NEW MUSIC: Father John Misty Announces New LP ‘Pure Comedy’.

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Father John Misty (Josh Tillman) is back with the follow-up to his acclaimed album I Love You, Honeybear. Titled Pure Comedy, the album is due out on April 7th via Sub Pop and Inertia Music and features co-production with Jonathan Wilson, string arrangements by Gavin Bryars and other contributions from Nico Muhly and Thomas Bartlett. The mastering was done by the legendary Bob Ludwig.

Tracklisting:

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

Pure Comedy is available for pre-order now, in the following formats:

  • A Deluxe 2xLP version on aluminum & copper vinyl, a die-cut customisable jacket with 4 interactive “Background” sleeves (so you can have whatever sky you damn will feel like as the cover), all encased in a clear clipcase. Includes a fold-out poster and an exclusive holographic tarot card by Ed Steed.
  • A 2xLP gatefold version also available in 4 cover variations on black vinyl
  • A CD gatefold digipak with slipcase available in 4 cover variations
  • As digital album

Cover variations for the standard LP and CD will be randomly distributed. Collect them all!

Pre-orders through select retailers will receive a limited 7” single, featuring physical release of fan favourite ‘Real Love Baby’ on the A-side and the as yet unreleased track, ‘Rejected Generic Pop Song, March ‘15#3’ on the B-side (while supplies last).

Tillman and Grant James (‘Funtimes in Babylon’, ‘I Love You, Honeybear’) also co-directed Pure Comedy: The Film.  Pure Comedy is a gorgeously rendered black & white document of the live tracking, as well as a surreal look into Tillman’s writing process.  A six person crew, complete with cranes in the tracking rooms, captured every moment of the recording, giving the viewer intimate audience to actual album takes, including the one and only 2:00am performance of the 13-minute ‘Leaving LA’.  It also features the only known recording of Tillman’s love ballad to his sound engineer Trevor Spencer.

INTERVIEW: Father John Misty – Waking From The Intellectual Dream

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The transformative effects of romance, intimacy and self-acceptance form the backbone of Josh Tillman’s second album under the moniker Father John Misty. From his home in New Orleans Tillman looks back with Chris Familton on the two years it took to write and record I Love You Honeybear.

“I think I have some clarity in terms of what was going on that I didn’t have at the time. I think I went into the process thinking I was doing one thing and once the album was done I think there was an initial shock where I was horrified at the reality of what I’d actually done. I told myself going into this thing that there was all this talk that I was going to make an album about love, that it’s wasn’t going to be cliched and I was going to take down the white stag of writing love songs. It was just garbage. On the other side of it I now realise I’ve made this vulnerable album about myself. “

“I could have stayed where I was with Fear Fun and to be honest that was part of what made this album difficult to begin with because I did want to keep with that way of thinking and method of working because it had worked. I can admit that that was the only success I’d ever really had. In a creative sense I was thinking I’d done it, all I had to do was just stay there but it was miserable and just didn’t work. The arrangements wouldn’t stick and the soufflé wouldn’t rise. At some point my wife Emma told me that this is a different type of song and you can’t be afraid to let these songs be beautiful. That was the lightbulb moment for me. This thing is going to succeed or fail on that. People will either want to hear a beautiful song from me or not hear a beautiful song from me.”

For all the soul searching and personal self-help that Tillman subjects himself to there is a sense of imagination and exuberant creativity when it comes to the diverse arrangements and instrumentation on the recordings.

“To some extent there was some kind of freudian bartering going on in my subconscious. I can be this vulnerable but I’ll get away with it by creating this huge schmaltzy din, this Disney kind of orchestration. That’s my sound, this conflict between sincerity and self-criticism. There are these competing voices. The voice of confession and me wanting to own my own experiences and feel my own pain. Then there is this competing voice saying “Are you serious, are you really going to write that?”. It’s chaos, this relationship between the lyrics and the music.”

Many people thought Josh Tillman was taking on a character when he took on Father John Misty but the reality is he was revealing his true experiences and emotions in his songs.

“If we’re going to stick with this theme of transformation, I’m writing about a different me. There is no Father John Misty character or something. It’s Josh Tillman who is a human who evolves and changes. Part of why I wanted to keep some of the more grotesque parts of the album was because I wanted there to be context in these songs, if they are about transformation people need to know what or where that change comes from. It’s not a fantasy, there is no fantasy on the album.”

this review was first published in The Music

ALBUM REVIEW: Father John Misty | Fear Fun

by Chris Familton

Many will know Josh Tillman as the ex drummer for Fleet Foxes but for those who have followed his solo work over seven albums of stark folk music will know him better as a fine purveyor of intimate and emotional songwriting in the vein of Will Oldham, Vic Chesnutt and Damien Jurado. Now Tillman has taken lead from Oldham (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) and taken on the moniker Father John Misty, changed tack with his music and as a result delivered an album brimming with humour, melodies and bristling with personality.

The first single Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings makes a clear statement about Tillman’s change in style. This is a shift from introspection to maximalist and outward looking music. The drums are splashy and reverb-laden with Tillman singing boldly and full chested. His voice works in the same way as those of his fellow travelers in Fleet Foxes with that mix of folk, sweet indie and americana, with a choral quality that always sounds like he is singing in a large empty church, the notes reaching for the rafters.

The bountiful melodic richness on the album is one of the best things about it with the 70s West Coast songwriter boom playing a big part in shaping the way Tillman approaches his vocals. Well You Can Do It Without Me has a distinct Harry Nilsson vibe complete with whistling and the obvious influence of Nilsson pops up at numerous points throughout the record.

Nancy From Now On bears a striking resemblance to the recently feted John Grant, another who is capable of delivering wicked lines like ‘Pour me another drink and punch me in the face, you can call me Nancy’. That streak of dark wit helps Fear Fun avoid becoming too serious and as seen by his performance of Only Son Of The Ladiesman on Letterman, Father John Misty has allowed Tillman to embrace and celebrate sly humour in his songwriting that was previously absent or well hidden.

Listening to Fear Fun also brings to mind the work of Grant Lee Phillips, another singer capable of gorgeous falsetto melodies that complement the grainier lower levels of his register which Tillman utilises on the americana shuffle of I’m Writing A Novel. Both singers also share an obvious love for folk, gospel and country music without settling into cliched rehashes of either genre.

The production and musical contribution from Laurel Canyon ‘man of the moment’ Jonathan Wilson is crucial in the success and downright fun of the album. He has given Tillman a wonderful warm sound that harks back to classic analog recordings from the 70s, judicially using piano, guitar, violin and percussion only where it is needed. He has allowed space in the songs for all the notes to hang in the air and interact with very little clutter or over production.

it will be interesting to see if this Tillman sees this new direction as a permanent vehicle for his music or if he will continue to release stark, folk styled songs under his own name. Either way the listener is rewarded handsomely with Father John Misty’s Fear Fun, an album of joyful, celebratory sounding music with hooks aplenty and a clever thread of dark humour woven into it.

 this review was first published on FasterLouder