#14 on the 2012 Musical Bacon Calendar
Fear Fun by Father John Misty
Sometimes not starting out on center stage is a good thing. Dave Grohl, Jonny Greenwood, Phil Collins (sorta) — all of these guys started out as second fiddle, only to reach great acclaim as a solo artist by coming out from behind the shadow of their lead singers.
Josh Tillman, known as “J. Tillman” in fave-of-the-Bacon-Review Fleet Foxes, is working on his own claim to fame. After coming out with a couple of solo albums before his stint in the Foxes, to little notice, Tillman has rebranded himself Father John Misty. And as silly as that name is, it’s turning out to be a brilliant move.
Having seen the Foxes a few times, I’ve gotten to see Tillman’s sense of humor via the between-song banter. The guy is damn funny. So I have to assume that the new moniker is intentionally ridiculous. I will not try to defend it. But the music Tillman has produced under the new moniker is worlds above anything prior.
About the only thing Tillman brings over from the Foxes (with whom he wrote very little) is reverb. You won’t find any 5-man harmonies here. What you get is a traditional folk-rock album with a little southern twang thrown in, making the whole thing feel as if it belongs in a different era.
But then you listen to it a few times, you start to learn the lyrics and are struck by how dark the album is. Tillman must be haunted by some pretty evil demons. Watch the above video, for “Nancy From Now On.” There’s a dominatrix, some uncomfortableness, and even a physical manifestation of Tillman leaving the past behind, in the form of his locks being sheared off.
And if the video above doesn’t make you cringe enough, you can check out the other two videos from Fear Fun, each of which presents the dark lyrics from Tillman’s songs in a visually arresting manner. There’s the lovely Aubrey Plaza, acting our her aggressions, only to be thrown into the back of a “child molester” van by a barefoot Tillman for the song “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings.” Or the hyper-violent video for “This Is Sally Hatchet,” in which Josh, his finger gushing blood from an apparent shotgun wound, cuts that finger off with a pizza cutter. Good times.
Overall, this album feels like only a beginning. Tillman is going to be making music for a long time, and he’s just getting started. Get in on the ground floor.
15. Love This Giant by David Byrne and St. Vincent
16. To The Treetops! by Team Me
17. The Master: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood
18. There’s No Leaving Now by The Tallest Man On Earth
19. Transcendental Youth by The Mountain Goats
20. A Church That Fits Our Needs by Lost In The Trees
21. Hospitality by Hospitality
22. Free Dimensional by Diamond Rings 23. History Speaks by Deep Sea Diver
24. A Different Ship by Here We Go Magic
25. Negotiations by the Helio Sequence
26. Moms by Menomena
27. The Sound of the Life of the Mind by Ben Folds Five
28. Shields by Grizzly Bear
29. Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun by The Wooden Sky
30. Fragrant World by Yeasayer
31. Reign of Terror by Sleigh Bells