Goner Records appear to have broken the news, writing “It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our good friend Jay Reatard. Jay died in his sleep last night. We will pass along information about funeral arrangements when they are made public.”
A statement from Matador reads, “Jay was as full of life as anyone we’ve ever met, and responsible for so many memorable moments as a person and artist. We’re honored to have known and worked with him, and we will miss him terribly.”
A former member of short lived punk projects Lost Sounds and Angry Angles, Reatard became a cult musical figure mainly on the strength of his solo work. Blood Visions, his first solo album is considered a modern underground rock classic, and his singles collections for Matador – CD roundups of various limited 7″s he’d released for the label – regularly featured high on Album of the Year lists, including FACT’s.
As Reatard’s career developed, he became more and more known for his raucous live shows – which infamously featured the odd punch up – and his reputation preceded him when his backing band left him late last year.
This shouldn’t distract from the music: with Reatard’s death music loses one of the best modern songwriters, a man as adept at garage rock stompers as he was ballads, and someone whose songs had the ability to move your feet and touch your heart in equal measure. We’ll leave you with ‘No Time’, one of Jay’s very best.