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FATHER JOHN MISTY

Father John Misty

Fear Fun - Reissue

    Father John Misty is the nom-de-plume of Josh Tillman, who has been recording and releasing solo albums under his own name since 2003 and who recently left Seattle’s Fleet Foxes after playing drums with them from 2008-2011.

    When discussing Father John Misty, Tillman paraphrases Philip Roth: “‘It’s all of me and none of me, if you can’t see that, you won’t get it.’”

    ‘Fear Fun’, Father John Misty’s album from 2012 and now available again through Sub Pop, began gestating during what Tillman describes as an “immobilizing period of depression” in his former Seattle home, when he had lost interest in songwriting and wound up finding his voice by writing a novel. After breaking from Seattle and settling in a spider-infested Laurel Canyon treehouse, Tillman spent months demoing songs, eventually liberating himself from his creative impasse. With the help of LA producer/songwriter/pal Jonathan Wilson, a wealth of talented musicians kicking around LA and producer Phil Ek (who everyone knows has worked with Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes), ‘Fear Fun’ blossomed into a fully-formed expression of Tillman’s unrestrained vision.

    ‘Fear Fun’ consists of such disparate elements as Waylon Jennings, Harry Nilsson, Arthur Russell, All Things Must Pass and Physical Graffiti, often within the same song. Tillman’s voice has never been better and often sounds like Roy Orbison at his most joyous, while the music maintains a dark, mysterious yet playful, almost Dionysian quality.

    Lyrically, his absurdist fever dreams of pain and pleasure elicit, in equal measures, the blunt descriptive power of Bukowski or Brautigan, the hedonist-philosophy of Oscar Wilde and the dried-out wit of Loudon Wainwright III.

    TRACK LISTING

    Funtimes In Babylon
    Nancy From Now On
    Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
    I’m Writing A Novel
    O I Long To Feel Your Arms Around Me
    Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2
    Only Son Of The Ladiesman
    This Is Sally Hatchet
    Well, You Can Do It Without Me
    Now I’m Learning To Love The War
    Tee Pees 1-12
    Everyman Needs A Companion

    Written largely in New York between Summer 2016 and Winter 2017, Josh Tillman’s fourth Father John Misty LP, ‘God’s Favorite Customer’, reflects on the experience of being caught between the vertigo of heartbreak and the manic throes of freedom.

    God’s Favorite Customer reveals a bittersweetness and directness in Tillman’s songwriting, without sacrificing any of his wit or taste for the absurd. From “Mr. Tillman,” where he trains his lens on his own misadventure, to the cavernous pain of estrangement in “Please Don’t Die,” Tillman plays with perspective throughout to alternatingly hilarious and devastating effect. “We’re Only People (And There’s Not Much Anyone Can Do About That)” is a meditation on our inner lives and the limitations we experience in our attempts to give and receive love. It stands in solidarity with the title track, which examines the ironic relationship between forgiveness and sin. Together, these are songs that demand to know either real love or what comes after, and as the album progresses, that entreaty leads to discovering the latter’s true stakes.

    God's Favorite Customer was produced by Tillman and recorded with Jonathan Rado, Dave Cerminara, and Trevor Spencer. The album features contributions from Haxan Cloak, Natalie Merring of Weyes Blood, longtime collaborator Jonathan Wilson, and members of Misty’s touring band.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Andy says: Tillman segues into Beck territory a little here, with falsetto harmonies and jagged college-rock melodies, tastefully accentuated with staggered percussion and swooning loungey piano. As ever, FJM smashes out another killer album, conceptually clever and brilliantly accomplished, exactly as you'd expect.

    TRACK LISTING

    1 Hangout At The Gallows
    2 Mr. Tillman
    3 Just Dumb Enough To Try
    4 Date Night
    5 Please Don't Die
    6 The Palace
    7 Disappointing Diamonds Are The Rarest Of Them All
    8 God's Favorite Customer
    9 The Songwriter
    10 We're Only People (And There's Not Much Anyone Can Do About That)

    Since 2012, Father John Misty, aka Josh Tillman, has unexpectedly emerged as a singular (if not undeniably, um, idiosyncratic) voice. Whether by virtue of his lyrics, which routinely defy the presumed polarities of wit and empathy; his live performances which may perhaps be described best as “intimately berzerk”, or the infuriating line he seems to occupy between canny and total fraud online or in interviews, Father John Misty has cultivated a rare space for himself in the musical landscape - that of a real enigma. Pure Comedy sees Tillman at the height of these powers: as a lyricist, and equally so a cultural observer - at times bordering on freakishly prescient. Tillman’s bent critiques, bared humanity and gently warped classic songwriting are all here in equal measure and - at 75 minutes - there’s a veritable fuck ton of it. The album navigates themes of progress, technology, fame, the environment, politics, aging, social media, human nature, human connection and his own role in it all with his usual candour, and in terms as timely as they are timeless.

    Tillman wrote the majority of Pure Comedy throughout 2015 and recorded all the basic tracking and vocals live to tape (in no more than two takes each) at United Studios (fka the legendary Ocean Way Studios, favored by Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys) in Los Angeles March 2016.

    Pure Comedy was co-produced once again by Josh Tillman and long-time producer Jonathan Wilson; mixed by Tillman, Wilson and Trevor Spencer, and mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios. The album features string, horn and choral arrangements from classical iconoclast Gavin Bryars (Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet, Sinking Of The Titanic), with additional contributions from Nico Muhly and Thomas Bartlett.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Pure Comedy
    2. Total Entertainment Forever
    3. Things It Would Have Been Helpful To Know Before The Revolution
    4. Ballad Of The Dying Man
    5. Birdie
    6. Leaving LA
    7. A Bigger Paper Bag
    8. When The God Of Love Returns There’ll Be Hell To Pay
    9. Smoochie
    10. Two Wildly Different Perspectives
    11. The Memo
    12. So I’m Growing Old On Magic Mountain
    13. In Twenty Years Or So

    STANDARD VINYL EDITION, with a gatefold jacket with black vinyl and fold-out poster, featuring a collage of Emma Tillman’s intimate photos, designed by Alia Penner and an extensive “Exercises for Listening” written by Josh Tillman

    CD EDITION, which includes fold-out poster, featuring a collage of Emma Tillman’s intimate photos, designed by Alia Penner and an extensive “Exercises for Listening” written by Josh Tillman

    'I Love You, Honeybear' is the highly-anticipated follow up to his acclaimed debut, Fear Fun. The album, featuring “Bored In The USA,” “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins),” “True Affection,” and the title track, was produced by Josh Tillman and Jonathan Wilson, mixed by Phil Ek, and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Andy says: Americana's answer to Jarvis Cocker, Josh Tillman uses his FJM persona to tease and torment (and behave like the coolest, sexiest, superstar ever!) whilst behind the guise casually writing some of this year's greatest songs! It's a superb record and a huge hit.

    TRACK LISTING

    01 I Love You, Honeybear
    02 Chateau Lobby #4 (in C For Two Virgins)
    03 True Affection
    04 The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.
    05 When You’re Smiling And Astride Me
    06 Nothing Good Ever Happens At The Goddamn Thirsty Crow
    07 Strange Encounter
    08 The Ideal Husband
    09 Bored In The USA
    10 Holy Shit
    11 I Went To The Store One Day


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