The last two years were good ones for Josh Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty. The former Fleet Foxes drummer released his first FJM album, Fear Fun, toured the heck out of it, got married, and hit the road again with what he called a “variety show” tour (performances included a scantily clad woman wearing a giant bunny head as he tried out new songs).
Tillman has since taken a well-deserved break — or so we thought. Ostensibly holed up to work on his sophomore album, he actually never went away; he’s just letting the psychedelic ringleader persona of Father John Misty take a backseat while he collaborates with other artists in unexpected places.
Since his last tour, here’s where Tillman has been spotted:
Lending vocals to “Laughtrack” by Botany
Tillman is at his folksy, surrealist best (lyrics include: “The actor in the rabbit suit is beaming with pride” — hmmm…) over dreamy beats by Texas-born electronic artist Botany, aka Spencer Stephenson. Botany’s debut album Lava Diviner (Truestory) came out on Oct. 29, but “Laughtrack” didn’t make the cut. Still, you can stream it here:
Scoring The History of Caves by Emma Elizabeth Tillman
Tillman wrote the music for his photographer wife’s directorial debut, a short film about the fractured relationships of a family in the Hollywood Hills. FJM’s label, Sub Pop, released the film’s soundtrack as a limited-edition Record Store Day LP last November. It quickly sold out, but you can stream the 10 tracks here:
Accompanying Beck on Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show
Beck’s breakout album Mellow Gold turned 20 the same day he played Saturday Night Live for the seventh time. On March 1, he played two tracks, “Blue Moon” and “Wave,” off his new album, Morning Phase. Surprise: His band includes Josh Tillman.
If SNL weren’t enough, Tillman then popped up backing Beck on “Waking Light” and “Say Goodbye” on The Tonight Show on Wednesday:
Singing “The Angry River” on the finale of True Detective
Music supervisor T Bone Burnett’s exceptionally well-curated soundtrack for the show includes a song Burnett himself co-wrote the music and lyrics for which closed the season finale; it’s a haunting coda made even more stirring by Tillman’s meditative vocals.
Alas, Tillman may now go into true AWOL mode as he prepares for that next album. Sub Pop confirms he is currently working on new material for the Father John Misty followup, but there is no scheduled release date for the record.