Big Inner is by far one of the more intriguing debut albums to come out this year: it’s equal parts experimental Beck, cynical Randy Newman, brooding The National and Big Easy celebrating Allen Toussaint. "Big Love" grooves with a percolating bass line and a fantastic jazzy piano hook that could have found a home on a Nina Simone album. It’s an arrangement that you want to stick around for as it bounces from “Tomorrow Never Knows” territory to a loose gospel-influenced call and response. Surely one of the better cuts of the year and coming from a man who looks like he could have been a cult leader. Check out the beautiful brass/string arrangement on the epic “Brazos”, one of the more enjoyable nearly 10:00 songs perhaps ever and surely a call to inherit Harry Nilsson’s long lost throne.
RIYL: Harry Nilsson, Beck, Randy Newman, Allen Toussaint, The National
I’ve been a fan of Josh Tillman since well… he was Josh Tillman. The beautiful “Steel on Steel” from Vacilando Territory Blues, his 2009 LP was what first caught my eye. However, Josh Tillman is a man of many hats as he’s been the drummer for Fleet Foxes and most recently, adorned the nom de plum Father John Misty and come out with his Sub Pop debut Fear Fun. It’s already gathered praise from indie greats like Blitzen Trapper and Dawes (whose bass player, Wylie Gelber was assistant producer on the album) and cuts through with sonic clarity that hasn’t felt so earnest in years. Tillman described the development of the album as “I got into my van with enough mushrooms to choke a horse and started driving down the coast with nowhere to go” yet the album itself doesn’t wander. “Nancy From Now On”, the second song on the album almost sounds like the bastard child of The Beach Boys, The BeeGees and Harry Nilsson but without either’s excess. A great song, and an equally great album. Plus, that album artwork is fantastic.
It’s Monday again, so you know what that means, time for a Mixtape Monday!
This week features some great songs from the likes of Harry Nilsson (and covers of), Fitz and the Tantrums, Ganglians, April Smith and the Great Picture Show, and many many more. Just a little taste before the rest of the post after the jump
Ron Sexsmith by himself is a great songwriter and an artist’s artist, having been praised by the likes of Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and Feist among others. To hear him cover an artist speaks volumes towards his respect of their work and Harry Nilsson is wistful and tuneful like McCartney and cynical like Lennon, and is a great choice; Sexsmith’s arrangement style and vocal play perfectly into this song.