Cass McCombs: Either Putting Us On, or Really Goddamn Sincere

Categories: In Print


From the latest SF Weekly:

Cass McCombs: This is Cass "Our solitude connects us with our sorrow" McCombs. He's from Northern California, and he lives on couches and floors and other people's beds and in his car, which he drives, alone, back and forth across the country from New York to San Francisco to Los Angeles and then back around again, a true rambling modern folk singer-songwriter, even when he isn't on tour, although he prefers being on tour. He is 35 and was married once. He puts out records on the Domino label, mostly pared-down rock affairs, lots of them rather dark, some parts of them kinda dull. But his latest, Big Wheel and Others, is a double album that achieves the incredibly rare double-album feat: It's fantastic from its start, from the lumbering, drone-like trucker rock of "Big Wheel," to the ghostly acoustic blues of album closer "Unearthed," and through all the half-jazz jams and morbid pop ditties and Dylanesque country vignettes in between. [continue reading]

Rhys Chatham: A lot of musicians who love the Ramones have similar reactions to the seminal New York punk band: They form a scrappy punk outfit of their own. Rhys Chatham, however, found a different inspiration: He synthesized the leather-clad quartet's serrated guitar riffs with avant-garde minimalism, producing a new strain of modern classical music. So while his forebears in the art music world looked to eclectic sounds and world music for inspiration -- Steve Reich to percussionists in Ghana, Tony Conrad to German band Faust, and Terry Riley to jazz and early electronic music, Chatham found it in 1977 at the legendary Bowery dive CBGB's. This week, he'll present a composition for 100 guitars entitled A Secret Rose at Richmond's Craneway Pavilion -- a piece that represents the culmination of his long career trajectory since that revelatory Ramones show. [continue reading]

Sizzle & Fizzle: Highs and lows from the week in S.F. music.

Recommended shows:
Vienna Teng at the Independent
Alternative Tentacles 33 1/3 Anniversary Party at Slim's
Kreator at the Fillmore
Thundercat at the Independent

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