Followers will know that I have been just nuts about the last few J. Tillman records (2 of them last year). Thus, it was with great excitement that I heard he is putting out another on already. It is available now on Western Vinyl – for sale on iTunes, amazon, emusic, etc . . .
Here are my thoughts. I divide Tillman’s discography into 2 phases. Tillman’s first 3 LPs, I Will Return, Long May you Run and Cancer and Delirium were sparsely beautiful, but quite lo-fi. For many people, the scratch of low quality recordings won’t allow them to really appreciate the great songs that are hiding underneath on those records. The most recent 3 LPs, Minor Works, Vacilando Territory Blues and Year in the Kingdom, brought both better production value AND a much richer sound with increased instrumentation. Singing Ax is a hybrid of these two phases.
Instrumentation is SPARSE. Almost nothing there. In this regard, it is much like his first releases. Production value, however, is much improved – like his more recent releases. So, if you like “Dry” folk with great songwriting and lyrics, this will be a great record for you. I will likely gravitate back towards the LPs with fuller instrumentation, but Tillman hasn’t lost me here. I am still fully in the fan camp.
And, as long as he keeps on cranking out this high volume of records – I will definitely stay a fan. There is something to be said for a guy that writes songs, and just records and releases them – instead of waiting to release every 2-3 years. I know some bands are constricted by record companies on how often they release so its not their fault . . . but I really commend Tillman on this.
Make music, make it often.
J. Tillman – Diamondback [mp3]
J. Tillman – Three Sisters [mp3]