Welcome to "Nothing Not New," a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.
I may have aesthetic atrophy, but that doesn't mean there weren't any newer artists whose work I followed. One of them was Jay Reatard, the Memphis musician who died Wednesday at age 29. His early singles on Goner are nearly uniformly excellent, as was his Blood Visions record. The record he released last year on Matador wasn't as strong, but he was definitely an artist whose best work was ahead of him. He also made cool music in Lost Sounds and Angry Angles and still others. Many people in the garage and punk scenes are shocked and saddened by the death of one of the few artists in those scenes who was on the verge of breaking out to a wider audience.
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