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At 29, Jay Reatard, whose real name is Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., has been a public figure in Memphis for nearly half his life, though he only began attracting national attention after the release, in 2006, of “Blood Visions” (In the Red) and a barrage of shows at the South by Southwest Music Festival in 2007 and 2008. His first album billed as a solo artist “” he played almost every note on the record himself “” “Blood Visions” revealed Mr. Lindsey’s talent for distilling punk songwriting to its most elemental form, a mix of adrenaline, testosterone and sugary hooks. Delivered in an ersatz English accent, songs like “My Shadow” were reminiscent of late-1970s British punk, particularly bands like Wire and the Adverts, whose former leader, TV Smith, was tapped by Mr. Lindsey as the opening act for his recent tour.
“Watch Me Fall,” Mr. Lindsey’s new album, out on Tuesday from Matador Records, expands his influences to include the ’80s kiwi pop of the Flying Nun label from New Zealand and bands like the Clean and the Tall Dwarfs. Acoustic guitar features in nearly every song, and his nihilistic lyrics “” “All is lost, there is no hope,” goes the la-la-la-like refrain from “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” “” now waft over wispy choral clouds as well as dissonant feedback peals. “I’m becoming more open-minded,” Mr. Lindsey said, “and allowing myself to absorb different things that before I probably wrote off out of ignorance.” [NYTimes.com]