LOCALS ONLY: Cass McCombs

By Zachariah Weaver

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Posted November 14, 2013 in Music
Cass 3Bring yourself in and take yourself back out over and over again. That’s the way Cass McCombs, the singular-songwriter with a background known for his nomadic and drifter lifestyle, would want you to listen to his new collection of tunes, Big Wheel and Others out via Domino Records. The large track list here consists of songs that compliment each other, as in, not one of them is brought into focus so much that any other seems alien. They were all meant to be together and to flow through the airwaves and straight into your ears.

The difference between McCombs’ past work and Big Wheel and Others, is the success of making these tunes irresistibly hummable. And it happens fast. Still forming his music around a signature metaphysically inspired universe, these tracks lend a perfect pathway for translating his biggest dreams.

“Big Wheel” the second track off the album is something you’d hear come roaring out of the dessert from beyond a scorching hot mirage. The groove and beat are sure to have you transfixed while the Bob Dylan spirited lyrics and melodies come shining through on whole other level. This song opens up the album beautifully and establishes the rock n’ roll mood almost perfectly.

Track six and 17–“Brighter!” puts us in what I like to call a humming situation, meaning, this is where the hummable side of things allows us to really enjoy ourselves. The track also doubles itself on the album and features the dearly missed actress Karen Black, who lost her battle to cancer earlier this year.

Another tune that gives this album a surprising turn is “There Can Be Only One.” The bass dances along with the congas as McCombs’ lyrics gives the track a surrealist emotion. However, it doesn’t mean the song is only for dreamers; it’s for dancers as well.

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“Sooner Cheat Death Than Fool Love” is a song that gives this album some meaning. Starting out the track McCombs sings, “I tried my hand at poker, that old godless game. I will still find aces, I swear on Peter’s name.” And that’s a lot of what this album is; McCombs taking chances and stabbing at some very powerful targets. In my eyes, these songs ended up being the best cards he could’ve pulled from the deck.

It’s also important to note that Cass is currently on a West Coast tour and recently played Tuesday, Nov. 12 at Pappy and Harriets in Pioneertown, CA (near Yucca Valley). Go catch a live performance of his old and new tunes while he’s still on tour.


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