Hear What Would Happen If Conor Oberst and Devendra Banhart Boned In the Woods

Alice Wheeler
Think this guy would bone the Son of God? Please--not even.
Artist: Pearly Gate Music

Album: Pearly Gate Music

Label: Barsuk

Release date: May 18

Rating (Skip, Stream, or Buy): Skip

Download/Stream: Download "Big Escape" at barsuk.com, and "Sleeping With Bears" and "Daddy Wrote You Letters" at Daytrotter. Or stream the entire album at Brooklyn Vegan.

SW's music editor, Chris Kornelis, really digs Pearly Gate Music, which is fronted by Zach Tillman. So does our former clubs editor, Aja Pecknold, who now manages her brother's band, the Fleet Foxes. Ditto Daytrotter and Josh Tillman, Zach's brother and Aja's main squeeze, who plays drums in the Fleet Foxes and is a wonderful solo artist as well, one whose music I like a great deal.

So, clearly, I'm bound to be in the minority when I voice the opinion that Pearly Gate Music's music makes me want to strangle a fucking Labradoodle.

The band's self-titled debut sounds like the turd baby that would result from Conor Oberst and Devendra Banhart fucking in the woods. Yes, that analogy is unnecessarily crass, but it's only that way because I'm trying to stay in the ring with Zach, who, during a recent all-ages show in Olympia, explained the origins of "Oh, What a Time!" thusly: "That song was about what would happen if I went on a gay date with Jesus. Look, I know you were crucified, but I'm not that into you." (Reached via messenger angel in heaven, Jesus said simply that he had already forgiven Zach for not deigning to pity fuck him.)

It's not that Tillman and his cohorts are without talent. "Big Escape" is a great, bouncy pop song, "Daddy Wrote You Letters..." exhibits marvelous, purposeful range, and the song about Zach's gay date with the Son of God isn't half bad either. But the rest of the album is a slow, grinding exercise in forced eclecticism, with "Gossamer Hair" standing out as the most annoyingly precious track.

As with Banhart and Oberst, Tillman lets you know that he knows how to write and record enjoyable, well-crafted music--before subliminally admonishing you for swallowing such accessible crap with songs only an artist with his supreme sonic faculties can recognize as the stuff of genius.

But to plebes like me, it just sounds like boring, pompous dogshit.

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