Father John Misty has a lot of fun on ‘Fear Fun’

Bored again: Joshua Tillman does not seem amused by the muses.

“Fear Fun” is the debut by Father John Misty, but the man behind the moniker, Joshua Tillman, has been putting out albums for the past eight years, recording as a member of Fleet Foxes, Saxon Shore and on his own as J. Tillman. These previous efforts, mostly characterized by their solemnity, bear little resemblance to his recent outpouring of manic psychedelic folk.

“I was obliged to make some changes after some realizations that I had about myself,” says Tillman. “I was on autopilot for a few years with the J. Tillman thing.”

On “Fear Fun,” the songs ooze with an exuberance of being born again, but for Father John Misty that doesn’t necessarily mean a pious awakening. Against some of the same warm quilts of harmony that make Fleet Foxes sound so comforting, Tillman sings words that are frank and funny and often deal with sex and drugs. If it weren’t for this content, you could almost picture him dancing to these funky songs with some groovy monster on “The Muppet Show.”

His voice is one of confidence and clarity, and against the dark decadence of his lyrics, it blurs the line between reverence and irreverence.

As opposed to the bleak and serious artwork on his solo records, the album art on “Fear Fun” is deeply hallucinogenic with liner notes inside that provide commentary and peculiar subtitles for each song.

Tillman says coming up with this part of the album was a cathartic process.

“I was just sick of identifying myself as a songwriter and subsequently like a failure of a songwriter or something,” he says. “Around that time, the sound of an acoustic guitar made me nauseous, like I couldn’t even deal with it, and so I left Seattle and I just wanted to get back to my humanity. And it’s funny because with songwriting, you get so used to only pulling from certain aspects of your imagination or your emotional quotient. You get so used to farming from these very specific parts of yourself that at some point you start to believe that those are the only parts of yourself that have substance or worth. I was just sort of sick of feeling like a one-dimensional entity in terms of creativity, so I started writing up the book that’s in the album and I wasn’t beholden to these aesthetic parameters that I was musically. I quickly discovered what I perceived to be far more engaging in that medium, creatively. I was laughing a lot the whole time I was writing.”

Nothing is sacred

In addition to the new name that Father John Misty has ordained himself with, “Fear Fun” teems with references to biblical figures and holy places. But Tillman says nothing is sacred here.
  
“Really, it just kind of aligns with my sensibilities of what I think is funny,” he says. “I do think music that is popular right now is so insubstantial, and there is very little acknow- ledgement of prevalent images or mythology. … I know that religion is like an antiquated thing, but it still, for whatever reason, really resonates with people, and the subversion of those images resonates. It’s not out of devotion, but if I’m going to write from my conversational voice, there’s tons of that s—rattling around in my brain just from my formative years and I really get some enjoyment out of subverting conventional wisdom regarding those symbols.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Local

NYPD looking for lewd D train rider

The NYPD is enlisting the public’s help to find a man they say performed a lewd act on the D train Saturday evening. The incident…

Entertainment

QUIZ: How many English words do you actually…

Are you as smart as you say you are? Are you a word nerd? Take this quick vocabulary test to find out if you're a true wordsmith. Good luck.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

Entertainment

Cymbals Eat Guitars Have Everything to 'LOSE'

At its most basic level, a rock band can be thought of as a family, a group of people selflessly devoted to a cause. When…

Entertainment

"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: Episode 4, 'Week Four'

Some things are hard to watch in a “Human Centipede” sort of way. Other things in an “American History X” sort of way. Does “Bachelor…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…

Wellbeing

Working your way to type 2 diabetes: Job…

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, a stressful job can be as risky for your health as a bad diet and no exercise. A…