Pearly Gate Music has a name that sounds vaguely religious and for some, I'm sure it will be.
With folk, alt-country and pure Americana influences, Zach Tillman's songs are less so shoegaze than they are cloudgaze, should the stupidly-named-yet-apropos subgenre exist. The self-titled set from Barsuk, out tomorrow (May 18), is light, thoughtful, solitary; the layered harmonies and the acoustic guitar structures seem practically intuitive, like songs you've already heard, but surprisingly just remember.
Tillman runs the vocal gamut between a man in love and one that's tortured by his love, with topics spanning personal sins to "the only man I ever loved/lived 2000 years before," an almost cheeky devotion to the Christian Lord and Savior, if it didn't sound so darn sincere. They're anthem-hymns, whether personal or universal.
I'd be remiss not mentioning Tillman is the brother of J. Tillman, drummer for Northwest darlings Fleet Foxes and a songwriter in his own right. Looks like something's long been at work in the Tillman family blood line.
I am obsessed with "Pearly Gate Music." I think it is one of the most lyrically creative and melodically sound albums so far this year.