Father John Misty (live at the Rhythm Room, 10/10/12): In his New Times interview, Father John Misty himself, J. Tillman, confessed: "I want to do what a stripper does, and in another way, do what a carnival barker does, or a shaman, some kind of Pentecostal preacher. Those are all more interesting archetypes than a guitarist to me." Tillman tapped that charismatic vein on stage at the Rhythm Room, shaking his hips like a towering Elvis, lighting smokes, and bathing the crowd in his acerbic Los Angeles wit, drenched in liberal reverb.

Larkin Grimm, "The Road Is Paved with Leaves" (from Soul Retrieval, Bad Bitch Records): Sometimes a song needs to confront, incite, or challenge. Singer/songwriter Larkin Grimm's Soul Retrieval album has plenty of songs that do that, but its most powerful moment is when Grimm chooses to comfort with the aching soul ballad "The Road Is Paved with Leaves." "There is nothing to worry about, everything's fine," she sings as background singers sashay and "shooby-doo-waa" behind her. "Don't go out of your mind," she adds, a command that couldn't suit 2012 any more than it does.

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