The Reatards

Teenage Hate

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AllMusic Review by

Teenage Hate may well be the greatest title ever for a punk rock album, and the Reatards' first full-length release (after a few EPs and cassettes) fully lives up to its handle: it's a raw, powerful blast of stripped-down rock & roll that howls long and hard well after the neighbors have threatened to call the police. The Reatards were Jay Reatard's first band to make a noticeable impact, and it's not hard to understand why; the lo-fi audio on Teenage Hate seems to be perpetually in the red zone (the liner notes claim it was recorded at Tape Hiss Is Good Studios), and the trio (Jay on guitar and vocals, Steve Albundy Reatard on guitar and backing vocals, and Elvis Wong Reatard on drums) threatens to explode into three different directions at any given moment, but the band has more energy than a case of Red Bull, and this music confirms that even at his scruffiest, Jay Reatard was a talent to reckon with. His guitar work throws surprisingly agile blues and rockabilly figures into his walls of string-busting downstroke, and the songs here may be simple, but they're memorable, with actual hooks and bellow-along choruses to go with the heavyweight crash of the guitars, drums, and feral vocals (though his over the top phrasing makes "Not Your Man" sound like "Nacho Man"; maybe he was fishing for an endorsement deal with Taco Bell?). Not many bands would cover Fear, the Dead Boys and Buddy Holly on the same album, but here the Reatards make them all sound of a piece with their own roaring testaments to teenage angst at its harshest, and the effect is impressive indeed. Teenage Hate doesn't quite sound like the opening salvo from a major artist, but if this was all the music Jay Reatard had left behind, he'd be remembered as a natural-born punk rock hero, and it's still a blast and a half. [For Goner's 2011 reissue of Teenage Hate, the album was fortified with 21 tracks from two earlier cassette-only releases from the Reatards, The Reatards and Fuck Elvis, Here's the Reatards, the latter featuring Greg Cartwright on drums. The Reatards was recorded at home on a four-track with Jay handling all the instruments, and it makes Teenage Hate sound almost slick by comparison, but it shows Reatard's knack for a good rock & roll tune was already in place. The Fuck Elvis tracks are still sonically messy but tighter and more powerful, especially a cover of the garage rock standard "Action Woman." Anyone up for the crazed power of Teenage Hate should enjoy just about everything on his release, and Goner deserves a toast for making the rare cassettes available once again.]

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 1:26
2 1:25
3
1:37
4 2:51
5 1:59
6 1:38
7 2:46
8 2:15
9 2:19
10 1:16
11 2:28
12 2:27
13 1:41
14 1:44
15 1:40
16 2:33
17 1:36
18 3:06
19 1:34
20 1:35
21 0:43
22 2:46
23 1:39
24 2:21
25 0:54
26 1:26
27 2:11
28 2:39
29 1:43
30 1:33
31 1:31
32 0:39
33 1:58
34 1:56
35 1:43
36 1:52
37 2:27
38 2:02
39 1:54
blue highlight denotes track pick