Single Review – Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

We’re hardly a week into the Donald Trump presidency and we’ve already had anti-Trump songs from the Gorillaz, Arcade Fire and YG but this one is perhaps the most thoughtful of them. Joshua Tillman, or better known as Father John Misty, has released the titular track of his new album which releases on April 7th. Father John Misty’s previous LP, I Love You Honeybear, was one of the best released in 2015. Filled with witty, funny and odd lyrics as well as a more diverse and energetic production style, saw Tillman experiment more with electronic (on ‘True Affection’) and rock (‘Ideal Husband’) music alongside his more honed ballads and what might loosely be labelled Americana given his unique style. Although it was interesting sonically it was the lyrics which set it apart as a great album. If Joshua Tillman on Letterman sat on a piano singing ‘Save me white Jesus’ (on ‘Bored in the USA’) can’t get you interested in this album then I’m not entirely sure what can. With his new track he follows a similar piano ballad style, presumably no longer ‘Bored in the USA’, Tillman resorts to finding humour in the chaos of American politics. Taking aim at religion as he often does, he compares priests to the cult of Donald Trump when he sings, ‘Oh, their religions are the best /They worship themselves yet they’re totally obsessed /With risen zombies, celestial virgins, magic tricks, these unbelievable outfits /And they get terribly upset /When you question their sacred texts / Written by woman-hating epileptics’. He goes on saying that these people have ‘horizons that just forever recede/ And how’s this for irony, their idea of being free is a prison of beliefs /That they never ever have to leave’. It may not be as original as his previous work on a musical basis but with these insightful lyrics, Joshua Tillman shows he hasn’t lost his touch in the two years between his last LP and his next. Everybody get excited. 

Callum Christie

Single Review – Father John Misty – Real Love Baby


Off the back of the success of I Love You, Honeybear, one of the best written of albums of last year and for some time; Father John Misty’s enigmatic creator Joshua Tillman has finally released a one off track that had been on his Soundcloud page for some time in ‘Real Love Baby’. Clearly, there is nothing radically different about the track from last years efforts. The track is breezy, smooth with a daydreaming content. One notable difference is in the recording and production techniques with Josh’s vocals recorded as if he was in an echo chamber. His vocals work beautifully to this effect and it gives an otherwise basic song more weight. Even his spare tracks have something to offer. 

Owen Riddle

Musicandotherthingz.com Best Song-writing of 2015

Here is a list of the ten nominees for best song-writing of 2015.

 

3. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit (18%)

With her dry wit and her ability to translate a story into a song with tracks such as ‘Depreston’ and ‘Elevator Operator’ to name just two examples, Courtney has shown how good a songwriter she is. She can also craft songs overflowing with lyrical content and delivered with the intensity of ‘Pedestrian at Best’. It was her song-writing that was the undoubted strength behind her debut album and albums to come.

 

2. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (20%)

Joshua Tillman is a wonderful enigma and it is gloriously demonstrated in his song-writing. He was able to fit a satire of an entire nation into a simple piano ballad with ‘Bored in the USA’ and made it beautifully tragic at the same time. In his second album as Father John Misty, he has conveyed Comedy, Tragedy, Love and sly Political Commentary amongst other things. He could seemingly take any topic and make it his own.

 

  1. Kendrick Lamar with Thundercat and Terrace Martin – To Pimp A Butterfly (

If you need to find out about the state of America and Modern Rap Music in 2015 then simply listen To Pimp A Butterfly for it will tell you all you need to know. Kendrick has brought Rap back to the sharp end of relevance and meaning and his tracks ooze Justifiable anger, frustration, observations, but also hope and respect. He includes self reflection, Racist Attitudes in America and the Motives of many of his fellow Rappers and Hip Hop artists. This album says so much simultaneously in a brutally honest and truthful fashion. Thundercat and Terrace Martin deserve an honourable mention for assisting Lamar more frequently than others too, but Kendrick Lamar has reinvigorated himself and an entire genre here.

This Week’s Music Video with Bjork, Father John Misty, Death Cab for Cutie & Bully

Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear Review

Baltimore’s finest nomad and singer-song writer Joshua Tillman has to decided to offer us up a second full length LP instalment from Father John Misty with I Love You, Honeybear. It’s been almost three years since his debut LP Fear Fun gave Tillman a very solid footing to his career as Father John Misty with wound up guitars and a deliberate lethargic filter that matched the tone of the vocals and lyrics about him. The drugged-up distortion of his debut effort will be hard to follow up, but pressure isn’t really something that fits into this guys vocabulary. He takes everything in his stride and if anything isn’t at his pace then he’s not interested. With this in mind the cliché of the difficult second album is a concept immune to him, but will this turn out to be an advantage or a hindrance?

The opening and title track introduces itself as a delicate American ballad with the gently rocking acoustic guitars and the thin layers of soaring strings from which Tillman’s vocals reverberate and sweep over. The simple and swooning track has subtle culminations of sound headed by the percussion and the wound up riffs. Though it doesn’t offer up much in the way of difference, it is produced and offered up with a small echo which only highlights every piece of familiarity and pulls it’s sound out a little more. A subtle change on nostalgia. ‘True Affection’ is very much an outlier when compared to the rest of the album’s sound and direction, but through the vocals and lyrics it still maintains the on-going feel and theme of the album with it’s lamentation of modern life and the relaxed, yet prominent vocal delivery atop of it. Featuring flashing and rotating electronica set around a shuffling drum sample and the disjointed backing vocal harmonies from Tillman himself, the track really has an almost patchy and ad-hoc construction that is brought into harmony by the lead vocals and delicate melodies forged from the mixed sound. The lyrics bemoaning modern technology really works well whilst set around the instrumental contradiction of the electronica whilst he asks for a “crazy conversation” instead of talking through various devices.

‘Bored in the USA’ is a wonderful and utterly delicate piece of piano music with mournful chords and solemn vocals that are loosely tied together with the wispy string sections and which climbs are matched by Tillman’s slick falsettos. From these come the brilliantly formed satire of the lyrics such as “Save me white/president Jesus” in one of the best pieces of song writing so far this year. ‘Ideal Husband’ is a more buoyant and rhythmic track with the rotating acoustic riffs and a organ film over the top of it. The song spirals in and out of these structures and are features Tillman’s more powerful vocal. ‘Chateau lobby #4’ and ‘The Night Josh Tillman Came to our Apartment’ are two more enigmatic takes upon the acoustic swoons that are the mainstay of this album. It’s an album with which the lyrics and production are the two main points of it’s worth with the music just something to hang it on, for as graceful and smooth as the music is. Amongst the satire and ironies there is quite a simplistic beauty to the music. It isn’t particularly innovative or ground-breaking, but it is wonderfully crafted and formed around what will be some of the best lyrical performances of 2015.

Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear = 8.5/10