Bay Area, CA
Cass McCombs’ evocative lyricism brings to mind the closed-captioning of another person’s daydream. Part mystic, part prankster and all-around poet, McCombs sounds like he belongs as much on stage in a lonesome tavern in Death Valley as at the back of an alternative bookstore in Boulder.
His debut EP Not the Way (2002) made enough of a splash to land him a session with the legendary John Peel and a recording contract with 4AD. Debut full-length A (2004) fully introduced his comforting mid-range vocals, surreal but finely-detailed lyrical style and the airy microdose of psych that laps at the edges of his inquisitive guitar style. Though he’s jumped from 4AD to Domino to ANTI- and has written songs you could describe as country, punk and pop since then, the fundamentals of his sound are still instantly recognizable today. And while his discography is dense, esoteric and filled with character studies, absurd renderings of reality and philosophical conflict, it is far from inscrutable.
Amongst his ten full-length albums there are two opposite entry points we’d recommend for first-time listeners. There’s A Folk Set Apart, the 2015 compilation of career-spanning tidbits that show off McCombs’ range of genre and storytelling style, and the just-released, more precise Tip of the Sphere, where clean production and precise musicianship make the room needed to hear his voice (literal and figurative) clearer than ever before. Don’t think of the suggestion as an either/or proposition — paired against one another, these two albums show both what wonders McCombs is capable of and the high watermark he stands at today.
THE MUSIC LINEUP: BY NAMEVIEW ALL >
- 3 Moonjask 36?
- A Pact Between Strangers A.Y.E. & The Extraordinary Gentlemen Amy Nelson An Ant And An Atom Anchoress Ancient Pig Andy & The Dannys Ansley Simpson anybodys ANZU Apples Aruba Astral Swans
- B*les & The Suede Bad Bodies Barn Burner BB Beach Body Beach Season Big Evil Rat Black Belt Eagle Scout Black Thunder Blessed Blue Odeur Blue Youth Body Lens Bog Bodies Bonnie Doon Bored Décor Bridal Party Bud Frasier & The Electric Razors Bully
- Calisthenics Carbolizer Cartel Madras Cass McCombs Cate Le Bon Cedric Noel Chandra Cheap Heat Chron Goblin The Comet Is Coming Corinthian Counterfeit Jeans Crom/Dam CROTCH Crystal Eyes Culled
- Dada Centauri Dark Time Dead Fibres Dead Friends Death Bells Denimachine Diamondtown DJ Dine & Dash DJ Kimleestar DJ Roy LT Dopey's Robe DRI HIEV DTSQ dumb
- Energy Slime Episode EXITS
- The Faps Feed Dogs Fly Pan Am Foldhed Future Womb
- Garbage Dreams The Garrys Ghost Woman Gloin Gone Cosmic Graham Van Pelt Griefwalker GYM Tonic
- Haf n' haf Hairnet Har Mar Superstar HARAHELLS Heavydive Hermitess Holy Drone Travellers HomeSick Hop Along housepanther hundredmillionthousand HYMM
- Ian Blurton's Future Now Ig Bo Lyn Intimacy
- J Blissette And The Pink Bandana Orchestra Jack Harlow Jack Ryan Jae Sterling Japanese Breakfast JayWood Jeans Degrees Jessica Pratt Jiajia Li Jo Passed jock tears Jom Comyn Jonathan Kawchuk JPEGMAFIA Julien Baker Justin Wright
- Kee Avil Kellarissa Kestrels Kid Congo Powers + the Pink Monkey Birds King Ayisoba Kowloon Walled City
- L CON L.A. FOSTER LA Cop Lab Coast LAPS Lashes Le1f Lemongrab Leucrocuta Lex Leosis lié Life In Vacuum Liquor Mountain Little Destroyer Louis Cza The Black Greek God Lubomyr Melnyk Lucid 44 LYRIQUE
- Man or Astro-Man? The Mandates maneater Marlaena Moore Matthew Cardinal Megamall Melted Mirror The Messthetics (feat. members of Fugazi) Michael Christmas milk Mire Mood Change Motherhood Mujahedeen Muqata'a My Nu Leng
- Nailbiter Natural Selection DJs Natural Sympathies Necking NEEDS NETRVNNER Nice Apple No Brainer No Frills NOV3L NOVEMBER numnum
- OAKK Oblivians Obnox Old Apartments The Orange Kyte Ouri
- Palm Oil Pancake Paradise Peach Pyramid Peeling Physical Copies Pill Crusher The Pinc Lincolns Polly Dactic Pope Joan Possum Praises Psychic Pollution Pudding Pyramid Schema
- Quaker Parents
- R. Flex Raeburn Raf Wilcot Rapsody Rip Room
- Samantha Savage Smith Sawlung Screaming Females Screaming Targets Sections Selci The Sex Geckos Shirley & The Pyramids shitlord fuckerman The Shiverettes The Sick Things Silvering Sinjin Hawke + Zora Jones Live AV Sinzere Sister Ray Sister Suzie Slow Down Molasses Slow Tide Slut Prophet Smokey & the Feeelings Snake River soft cure Speed Strips Squids Squirrel Flower Stef Chura Stripmall Sun Up Sun Down Sunglaciers Symfan Syngja
- Tarot Tasha TBA Territories Thanya Iyer The This Thom & the Tomcats Thomas Thomas TORCHE TORRES Touching God
- Uncanny Valley
- Vailhalen VICTORIES!
- Wangled Teb WASIU What A Time w/ Teddy Celebration & Friends William Basinski Window Lamp Wine Lips Wish Lash The WON'Ts Woodhawk Worriers
- Year of Glad Yep