Wednesday, July 29, 2009

J.T. IV-COSMIC LIGHTNING LP and DVD-R (Drag City, available at all good 'n hip mailorder companies nationwide)

Sorry, I still haven't gotten hold of Death's FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE album that Drag City got mucho press space with this year, but thankfully I did manage to latch onto their other recent hip fodder release which as the case may be seemed too good to be true in classic underground rock hype-drive fashion. I never heard of John Henry Timms IV before and I doubt that you haven't as well, but I guess that this "J.T. IV" guy had made a pretty good name for himself in the Chicago area with his own particular brand of underground rock wank that had more than a passing reference to the mid-seventies musical "journey" of the "man" called David Bowie. From the looks of it this Timms guy has been there are done that a few times over, and his weird resume makes most people adhering to the "rock lifestyle" seem rather "timmy". After all, this aficionado produced a porn flick, was severely disfigured in an automobile accident (and refused plastic surgery until egged on by his girlfriend, preferring to be known as the hooded performer "Frankenstein") and was committed to the mental hospital somewhere in between recording the music that has ended up on this album. Pray tell, what have you done lately???

So how could I pass up this promising long player with a front cover snap of Mr. Timms kinda looking like Kenne Highland's younger brother and a back spoofing the insert-sleeve bootlegs of the seventies anyway? Not easily enough which is why I am grateful to get hold of GREASED LIGHTNING, an album which I guess could be considered a "best of" of sorts containing the local hit "Waiting For the RTA" as well as some decidedly folky endeavors which I guess would be considered to be in the Bowie vein. Don 't let that scare you off because JT could deliver on the goods even if the goods were watered down glitter spectacle.

Naturally David as well as his perennial pal Lou Reed are good starting points for the JT IV sound, and "RTA" is highly reminiscent of the Bowie version of "Waiting For My Man" complete with the revised chord change that we all heard during the Spiders From Mars days. The rest of GREASED LIGHTNING comes off suave enough, that is, if you still have the heavy pangs of lust for the early-seventies Bowie style before he decided to become the seventies version of Bobby Darin. The acoustic folkers and Spider-esque rockers are just about as good as any mid-seventies original music group's variation on the form and they certainly do sound authentic in Timms' own seventies rock worshipping way, even if some of the numbers could have used a little more gestation before being birthed upon an audience, or recording studio for that matter. But given the amt. of music that should have been D&C'd at conception these days maybe I shouldn't complain, at least that much.

Yeah, and the quality might make you want to throw a fit, especially at the end of side two when the music speeds up and slows down during the sax solo. But then again, maybe that's where the bootleg cover spoof really does figures in to it all.

Oh, this also comes with a burnt DVD which my player seems to be rejecting like a heart transplant, but reports have it as being a so-so representation of the JT IV live experience so perhaps I'm really not missing that much. But hey, I'd prefer to find out about it on my own terms so maybe one of these day when it decides to act on my accord and not its usual freewheeling self?

1 comment:

thedaydreamnation said...

Don't believe the hype on that Death album, it's OK on it's own terms but isn't the gift that fell from heaven that some would have one believe. Your mileage may vary, but I'm just saying that used copies are showing up in record stores already and that may be the wise way to go.