Elvis Costello’s debut album My Aim Is True sounds as visceral now as it did in 1977. Equally due to both strong songwriting by Costello and subtle production by Nick Lowe, songs from the album like “Alison” “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”, “Less Than Zero” and “Watching The Detectives” have all become classic rock staples. Yet for all the rock criticism that focuses (deservedly) on Costello’s cynical and smart lyricism, a New-Wave/Punk Randy Newman if you will, many don’t emphasize that My Aim Is True is just chock full of powerful and catchy melodies.
Following the devastating “Alison”, “Sneaky Feelings” features quite a hook and replete with nice backing harmonies and a swaggering Costello putting on his best Van Morrison impression trying to deal with being in love. A great song off of a great album. Also check out the excellent album opener “Welcome To The Working Week” which packs a Beach Boys homage and some powerful pop-punk into its under 1:30 run time.
I’ve been a fan of Josh Tillman since well… he was Josh Tillman. The beautiful “Steel on Steel” from Vacilando Territory Blues, his 2009 LP was what first caught my eye. However, Josh Tillman is a man of many hats as he’s been the drummer for Fleet Foxes and most recently, adorned the nom de plum Father John Misty and come out with his Sub Pop debut Fear Fun. It’s already gathered praise from indie greats like Blitzen Trapper and Dawes (whose bass player, Wylie Gelber was assistant producer on the album) and cuts through with sonic clarity that hasn’t felt so earnest in years. Tillman described the development of the album as “I got into my van with enough mushrooms to choke a horse and started driving down the coast with nowhere to go” yet the album itself doesn’t wander. “Nancy From Now On”, the second song on the album almost sounds like the bastard child of The Beach Boys, The BeeGees and Harry Nilsson but without either’s excess. A great song, and an equally great album. Plus, that album artwork is fantastic.