Jay Reatard dies at 29

Garage rocker died in his sleep Wednesday morning

Over-the-top Memphis garage rocker Jay Reatard died in his sleep Wednesday morning. He was 29.

A spokesman for Reatard’s label Matador Records said a cause of death had not been determined.

Born Jimmy Lee Lindsey, Jr., the singer-guitarist was a fan as a teen of the Bluff City garage band the Oblivians, whose rough-hewn work inspired him to form his own group, the Reatards. An unpredictable and volatile live commodity, the untamed trio issued its first records on Goner Records, a local label run by Oblivians drummer Eric Friedl.

Reatard also performed with guitarist Alicja Trout in the synth-rock band the Lost Sounds. His other side projects included the Bad Times, the Final Solutions and the Angry Angles. He also operated the vinyl-oriented imprint Shattered Records.

After recording his first solo work for Los Angeles indie In the Red Records, Reatard signed a solo deal with Matador in New York. The label compiled his solo singles in 2008; a studio album, the tough yet pop-inflected “Watch Me Fall,” was issued last year.

Reatard cancelled a late-2009 solo tour after his entire band quit. He appeared on the recently released live DVD/CD set “Goner Fest 4,” filmed at the label’s 2009 garage showcase.

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