Joshua Tillman has a far more extensive discography than anyone vaguely familiar with his Father John Misty project and prior Fleet Foxes involvement might imagine. Since 2004, he’s released 9 solo LPs on various labels, as well as providing the soundtrack for his wife Emma’s 2013 film The History of Caves. With 2009’s Vacilando Territory Blues, his intelligent brand of deep woods rock earned some success on its own terms, but it was his teaming up with Fleet Foxes that really brought him and his sounds to any kind of prominence. It was financial necessity rather than hunger for success that drove Tillman to that band though; he needed to pay the bills, the band members were his friends, and it seemed like a better option than taking on some other 9-5.
Being the drummer and harmoniser for a band he didn’t start was never going to be enough for Tillman, however, and 2012’s Fear Fun re-announced Tillman to the world under new auspices and a refined sound. That album smacked of his trademark humour and intelligence, not least on standout ‘Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings’, but if live YouTube recordings of new material, his letter about the new album and, indeed, this new track are anything to go by, next year’s I Love You, Honeybear is destined to take him to a plain all his own.
‘Bored In The USA’ finds him repurposing Springsteen for a generation too jaded for outright celebration, whose various problems have been articulated and undermined ad nauseum to the point where they deserve nothing more than laughter, which itself can’t even bother being anything other than canned and artificial, a manufactured response to a Leno one-liner. “I’ve got all morning to obsessively accrue / A small nation of meaningful objects, and they’ve got to represent me too,” he sings, voice dripping in post-irony.
According to Tillman, I Love You, Honeybear concerns itself with “sex, violence, profanity and excavations of the male psyche”. No meagre subjects, but listen to the track below to see just how up to it he sounds.