Photo by Ben Kaye
Father John Misty, aka J. Tillman, has been steadily previewing his new album, Pure Comedy, over the last two weeks. First came the pillorying title track, followed closely by the biting “Ballad of the Dying Man”. Now, he’s debuted what he describes as the “centerpiece” of the new record, a 13-minute epic critique on fame and musicianship called “Leaving L.A.”.
Tillman premiered the track live and acoustically on Lauren Laverne’s BBC Radio 6 show. He told the host that it took him three years to finalize the song, going through over 40 verses in the process. What remains is something that’s equal parts censorious (“These L.A. phonies and their Pitchfork bands/ That sound like dollar signs and Amy Grant/ So reads the pull quote from my last cover piece/ Entitled ‘The Oldest Man in Folk Rock Speaks'”) and self-criticizing (“He’s a national treasure now, and here’s the proof/ In the form of his major label debut/ A little less human with each release/ Closing the gap between the mask and me”).
“That’s the whitest, most acoustic thing you’ve ever seen,” he laughed after he’d finished the song. But it’s also pretty great, so take a listen below.
Pure Comedy is due out April 7th via Sub Pop.