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It’s been the victim of a smear campaign for a good seven or eight years. Blink 182, Good Charlotte and Avril Lavigne have stepped all over it. Emo, screamo and just about every band featured in Alternative Press have raped it. Repeatedly. Analy. But shockingly, and despite evidence to the contrary, punk is not dead. Now, I know what you’re saying “but what’s that carcass laying there, bullet ridden from the guns of MTV, mallrats and the Suicide Girls?” It looks dead, yes, but punk rock is being kept alive by a young man from Memphis named Jay Reatard. Blood Visions is his latest in a long line of releases and is astonishing in it’s intensity and passion. The songs are short, loud and fast with Jay’s chainsaw guitars cutting your heart in half. It evokes the usual suspects: The Damned, The Ramones live, ’50s rock ‘n ‘ roll, but is done better than it has been in years. The album sounds gritty and fuzzy and messy. In other words: perfect. If you make a punk rock record and it sounds slick or glossy or good… then I’m sorry, you didn’t make a punk rock record. The production should match the music and it should match the attitude. This is dance music if by dance music you in fact mean “music that makes you want to dance” and not “dead emotionless manufactured drivel sung by corporate whores.” “My Shadow” and “Not A Substitute” will especially make you move, perhaps involuntarily. Blood Visions is probably the best punk rock record since The Exploding Hearts’ Guitar Romantic. Every teenager should own it. Some of them might grow up to make music with soul. (Matt White)

CD, In the Red Records,

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