Who is Jay Reatard?

What ever happened to the Spirit of ’77? The knuckle-dragging riffs and snot-nosed yelps of Everyteen With a Dream USA when Punk broke?

It’s always been here, but IT – that undiluted, uncompromising ethos connected to punk – is much harder to follow in the MySpace Generation.

Artists hoping to be crowned The Next Big Thing crop up as often as that phrase gets bestowed on the undeserving.

It’s no small wonder why groups that treat rock like blue-collar work (clock in, clock out) find themselves creatively exhausted by Album #2.

As always in rock, a shtick – a dirty word; let’s say “dealbreaker” instead – is needed to get attention. And what better way to garner attention than through a mother****** of a live show?

Memphis, Tennesee’s Jay Reatard plays Wire-inspired punk rock, no-frills and rough around the edges. Jay Reatard shreds with a flying V guitar. Jay Reatard is rad.

In a time where punk is approximated to pretty posturing it’s a f***ing summer breeze to see Reatard and his dubious fellows wreck house in the independent circuit without kissing the proverbial camera – even when the majors are interested.

Reatard’s quivery croon is comparable to Richard Hell on uppers (blasphemy, ey?), while the band plugs away at three-chord standards – simple stuff but novel and contagious enough to wash away any feeling of mere mimicry. Reatard’s solo album, 2006’s Blood Vision, is his most consistent album yet but past output with his former groups Lost Sounds and The Reatards also hold up well. Only the pop-punk firecracker Ted Leo can be mentioned in the same breath as Reatard, seeing that both have been making a racket for over ten years.

Those live shows? As fun and unpretentious as it gets:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz6dKtkxt9Q]
One cursory listen to Reatard’s songcraft is all it takes to separate him from pigeonholed hypesters like She Wants Revenge (third-rate Interpol, ninth-rate Joy Division).

Even the elderly love Jay Reatard:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd-RJnGNGXc]

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