Pearly Gate Music Pearly Gate Music

The fact that Zach Tillman is the brother of Fleet Foxes drummer J. Tillman seems to only interest those who have yet to hear this absorbing debut. Recorded under the moniker Pearly Gate Music, Tillman breathes life into ten ultra-sobering pieces, as songs like "Golden Funeral" and "I Was a River" see him demonstrating his best Jonathan Richman impression. "Big Escape" plays the straight man, wrangling a multitude of whispered strings, bells and voices into a perfect 4/4 rhythm, while "Navy Blues" shows the Seattle musician pulling apart gooey verses like they were the world's most depressed grilled cheese sandwich. "I Woke Up" and "Gossamer Hair" feature gangbang vocals (courtesy of Tillman's brother and Jenna Conrad), with an echoed production sound that comes off so natural and unrehearsed that the listener almost feels voyeur-esque. Pearly Gate Music is an album delivered with such earnest passion that Dan Mangan and Bahamas should really be taking notes. (Barsuk)