empty, 1999), Jay Reatard shoved what was previously a side project to the forefront and started raising eyebrows with something other than live mayhem: Songwriting and an ear for breaking ground. MORE

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