Friday, October 28, 2011

J.T. IV - Cosmic Lightning [197?-1980s]

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The consummate loner punk J.T. IV [John Timmis IV] lived in and around the fringes of Chicago, and made some fantastically damaged glam-folk-punk tunes, first releasing the "Waiting for the CTA" 7" in 1980. It's a localized version of the Velvets song, sung over Blitzkrieg Bop chords. The song starts out pretty cheesy-sounding but devolves into a noisy mess foretelling the rest of this compilation of super-rare singles (with originals going for over $800). My favorite thing on here is the two-song folk lament suite "In the Can / Out of the Can," which communicates alienation and pathos as can only be done by a dude who's been institutionalized. On the rest of the songs there's all sorts of what Timmis called 'destructo rock,' an umbrella under which the MC5 and the Dead Boys would probably fit. All of this stuff languished in obscurity for the whole of Timmis's life (he died in 2002 in Nowhere, PA), but was released by Drag City in 2008. It's out of print now, but when it was available it came with a full-length DVD containing performances and home-movies (trailer below). More of his stuff remains unreleased and nearly impossible to find, but I hope it gets reissued like this album. If you can track that DVD down, let me know.