Father John Misty by now needs little introduction. After four critically acclaimed albums in just under six years, Josh Tillman, whose stage moniker is known just as much for his off-stage words as his sarcastic and often self-deprecating lyrics, has made a name for himself. But with his latest album, God’s Favorite Customer, he focused on more personal matters. Delivered in that great Harry Nilsson meets Randy Newman style, the bite was still there, but it was more focused at The Anthem on Thursday.
If making an album has become a lost art, then River Whyless is doing its best to revive it. Celebrating the release of their new record, Kindness, A Rebel (Roll Call Records), the band performed on a warm summer evening Friday to a relaxed, picnicking crowd at Grist Mill Park near George Washington’s sprawling country estate, Mt. Vernon.
By the time River Whyless took the stage at the Herndon Festival on Saturday, not a drop had fallen all day — and both band and audience were hopeful that it would stay that way for at least one more 45-minute set. The threat of storms made the day a risky proposition, but the rain, thankfully, held off.
Fleet Foxes made its return last year with the release and subsequent tour for Crack-Up (Nonesuch Records). The record is filled with the same self-reflective lyrics, swelling music, and gorgeous harmonies as the band’s previous two records, but it seems like a more focused record. After six years between Helplessness Blues and the new LP, it’s a refreshed welcome home for this band whose debut album turns 10 years old as of this writing.
Gracie Coates (piano/keyboards, vocals) and Rachel Ruggles (violin, vocals) create a what they’ve called “orchestral pop.” Their music ebbed and flowed in dark swirls while at the same time seemed to move forward in performance at 9:30 Club on Saturday, opening Ani DiFranco.
Back in December 2016, I went to see one of Shearwater’s last shows of the Jet Plane and Oxbow tour at the Ottobar in Baltimore. It was a cold night, and the stage was festooned with large lights as part of Shearwater’s stage set up. The opener that night was a duo called Cross Record. Primarily using keyboards and guitars, the band — made up of Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski — created beautiful landscapes of sound.
So it was a joy to hear that over the past year Emily and Dan had started making a record with Jonathan Meiberg of Shearwater in a band that eventually became Loma. Loma performed at DC9 on Wednesday.