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Beat Jab: Rufus Wainwright, Father John Misty


Father John Misty, 'Fear Fun' - SUBMITTED PHOTO

Beat Jab offers reviews in prose poetry form from2011 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Emerging Author Award winner Micah Ling.

Rufus Wainwright
Out of the Game
★ ★ ★ ★

Wainwright had a lot of help on this album; namely, Martha Wainwright, members of Wilco, members of the Dap-Kings and members of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. An album with so much backing tends to mean that people want to work with this guy. He's nearing the stature of Bowie, Queen, even (dare I say) Prince. As usual, his voice is heartbreaking in its melodic brilliance. It's like a nonchalant opera. It's like life, without the worry. "Respectable Dive" is hilarious and true: we all want to be a little bit dangerous - a little bit dirty - but not to the point of actual risk, or pain. Wainwright has a sound that's just beyond genre: it seems like his voice could blend well with just about anything, anyone. You trust him: he's got an absolute mastery over what he's doing. "Sometimes You Need" has a hint of Clapton: slow and achy. Everyday life gets us through - strangers get us through - observing, reacting; Wainwright gets us through average days. This album is absolutely approachable: songs that you want to hear, songs that you can hear, poetry that makes sense.

Father John Misty
Fear Fun
Sub Pop Records
★ ★ ★ ★

Joshua Tillman is the former drummer for Fleet Foxes; these days he's winning pretty hard at being a solo guy. He's got Damien Jurado to thank for some of the initial tours, but that's only because Jurado could see his brilliance. (PS: follow this guy on Twitter: he gives props to Lennon and Dylan often... sometimes even Journey). Seattle tends to be ahead of the music game, in general, so it makes sense that he and Jurado are getting bigger and bigger reputations. And it's not all hype; or, it's not hype at all. Tillman plays the drums, the organ, the mandolin, and hold his own with vocals (and whistling). It seems worth noting that by listening to this album, it's clear that he's having fun: that he's hilarious and talented and messing with all kinds of influences. He's got hints of everything from David Gray to Neil Young, and a flavor all his own. "Now I'm Learning to Love the War" and "Every Man Needs a Companion" are reminiscent of The Magnetic Fields: funny in a somber way: in an absolute truth way.

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