Angry Angles "Angry Angles" LP/CD
Street Date: May 20, 2016
Angry Angles’ Retrospective is a 17-song collection that comprises 100% of the studio recordings by the duo of Jay “Reatard” Lindsey and Alix Brown, one that came together shortly after the mid-2005 demise of Lindsey’s long-running Lost Sounds. The sheer immensity of Jay’s musical discography relative to the artist’s demise at the age of 29 in January of 2010 is an undeniably impressive attribute of his legacy. But this is unlike other examples of massive output-footprints built via an uncontrollable sink-or-swim necessity to retain a prolific profile at any cost. This is no sort of prolonged demo or practice session for what came next.
Sure, extraneous live documents reveal a handful of set items that would turn up on that landmark album, and there’s more than a passing riff or several heard amongst the songs collected here that would do the same. Ms. Brown herself even turned up handling on that album’s "I See You Standing There" and some vocals on "We Who Wait". But the album didn’t really “come next” at all. Angry Angles’ musical demise, at some point during the latter half of 2006, was a direct result of Brown and Lindsey’s demise romantically, but concurrent with the many previous months of activity and productivity was the writing and recording of Blood Visions.
It’s release in October of 2006 was to be followed closely by a proper studio full-length by Angry Angles, with the latter receiving heavier promotion. Well, whatever it says about…whatever, it can’t be denied that Jay + Alix was a hell of lot easier on the proverbial peepers in a marketing sense than “Jay + his whitey-tighties + pig’s blood”.
And unlike much of the man’s discography, this was not “The Jay Show” all the way. Brown wrote three of these tracks, the amazing “Apparent Transparent” as well as no-slouch “In My Room” and appropriately, “You Call It Love”. Overall, these songs are guitar-based noise-pop/punk (not “pop-punk”) certainly informed by the garage-rock/punk landscape that Jay was constantly and effortlessly schooling. There’s certainly outside influence but “the hook” is clearly the biggest concern at the end of the day.
Then there’s the five never-before-released songs if we’re talking generosity: An unreleased version of “Things Are Moving” (that kicks off the collection), a cover of the Oblivians’ “Memphis Creep”, and of arguably the most gravitas…three songs (the collection’s closing triad of “Can’t Do It Anymore”, “All the Same” and “Set in Stone”) that came out of a session (recorded by Chris Thief) when the band went to Montreal to perform and ultimately shelved by Jay solely based on the fact that they weren't recorded by Jay. Amongst the preceding 12 tracks, it should be mentioned, are four cover versions, and if it isn’t already a known rule with such a thing and the Jay Reatard discography as a whole, covers are a special thing and well beyond the “here’s something I want you to know I’m on board with!” gesture. We get A.A.’s treatment of Wire’s timeless piece of post-punk pop, “The 15th”, another end of the same basic era but no less hooky in the Urinals’ “Black Hole”, the proto-all-of-that greatness of Devo’s “Blockhead”, and a reorg of the Oblivians’ regional character assassination, “Memphis Creep”.
This retrospective is the result of nine months of work by the involved parties of Goner Records; co-founder and handler of band’s visual presentation, Alix Brown; Adam Shore, Jay's manager/archivist in life and beyond; Tour/sometimes studio drummer, Ryan Rousseau (then of Tokyo Electron and then and now the man responsible for the almighty Destruction Unit.)
- Andrew Earles, 2016