As the second part of their guest post, Kasey and Matthew of Turntable Kitchen are sharing the music they feel pairs best with her Za’atar Pizza on Rosemary Crust. They’ve included a download link to the album so you can listen while you cook. I’ll let Matthew get into the specifics of J. Tillman (aka Father John Misty) and his new album, Fear Fun.
Even in an industry that isn’t known for convention, J. Tillman’s career as a musician is pretty unorthodox. His career initially sprouted in 2004 when his first tape found its way to songwriter Damien Jurado. Jurado, impressed by what he heard, invited Tillman to join him on tour. Since that time Tillman developed a loyal following after releasing a discography that included seven full length records and three EPs. Then, in 2008, Tillman joined the critically acclaimed indie-folk band Fleet Foxes as a drummer. For a professional musician, things looked pretty good for J. Tillman: he’d earned a following as a solo songwriter and was simultaneously a member of an increasingly well-loved and influential indie-rock band. So it was unexpected when Tillman abruptly announced that he was leaving Fleet Foxes and would henceforth release his solo music under the new moniker Father John Misty stating: “Back into the gaping maw of obscurity I go.”
It would seem like a fair presumption to imagine that Tillman selected the new nom de plume to symbolize his rebirth as a musician. It was within the context of this “rebirth” that his latest album, Fear Fun, recorded under the new moniker Father John Misty, was born. In a recent interview with Aquarium Drunkard, Tillman explained the necessity of this new beginning by explaining that he had “in a critical, singular, mind-altering moment of clarity became aware of this giant, blatantly fraudulent contradiction between my internal narrative, my conversational voice, my sense of humor – and singing about my pain like a f***ing decrepit wizard.” It wasn’t enough to just change the style of his music, but he also felt like this moment of self-awareness called for a change in the name of the project. Besides, as he explains in the lyrics of Fear Fun‘s closing track: “I never liked Joshua and I got tired of J.”
Fear Fun opens with the slow-winding folk-tinted Americana of “Fun Times in Babylon.” It’s a quietly shuffling tune with a harmony-heavy melody and a slow, pensive hand-clap spiked rhythm. It’s followed by the lyrically-wry, piano-led slow-burner “Nancy From Now On”. Although this opening duo of ragged ballads set the stage for the album, the album’s most immediate moment follows immediately thereafter with the mischievous first single “Hollywood Forever Cemetary Sings” with it’s grimy, raw guitar riffs and rootsy, restrained percussion. From that point, the album follows with a mixture of woodsy barn-burners (such as the floor-board stomping groove of “Writing a Novel”) and ghostly ballads (such as the darkly atmospheric “O, I Long To Feel Your Arms Around Me”).
Rustic and sparse, Fear Fun pairs well with Kasey’s Za’atar Pizza on Rosemary Crust. Indeed, both the album and the pizza are folksy and succeed, in part, because they are simple and uncomplicated, focusing on quality components. As a result, the album sets a perfect, complimentary ambiance for the meal that sonically spotlights the Zaatar and rosemary featured in the recipe.
Take a listen to the album here: Father John Misty – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
Fear Fun, scheduled for a May 1 release, is available for pre-order from Sub Pop.
For more recipes and music pairings, visit Kasey and Matthew at Turntable Kitchen