Tilly and the What Now?

Guys. Guys. If you haven’t heard  of Tilly and the Wall, there’s probably nothing I can do for you. Okay, maybe there is something I can do for you. It’s called taking your little hand and introducing you to this song. You have been wandering in the dark and this song will show you where the light is.

Okay, let’s start from the beginning. Tilly and the Wall are a band. They are the only good thing to ever come out of Conor Oberst’s (I am not now nor have I ever been a member of the Bright Eyes contingency. Cue Indie McCarthyism…now) supposedly illustrious career. They are five lovely people who came from Omaha and put out their first album, Wild Like Children, in 2004 which was followed by Bottoms of Barrels, O and their forthcoming album Heavy Mood that’s coming out in October.

Tilly is unique for a few reasons. One, they all write the songs and each of them has their own style which means that one song on the album can sound drastically different from another and that is a beautiful thing. And two, they have a tap dancer. Their rhythm section is provided by Jamie Pressnall, whose tapping is filled with more heart and energy than any drum set and who never fails to draw me into the song even when I’m extremely low. They’re a different band, and that makes them an amazing band.

Photo from Team Love Records

It’s kind of funny, Mister E came home recently and said “I heard someone on a podcast say that Tilly and the Wall and Ra Ra Riot are great bands with terrible names.” I patiently explained to him that their name comes from the Leo Lionni story, then explained to him who Leo Lionni was. He said he likes what he’s heard of Tilly (I’ve played him my own version of their greatest hits) and is more than happy to accompany me to the concert in November if I can get my head on straight long enough to go to Austin.

I’ve only seen them live once, and it was at The Abbey in Chicago. I went with S (aka VeganFemme) who is the one who introduced me to Tilly via a pair of CDs sent to me while I was in Wisconsin. She has been responsible over the years for helping me discover a lot of music, so I completely trust her musical judgment. With the exception of Bright Eyes because COME ON. But I love her, so I tried. I tried real hard. It ain’t happening.

Now go watch this video. It’s one of my favorite Tilly songs and you can see Jamie doing her thing pretty well. I can’t wait for Mister E to see this in November. If he liked Steel Train, he’s going to love Tilly.


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