Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Cheryl Waters, is “The Same Thing” by Cass McCombs from his forthcoming 2011 album Humor Risk on Domino Records.
Cass McCombs was born in 1977 in Corcord, California, but to associate he singer-songwriter with a particular time or place would be a mistake. For most of his life he has been a modern-day vagabond, traveling the country while working odd jobs, living in odd places, listening to odd people, and accruing the richly textured and folkloric set of experiences that have inspired his songwriting. McCombs was living in New York City at the time of 9/11, and in its wake he took a Greyhound bus to San Francisco where he recorded his debut EP, following it with A, his debut full-length, a year later. Since then, McCombs has written and recorded five additional albums, including Wit’s End, which was released earlier this year, and Humor Risk, which Domino will release on November 8.
Falling in line with his nomadic way of life, McCombs does not sit down and record a set of songs for a particular album the way most artists do. Instead, he writes and records here and there when he has time and when inspiration strikes. It is only later that he goes through all that he has recorded and groups songs into albums based on theme. Both of his 2011 releases, Wit’s End and the forthcoming Humor Risk, are the result of various recordings that took place over the past three years, with Wit’s End being comprised of extremely downtrodden, desolate, and lonely material. Conversely, Humor Risk will supposedly be far lighter and energetic, and “The Same Thing,” the album’s first single and today’s featured song, is a prime example. Driven by airy acoustic guitar and a forceful drum beat, the song runs laps around anything from Wit’s End and has to be a breath of fresh air for those whom might have been a little bummed out by the unrelenting melancholia of Wit’s End.
Cass McCombs is only scheduled to play a handful of dates later this year, and fortunately one of those happens to be December 7, when he’ll be at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle. For more tour info, click here. To tide us over for the next month or so, here’s his video for “County Line,” the single from Wit’s End: