i’ve got smoke in my lungs and a past life in my trunk

“Jesus Christ, girl.” At only three words into “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings“, the lead single off Fear Fun by Josh Tillman’s new project Father John Misty, it’s clear there’s something special happening. The reverb and strung-out-sunset hollowness crashing against Tillman’s vocal turns is like a car wreck – you can’t turn yourself away from what’s going on.

Tillman, formerly of Fleet Foxes, has a gorgeous voice. While he’s technically sound, it’s the charisma and humor creeping at the corners that pushes it to another level. The religious/cult leader implications of the Father John Misty moniker (“Joseph Campbell and The Rolling Stones / couldn’t give me a myth / so I had to write my own”) are apt; in person Tillman is handsome and witty but approachable, and both live and on record could sing the phone book and make it the most compelling thing happening in the room. You’ll happily follow him wherever he may go, and he goes everywhere.

“O I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me” is pretty and hymn-like; the man has an ear for the spirit. Lofty, too, is the apex of “Only Son of the Ladiesman”. “Teepees 1-12” is a country shaker, complete with fiddle dance hall swing. FJM brings to mind The Beatles a couple of times on the album, both with “This Is Sally Hatchet” and “I’m Writing a Novel” (which is a cross between “Pleasant Valley Sunday” by The Monkees and “The Ballad of John and Yoko” – a move that seems intentional based on the song’s lyrics). In general Tillman nods to the past but makes it sound new, a dusted-off find from deep in the vault and not some lame apery.

Every track on the record is solid, a rare find in a singles-driven industry. Unsurprising, though, considering “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” is a contender for favorite song of 2012. Fear Fun is an instant classic, prime for those sunny summer mornings and lazy front porch afternoons.

Fear Fun dropped 05.01.12.
Click to download “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” and “Nancy From Now On“.

february mp3 roundup

Bowerbirds – In the Yard
Sophia Knapp – Close to Me

Father John Misty (J. Tillman/Fleet Foxes) – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
White Fence (Darker My Love) – It Will Never Be (Edit)
Toro y Moi – Dead Pontoon
Patrick Watson – Into Giants
Evian Christ – Kings and Them EP

i wanna dance with somebody but i keep dancing on my own

“Fleet Foxes – Dancing On My Own (Robyn Cover) :: THIS IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.” You are right, Tumblr poster – it is too good to be true. First, the cover in question:

The unidentified man behind Fleet Foxes Sing is a vocal dead-wringer for FF’s Robin Pecknold and captures the band’s sound with 12 vocal overdubs and an acoustic guitar. What started as one cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” has grown to a small arsenal of solid pop songs stripped down to the raw emotion behind them. Fleet Foxes Sing has made all the songs available for free download on the FFS SoundCloud page, plus you can stream them below.