Gamma Ray – Jay Reatard

This urgent piece of lo-fi indie has a fun fuzzed out vibe to it’s fringes. It sounds like it’s bursting through a transistor radio whatever piece of equipment you listen to it on.

It’s a cover of a Beck tune. That’s not immediately obvious when you hear it but as the song goes on you can hear Mr Hanson’s handwriting in the lyrics. The way Reatard plays it is much more ‘home studio’ feeling than the Beck sound he had by Modern Guilt. That’s an unusual angle to take with a Beck song.

Jay kind of shows how the song might have sounded if it had appeared on Mellow Gold.

When Beck put out Gamma Ray as a single in 2008 he chose (or commissioned) Jay’s cover as the flip side.

It can now be found on a compilation of 7”singles Jay’s label pulled together into a single CD in 2008. Inventively titled Matador Singles ’08.

After hearing this cover I thought I’d keep an eye out for any new music by Jay. He sounded right up my street. It turns out, sadly there wont be any new music from Jay Reatard (real name Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr) as he died in 2010.

He was 30 years old. Could’a turned out so different.

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