Poor Moon is Christian Wargo (Fleet Foxes, Crystal Skulls) Casey Wescott (Fleet Foxes, Crystal Skulls) and brothers Ian and Peter Murray (The Christmas Cards). The band, named for frontman and primary songwriter Christian Wargo’s favorite Canned Heat song, began four years ago as a long-distance project with demos being created and sent back and forth while Wargo and Wescott were touring in support of the Fleet Foxes 2008 self-titled debut and Ian and Peter living in the Bay area. Their first shows were at intimate Seattle house parties where they used playful throwaway monikers like Rabbit Kingdom and Cookie Mask. It wasn’t until the band opened up for Deakin at Seattle’s Neumos (under the name Peppermint Majesty) that things began to really take form. Recording began and the four longtime friends became a band and Sub Pop didn’t hesitate to pursue them with unabashed enthusiasm. And it worked.
Illusion was recorded in a variety of bedrooms, practice spaces, the Murray residence, as well as AVAST! and Fastback studios in Seattle, Washington with the help of engineer Jared Hankins with guest performances by many a musician friend.
Poor Moon 2012 US Tour Dates
03/20 La Jolla CA @ UCSD – The Loft w/ Lost in the Trees
03/22 Los Angeles CA@ The Echo w/ Lost in the Trees
03/23 San Francisco CA @ Bottom of The Hill w/ Lost in the Trees
03/24 Arcata CA @ Arcata Playhouse w/ Lost in the Trees
03/25 Portland OR @ Doug Fir Lounge w/ Lost in the Trees
03/27 Seattle WA @ Tractor Tavern w/ Lost in the Trees
03/28 Boise ID @ Neurolux w/ Lost in the Trees
03/29 Salt Lake City UT @ The State Room w/ Lost in the Trees
03/30 Denver CO @ Hi Dive w/ Lost in the Trees
03/31 Omaha NE @ Slowdown Jr. w/ Lost in the Trees
04/02 Minneapolis MN @ Cedar Cultural Centre w/ Lost in the Trees
04/03 Chicago IL @ Schubas w/ Lost in the Trees
04/04 Evanston IL @ Space w/ Lost in the Trees
04/05 Columbus OH @ Wexner Center w/ Lost in the Trees
04/06 Toronto ON @ The Drake Hotel w/ Lost in the Trees
04/07 Montreal QC @ Il Motore w/ Lost in the Trees
04/09 Burling VT @ Burlington City Arts Center w/ Lost in the Trees
04/10 Portland ME @ Space w/ Lost in the Trees
04/11New York NY @ Le Poisson Rouge w/ Lost in the Trees
04/13 Boston MA @ Museum of Fine Arts, Boston w/ Lost in the Trees
04/14 Washington DC @ Black Cat Backstage w/ Lost in the Trees
04/16 Cleveland OH @ Beachland Tavern
4/18 Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
4/20 Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium
On May 1st we are releasing the debut effort from Father John Misty. You can watch the new video for the track “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” starring Aubrey Plaza of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, Sundance Film Festival Hit “Safety Not Guaranteed” and the upcoming “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III” by clicking here. The video was directed by Noel Paul.
Like what you hear & see? You can chat with frontman Josh Tillman talk about his music, live today at 3 pm PST.
Feb 29 – new parish – oakland
March 3 grass valley – center for the arts
March 4 santa cruz – crepe place
Read About Fear Fun
When discussing ‘Father John Misty’, Tillman paraphrases Philip Roth: ’It’s all of me and none of me, if you can’t see that, you won’t get it’. What I call it is totally arbitrary, but I like the name. You’ve got to have a name. I never got to choose mine."
He goes on, “‘People who make records are afforded this assumption by the culture that their music is coming from an exclusively personal place, but more often than not what you hear are actually the affectations of an ’alter-ego’ or a cartoon of an emotionally heightened persona,” says Josh Tillman, who has been recording/releasing solo albums since 2003 and who recently left Seattle’s Fleet Foxes after playing drums from 2008-2011. “That kind of emotional quotient isn’t sustainable if your concern is portraying a human-being made up of more than just chest-beating pathos. I see a lot of rampant, sexless, male-fantasy everywhere in the music around me. I didn’t want any alter-egos, any vagaries, fantasy, escapism, any over-wrought sentimentality. I like humor and sex and mischief. So when you think about it, it’s kind of mischievous to write about yourself in a plain-spoken, kind of explicitly obvious way and call it something like ‘Misty’. I mean, I may as well have called it ‘Steve’”.
Musically, “Fear Fun” consists of such disparate elements as Waylon Jennings, Harry Nilsson, Arthur Russell, “All Things Must Pass,” and “Physical Graffiti,” often within the same song. Tillman’s voice has never been better and often sounds like Roy Orbison, “The Caruso of Rock”, at his most joyous, while the music maintains a dark, mysterious and yet conversely playful, almost Dionysian quality. Lyrically, his absurdist fever dreams of pain and pleasure elicit, in equal measures, the blunt descriptive power of Bukowski or Brautigan, the hedonist-philosophy of Oscar Wilde and the dried-out wit of Loudon Wainwright III.
The album began gestating during what Tillman describes as an “immobilizing period of depression”, in his former Seattle home. “Songwriting for me had always only been interesting and necessary because I saw it as this vehicle for truth, but I had this realization that all I had really done with it was lick my wounds for years and years, and become more and more isolated from people and experiences. I don’t even like wound-licking music, I want to listen to someone rip their arm off and beat themselves with it. I don’t believe that until now I’ve ever put anything at risk in my music. I was hell-bent on putting my preciousness at stake in order to find something worth singing about.”
He continues, "I lost all interest in writing music, or identifying as a ‘songwriter’. I got into my van with enough mushrooms to choke a horse and started driving down the coast with nowhere to go. After a few weeks, I was writing a novel, which is where I finally found my narrative voice. The voice that is actually useful.
“It was a while before that voice started manifesting in a musical way, but once I settled in the Laurel Canyon spider-shack where I’m living now, I spent months demoing all these weird-ass songs about weird-ass experiences almost in real-time, and kind of had this musical ‘Oh-there-I-am’ moment, identical to how I felt when I was writing the book. It was unbelievably liberating. I knew there was never any going back to the place I was writing from before, which was a huge relief. The monkey got banished off my back.”
Tillman brought the demos to LA producer/songwriter/pal Jonathan Wilson, and in February 2011 began recording at his home-studio in Echo Park. "Initially, the idea was to just kind of recreate the demos with me playing everything, since they were pretty fleshed out and sounded cool, but a place like LA affords you a different wealth of talent, potential, etc than just about anywhere else. I realized what was possible between Jonathan’s abilities, and the caliber of musicians that are just hanging around LA, pretty quickly. People were coming in and out of the studio all day sometimes, and other days, it would just be Jonathan and I holed up, getting stoned, and doing everything.
“I was honest with myself about what music actually excites my joy-glands when I was considering the arrangements and instrumentation,” says Tillman. “As opposed to what’s been enjoyable to me in the past – namely, alienating people or making choices based on what I think people won’t like or understand. Pretty narcissistic stuff.”
When asked about Laurel Canyon, where he eventually ended up living in the aforementioned tree-house with a family of spiders, Tillman says, “My attitude about it all is pretty explicit in the record. Given my fairly adversarial personal attitude about the music and aesthetic that comes from that place, it’s kind of a huge joke that I live in a former hippie-fantasy land. I have a really morbid sense of humor.”
Phil Ek (who everyone knows has worked with Built To Spill, Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes) heard the rough versions of the album in May 2011 and offered his services to mix. “Phil and I have known each other for a while by virtue of Fleet Foxes, so he was familiar with my music, but we had never discussed working together. I think he immediately recognized the shift in my writing and singing from a producer and friend’s standpoint. His excitement is really evident in mixes, I think.”
Fear Fun is available May 1, 2012 from Sub Pop and Bella Union, in the US and UK/EU respectively.
Interviews by Richard Metzger and Casey Wescott
Written by Paula Zabrey, Jan. 2012
2011 was a stellar year for Shabazz Palaces, the sonic movement of Palaceer Lazaro (Ishmael Butler). The debut release, Black Up, was one of the most critically celebrated records of 2011, landing on the best of lists at SPIN, LA Times, The New Yorker, Pitchfork and more. Shabazz Palaces has no plans to slow down in 2012, announcing the group’s first official stateside touring, kicking off on April 3 in Minneapolis, with European dates preceding their North American tour.
To remind you how truly awesome Shabazz Palaces really is, we thought we would share with you the new video for the groups song “Are You… Can You… Were You…? (Felt)”, which was directed by Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes. You can watch the video above.
Shabazz Palaces Tour Dates:
Saturday, February 18, 2012 La Cave aux poetes, Roubaix France
Sunday, February 19, 2012 Stereolux, Nantes France
Monday February 20, 2012 Les Trinitaires, Metz France
Tuesday February 21, 2012 Strasbourg La Laiterie, France
Friday February 24, 2012 Palace, St Gallen Switzerland
Saturday, February 25, 2012 Stall 6, Zurich Switzerland
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 Astoria, Turin Italy
Thursday, March 01, 2012 Circolo degli Artisti, Rome Italy
Friday, March 02, 2012 Bronson, Ravenna Italy
Saturday, March 03, 2012 Studio 2, Vigonovo (Venezia) Italy
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 The Whole, Minneapolis MN (All Ages Show)
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 Mad Planet, Milwaukee WI
Thursday, April 5, 2012 Lincoln Hall, Chicago IL
Friday, April 6, 2012 Magic Stick, Detroit MI
Saturday, April 7, 2012 The Horn Gallery, Gambier OH
Sunday, April 2012 The Shadow Lounge, East Liberty PA
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 Lee’s Palace, Toronto ON
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 II Motore, Montreal QC
Thursday, April 12, 2012 Iron Horse, Northampton MA
Friday, April 13 2012 SOB’s, New York NY
Saturday, April 14, 2012 Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn NY
On March 13 we’re reissuing the first four long out-of-print albums from Australia’s feedtime in the form of both a 4 CD box set and a 4 LP box set. We’re calling it the Aberrant years. You can learn more about the band by clicking here. Listen to your new favorite feedtime songs according to Mark Arm in the player above.
On March 13, South African artist Spoek Mathambo will release his Sophomore effort & Sub Pop debut, Father Creeper. You can check out his first offering by inserting your email address into the widget above. Stay tuned for more goodies from Spoek Mathambo in the coming weeks, including videos, tour dates and more sonic jams.
On February 28th, Memoryhouse are releasing their debut record, The Slideshow Effect, and will be kicking off a 15-date North American tour, with a handful of European shows to follow. Because sharing is our middle name, you can listen to the new track “Walk With Me” by inserting your email in the widget above. Pre-order The Slideshow Effect by February 28th via subpop.com, and you’ll receive a limited edition photo scrapbook put together by the band! Click here to find more information on this release and pre-order.