Angry Angles: S/T 12"

Angry Angles: S/T 12"

Tags: · compilations · garage · indie · raw · recommended · reissues
Goner Records
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This 17-song collection comprises the complete studio recordings (including five unreleased tracks) of Angry Angles, the Jay “Reatard” Lindsey and Alix Brown project that came together shortly after the mid-2005 demise of the former’s long-running primary endeavor, The Lost Sounds. The sheer immensity of Lindsey’s musical discography relative to the artist’s demise in January of 2010 at the age of 29 is an undeniably impressive attribute of his legacy. But unlike other artists with massively prolific output, Lindsey’s militantly self-imposed standard of quality control assured this project was not simply a prolonged demo or practice session for what came next—his landmark solo debut Blood Visions.

Sure, extraneous live documents reveal a handful of set items that turned up on that album, and there’s more than a passing riff among the songs collected here that did the same. Ms. Brown herself even appeared on that album’s “I See You Standing There” and “We Who Wait.” But Blood Visions 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. In fact, the release of Blood Visions in October of 2006 was to be followed closely by a proper studio full-length by Angry Angles, with the latter receiving heavier promotion.

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-slouches “In My Room” and “You Call It Love,” the latter of which originally closed out the Angles’ debut 7-inch EP. The band’s songs are guitar-based noise-pop / punk (not “pop punk”) certainly informed by the garage-rock / punk landscape that Lindsey was constantly and effortlessly schooling. There are outside influences (post-punk…whatever the hell that means, really) but “the hook” is the biggest concern at the end of the day.

This Angry Angles retrospective is the result of nine months of work by the involved parties of Goner Records; co-founder and handler of the band’s visual presentation, Alix Brown; Adam Shore, Lindsey’s manager / archivist in life and beyond; tour and sometimes studio drummer, Ryan Rousseau, then of Tokyo Electron and then and now the man responsible for the almighty Destruction Unit.

Our take: Angry Angles are a band I've always been really curious about, but their material remained so inaccessible that I literally couldn't find it. In fact, I vividly remember searching Soulseek for their music and I don't think I used that service after like 2005 at the latest. Anyway, my search only turned up a few scattered tracks, so my search for "Jay Reatard's band when he was completely obsessed with Wire" was pretty much fruitless. With only a handful of 7" sides to their credit I was worried that this LP would feel like it was scraping the bottom of the barrel, but it actually functions fairly cohesively as a full-length release. You can tell that Jay was finding his pop sweet tooth here. Though he's always been able to write a catchy song, lots of these songs are overtly poppy in a way that no Reatards stuff ever was. While he would eventually clearly get into the super poppy kiwi sound on his final recordings, Angry Angles finds him at a very interesting place, not yet having fully lived down his past as the most aggressive musician in garage rock, starting to come to terms with his budding ability to craft great pop songs, but also clearly obsessed with the minimal, angular sound of early post-punk groups like Wire. Definitely way more than a "fans only" thing, this album absolutely rules, and if you like Jay Reatard's solo work (who doesn't?) you absolutely need these songs, and this LP is even better than having the original singles in my book. The only thing that keeps it from feeling like "the great lost Jay Reatard album" is that the track listing is padded out with two covers (by Wire and Devo), though they're both well-done and were probably essential for explaining to Reatards fans of the time where Angry Angles was coming from. Anyway, I had low-to-moderate expectations going into this, but I have to say it's blown me away and has definitely spent a TON of time on the shop turntable for the past few weeks.