Tim Heidecker

In Glendale (Rado Records)

Contact Jessica Linker about Tim Heidecker

For the last decade, Tim Heidecker — along with his comedy partner Eric Wareheim — has proven to be one of our cult-comedy greats with his Adult Swim series ‘Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!’ and ‘Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories.’ He’s starred in indie films and played sold out stand-up sets around the world.

 

But who is Tim Heidecker? What lies behind those empty, unflinching dada-comedy bot eyes? Is there a real man with all the regular feels? Is there a real life? Well, yes, of course there is. He resides on a hill in Glendale, CA, up to his armpits in diapers, bills, his mortgage, in the workaday life of a writer. It’s this pedestrian side of his life from which Heidecker pulls the fodder for the aptly titled In Glendale, his first earnest collection of songwriting under his full name. It’s a post-normcore delight of exuberant bar rock, morning after parlor ballads and tragicomic folk novelties.

 

And like Los Angeles’s small-but-iconic crop of oddball singer/songwriters of four decades past — Warren Zevon, Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Biff Rose — Heidecker shifts deftly from the mundane to the idiosyncratic; from the sentimental to the caustic; from the earnest to the humorous. Yes, because we are talking about a comedic legend in the making, humor remains core to this album, be it a deadpan domestic observation or that feeling that you’re on the outside of an inside joke. But then, you get the feeling that’s right where Heidecker wants you.

 

The brass-fueled, rollicking title track is an ode to Heidecker’s community in Greater Los Angeles. “Work From Home” could be a Father John Misty anthem for the defeated, hungover everyman. You can almost hear the Advil popping as he falls into the song’s chorus, shrug- crooning over a slow lounge-pop piano. His knack for crafting catchy tunes amid curious subject matter pops up in spades across In Glendale. “Ghost In My Bed” is a lovely little number about cutting off someone’s head, sticking it in a plastic bag and burying it beneath the Hollywood sign.

 

“I love a short song,” Heidecker said. “This feels a little like ‘Apple Scruffs’ from George Harrison. It’s a devious little song that’s inspired by Warren Zevon. Singing about murder, I don’t know where that comes from – but it’s connected to the horror of some of the comedy I do with Eric.”

 

Towards the close of In Glendale, you have “I Saw Nicolas Cage,” which starts as a brightly strummed novelty song about a ho-hum run-in with the aforementioned, meme-able celebrity before turning macabre — and oddly touching — in its back half. After an album’s worth of songs about Hollywood murder fantasies, diaper changes and even a cameo from director David Gordon Green, you’re left desperately trying to wipe the smile off your face.

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