Great music can be a challenge to find these days.

 The radio bludgeons you with a short loop of successful monotony, popular music blogs revel in the esoteric, streaming music playlists are made by robots, and you're left wondering WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD TUNES GONE?!

Allow us to offer the road map to music that doesn't suck.

Welcome to Music That Doesn't Suck Monthly

Father John Misty - Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow

Father John Misty - Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow

 

-Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow-

"But my baby, she does something way more impressive than the Georgia Crawl. She blackens pages like a Russian romantic, gets down more often than a blowup doll."

It's hard to find a modern lyricist that can deliver the way that Father John Misty does. To really get the full effect, take a solitary road trip with his albums Fear Fun and I Love You, Honeybear. By the end, you'll be feeling all sorts of sullen, sarcastic, and self deprecating, and at the same time have a new booklist from the literary allusions stacked into those songs. Esoteric? No shit. The tunes are too good to pass on for that though, because while his lyrics may have their clever little noses in the air, the music has this charming pastoral accessibility and the songs are all so beautifully arranged.

-The Arrangement-

Unpacking the story in Tillman's lyrics will take you a listen or two, but once you've digested you'll find yourself peaking around the arrangement, and there's depth enough to live inside this song. That plodding guitar sits at the heart of this thing, and you can just picture it slung from Tillman's shoulder as he sings. The upright parlor piano panned off to the right plays this understated role that is beautifully countered by the slide guitar panned left. The bass, mellotron and drums kick in (I'm a sucker for riveted ride cymbal every damn time), and you get lazily swept into the swing of this tune. The violin and mandolin lines are really a beautiful addition to this, but that clarinet comes in at 1:48 and that's when you realize this guy is a damn genius. 

Economy is everything in a lush track like this, and for all of the musicality packed into Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow, you never find anything obstructing the lyrics, no one overplays, and every note serves the story of the song. It's a modern songwriting masterpiece if you ask me.

-Father John Misty- 

Josh Tillman as he was known before the FJM moniker, is anything but a newcomer to the scene. In the early 2000's he was one of the founding members of the post-rock band Saxon Shore, and also released a number of solo albums as J. Tillman. In 2008 he joined Fleet Foxes on drums and toured with them for the self-titled Fleet Foxes album and Helplessness Blues

Father John Misty has picked up a lot of momentum, playing on Letterman, Kimmel, Conan, and Colbert, along with an impressive list of performances through his album tours and the festival circuit. He's become renowned for his hilariously snarky stage antics, and equally entertaining social media posts. One of my favorites was a short saga in which he released two covers he did of Ryan Adam's covers of Taylor Swift songs, done in the style of Lou Reed from The Velvet Underground.

Two days later he posted this before removing the songs from Soundcloud:

  FJM Facebook post (whatever he's on, I'll have that please)

FJM Facebook post (whatever he's on, I'll have that please)

To me, Father John Misty is refreshing. He's the sort of eccentric rock star we need to stir shit up when the general public has made idols of the Kardashians.

Here's another great example of those on-stage antics:

-Music Videos-

Another awesome part of the Father John Misty repertoire is the stunning little bits of cinema that are his music videos. I recommend them all, but instead of embedding the whole playlist, I'll give you this link to it and leave you with the video for Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings which features Aubrey Plaza of the NBC show Parks and Recreation.

 

If you dig this tune check out:

J.Tillman, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Conor Oberst, Andrew Bird, Iron & Wine, and Hozier

(all links go to youtube videos that stand as the best representation of the artist so you don't have to hunt for music that doesn't suck)

Elliott Smith - Son of Sam

Elliott Smith - Son of Sam

Punch Brothers - Movement and Location

Punch Brothers - Movement and Location