J. Tillman, Pearly Gate Music | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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J. Tillman, Pearly Gate Music 

When: Sun., Nov. 8, 8 p.m. 2009
Price: $14, $12 in advance
Josh Tillman came onto my radar just last year, after he joined Seattle's Fleet Foxes as a drummer and backing vocalist, adding yet another layer to their stunning harmonies. But since 2005 he's released eight solo albums, each one a sparse, meditative, morose affair typically dominated by Nick Drake-style folk rock—skeletal acoustic guitar, haunted, vibrato-laden vocals, and, sometimes, harmony singing that explains why Robin Pecknold tapped him for the Foxes. For the new Year in the Kingdom (Western Vinyl), Tillman has written more of the same type of songs, but he's given them more elaborate arrangements, with some elegant string parts crafted by Jenna Conrad and his own sporadic contributions on piano, hammer dulcimer, recorder, banjo, and percussion. As beautiful as their overall sound is, over the course of the album there's a lack of rhythmic and melodic variation—he starts nearly every tune with the same kind of phrase. —Peter Margasak

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