The Internet really is a never-ending Twilight Zone-esque worm hole of a place sometimes; case in point, just last night, after returning home from rollicking Sweat N Soul-filled a Har Mar Superstar concert in the depths of Philly around 1-1:30am, I wasted nearly an hour aimlessly Googling covers from Sean Tillmann's one-time touring mate and fellow Tillman(n), Father John Misty... starting with two unabashedly ironic Taylor Swift in the vein of Ryan Adam's 1989 covers and ultimately, ending up at a sparse SiriusXM cover of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box." Somewhere down the seemingly endless sonic worm hole I created, I stumbled upon @fatherjohnmisty's sprawling, wonderfully executed renditions of widely-known Leonard Cohen, The Arcade Fire, John Lennon, Rihanna, and most recently, Nine Inch Nails classics. Former Fleet Foxes drummer and ironic "rockstar" Josh Tillman unexpectedly covered NIN's breakout anti-pop hit, "Closer" as recently as April 14th and uploaded it to the web as early as Friday morning. It would appear as though, according to Father John Misty's own self-contained video description, that "Closer"'s premier performance was spontaneously filmed by Riviera Theater concert-goer and local Chicago-based photographer, McKenzie Hanson.
While Tillman would appear to quite often purposefully do blatantly ironic things to garner media attention (ie: recording two Taylor Swift 1989 covers "in the style of Velvet Underground"), "Closer," at surface value, would seemingly appear to have been repeatedly practiced and fine tuned numerous times before bring performed live in Chicago Thursday evening out of anything but mutual appreciation and sheer fandom; hence, Father John Misty proclaiming, "it's a little sappy, but I would like to play my favorite love song for you" before ripping through a nearly note-perfect rendition of Trent Reznor's controversial 1994 The Downward Spiral single. I must say, it's pretty damn impressive that a reinvigorated Indie Folk artist such as Tillman, who released eight J. Tillman solo albums prior to re-branding himself "Father John Misty," could deliver such a flawless hard as nails (pun intended) cover of NIN's instantly recognizable Industrial Rock romper, complete with full 2-minute outro instrumental breakdown!!! Josh Tillman's second critically-acclaimed album released under his Father John Misty guise, I Love You, Honeybear, is currently available for purchase in a number of various formats from Sub Pop and with any hope, Tillman will one day release an album's-worth of beautifully disjointed Nine Inch Nails and Taylor Swift covers.