Har Mar Superstar is an eccentric, and he knows it. Sean Tillman has been active as Har Mar since the ‘90s, producing records that are equally recognizable as extended punchlines. That’s not to say that they lack musical prowess, however, and on May 15 of this year, Tillman performed at the Daytrotter venue to show us what he’s all about—as a jokester and an artist.
Har Mar gives a taste of his latest 10-track album, Best Summer Ever, which was produced by Julian Casablancas and released on his Cult label. He has a longtime kinship with the Strokes superstar, even taking one of his unused songs, “Youth Without Love,” and putting his own oddball spin on it. Tillman struts back and forth in garishly patterned leggings and a bomber jacket as he puts his heart into the soulful ballad laced with horn accompaniments.
He changes costume into a batik-print shift for “It Was Only Dancing (Sex),” a more danceable number that has an ‘80s inspired, disco-inflected jive to it. Har Mar lets out a final yelp before the song spirals into its sax outro, which he describes to the audience as “sexy as hell.” Naturally, the shift comes off along the libido fueled nature of the song, and he lets finally lets loose in tank top.
Har Mar Superstar has such a genre-bending, hilarious personality. His songs make us laugh, but also have the self-sufficiency to exist as accomplished, bonafide great tunes. Tillman is part jester, part songbird, and all in all, a master.