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Alternative & Indie - Released June 1, 2018 | Bella Union

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Scarcely a year after Pure Comedy (2017), Josh Tillman, alias Father John Misty, is already back. While he takes over the production, the former Fleet Foxes drummer finds himself in the studio with his favourite follower: Jonathan Wilson, the Laurel Canyon bard who strives to repopularise the beauty of the classic rock of the seventies. But also Jonathan Rado of Foxygen. With God’s Favorite Customer, Papa John, the son of strict evangelists, brings us thirteen short folk-rock vignettes. Veering from a string of piano ballads (The Palace, The Songwriter) and some straightforward and finely-orchestrated rock (Just Dumb Enough To Try), our songwriter has drawn a straight line from his previous work. It's sentimentalist, but more serious. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 7, 2017 | Bella Union

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Like anything that comes out of the mouth of Father John Misty -- the hipster gadfly persona Josh Tillman adopted after leaving the Fleet Foxes in 2012 -- it can be difficult to discern whether the title of Pure Comedy is intended sincerely. Father John Misty cherishes his public role as a prankster, a stance that can sometimes seem at odds with his grand artistic ambitions. And, make no mistake about it, Pure Comedy is indeed a very grand record, an old-fashioned major statement designed to evoke memories of classic long-players from the '70s. Often, its stately march and decorated pianos call to mind early Elton John, suggesting the hazy vistas of Madman Across the Water. This shift toward progressive pop underscores how Father John Misty has streamlined his music since I Love You, Honeybear, whittling away the minor feints toward modern music and stripping away lingering rustic folk influences. He's now a postmodern troubadour, halfway between a song poet and a baroque craftsman. Where his antecedents (and clear influences) Leonard Cohen and Randy Newman sculpted their music and words, Tillman isn't quite so restrained. He's a maximalist, overstuffing his lyrics with florid imagery and letting his songs spill out at lengths up to 13 minutes. From a certain angle, all this can play like an elaborate stunt -- particularly when he baits the listener with lines about "bedding Taylor Swift" -- but there's a strong melancholy undercurrent to Pure Comedy that suggests Father John Misty is something more than a jester. All of this can be felt through the music itself -- through the melodies and movement, through the arrangement and production -- and that, more than the verbal gymnastics, is why Pure Comedy delivers upon much of Father John Misty's outlandish promises. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 9, 2015 | Bella Union

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
On 2012's Fear Fun, Josh Tillman introduced audiences to Father John Misty, a jaded and erudite, faux-bohemian retro-pop confectioner with a strong surrealist bent and an aptitude for capturing the American zeitgeist via wry couplets concerning the culturally and morally ambiguous wasteland of southern California. That penchant for gutter-highbrow confessionalism still looms large on his second long player, the lyrically and musically bold, and often quite beautiful, I Love You, Honeybear, but the drug-addled, disaffected Laurel Canyon drifter who served as the cruise director on Fear Fun has been replaced by a man trying to come to terms with the discombobulating effects of love, especially as it applies to his nihilistic alter-ego, which is mercilessly stripped of that ego throughout the 11-song set. The newly married Tillman is not incapable of self-effacing satire (witness the exhaustive "Exercises for Listening" instructional pamphlet, which is worth the price of the album alone), but he peppers those bone-wry moments ("I wanna take you in the kitchen/Lift up your wedding dress someone was probably murdered in," from the dizzying, weepy strings and cavernous percussion-laden title cut) with instances of real soulful brevity ("For love to find us of all people/I'd never thought it'd be so simple," from the exquisite, sparse, heartfelt closer "I Went to the Store One Day") -- the ballsy "Ideal Husband," a frantic laundry list of past digressions, best supports both predilections. Produced with great care once again by Jonathan Wilson, Honeybear has the architecture of its predecessor, but features braver melodic choices, and at a pure pop level, is the far more challenging LP of the two, but it rewards the listener constantly, whether it's delivering the yin and the yang via electro-pop tomfoolery ("True Affection"), '70s soul-pop schmaltz ("When You're Smiling and Astride Me"), or straight-up Randy Newman-inspired socio/political balladry ("Bored in the USA"), the latter of which even manages to incorporate a laugh track. Whether Tillman is maturing into the Father John Misty persona or vice versa is still up for debate, but there's no denying his growth as an artist, and I Love You, Honeybear, despite the occasional double entendre, is as powerful a statement about love in the vacuous, social media-obsessed early 21st century as it is a denouement of the detached hipster charlatan. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 30, 2012 | Bella Union

As J. Tillman, indie folk crooner Joshua Tillman painted sparse, often melancholic fever dreams that paired the wounded isolation of Nick Drake with the star-crossed country romanticism of Gram Parsons, a sensibility he also brought to the table as the drummer and backing vocalist for Seattle's Fleet Foxes. His latest incarnation, Father John Misty, adds Harry Nilsson and Skip Spence to the mix, skillfully imbuing the woodsy Pacific Northwest bark of the Foxes with a patina of vintage Laurel Canyon-inspired bohemia. Fear Fun opens with "Funtimes in Babylon," one of three tracks, including "Only Son of the Ladiesman" and "Everyman Needs a Companion," closely echoing the hymnlike sonic breadth of his former band. All three cater to his strong, clear voice, which sounds like a cross between Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon) and Jonathan Meiburg (Shearwater/Okkervil River), but it's tracks two and three that provide the album with its most transcendent moments. "Nancy from Now On," with its shambling protagonist ("Pour me another drink and punch me in the face"), likable gait, and legitimate yacht rock chorus, is a triumph of both style and substance, while the thick and brooding "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings," which ceaselessly wonders "Jesus Christ girl/What are people going to think?" amidst a wall of wet distortion and appropriately thunderous drums, benefits from singer/songwriter/Laurel Canyon scene revivalist Jonathan Wilson's warm and spacious production. Fear Fun's deft mix of folly and grandeur strikes a nice balance between the over the top hippie shenanigans of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and the vapid, calculated debauchery of Lana Del Ray, painting the artist as a self-destructive/deprecating Californian gadfly with one foot in the Salton Sea and the other in the lobby of the Chateau Marmont. ~ James Christopher Monger
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 27, 2008 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 28, 2009 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2010 | Western Vinyl

Released in 2010, Singing Ax is essentially the J. Tillman album to end all J. Tillman albums. It's an unapologetic return to the sparsity of his earliest works, and a lyrical and vocal culmination: lyrics replete with imagery and poetic narrative, and a storytelling-style delivery that's still intimate but more purposeful than the most delicate moments of his past records. It's also Josh Tillman's last solo effort before dropping the J. Tillman moniker with its pensive, intensely raw lyrics and performances, leaving his drumming gig with Fleet Foxes, and adopting the alias Father John Misty for more outward-projecting vocals and content. Recorded by In Utero-producing legend Steve Albini, Singing Ax is unvarnished but sturdy. The spare accompaniment of acoustic guitar and thumps for the opening track, "Three Sisters," sets a quiet, serious tone for the album that doesn't falter. The song is a solo spiritual of sorts; a parable employing Biblical phrases like "want of wealth" and "beasts of the field and birds of the air." As with his previous release, Year in the Kingdom, Biblical language and references abound on the record, befitting its poetic, timeless lyrics, such as on the title track: "And there's no prophet on the mount whose words won't be drowned out/By our locust fingers clicking never-ending in our laps/We traded in divine inheritance to break our pagan masks." Tillman's typically elegant melodies are also intact here, like on the lilting "Our Beloved Tyrant" and the foot-tapping "Tillman's Rag," with its diminished chords and gliding, syncopated vocal line. The end of a chapter in his career, Singing Ax's final track, "A Seat at the Table," could be a salute to his adept but underappreciated solo output under the J. Tillman name: "I wanted to build a monument here/With my face in the dirt and my hands in the air/But no one came and no one cared/So I gathered my bricks and I disappeared." ~ Marcy Donelson
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Alternative & Indie - Released April 18, 2018 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 21, 2018 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 25, 2017 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 26, 2016 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 1, 2017 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 4, 2014 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 30, 2018 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 6, 2017 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 8, 2014 | Bella Union

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 26, 2010 | Western Vinyl

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