Cass McCombs predicts apocalypse in new single

Cass McCombs | photo by Silva Grav | courtesy of the artist

Cass McCombs has announced a new album, Tip of the Sphere, out February 8th. “Sleeping Volcanoes” is the first single off McCombs’ ninth album, a murky folk-rock tune powered by bluesy roadhouse guitar and Lou Reed-inspired vocals. The lyrics are tinged with nihilism, the repeated phrase, “Help me, Armageddon,” suggesting apocalypse–which, if you’ve been paying attention to the news at all in the last few years, doesn’t feel that far off. Continue reading →


Premiere: Mock Suns blaze new paths with “As It Is; As It Was”

Mock Suns | Photo courtesy of the artist

This spring Mock Suns will bring their prog-eyeing psych pop back with their upcoming album, Santander/All that I Knew, coming out on April 29. Today we’re premiering the first single from the album, “As It Is; As It Was.”

The song seems to piece together right in front of you; it kicks off with a bouncy guitar line at the head before the drums gather their energy from the phasing synths. Just as the title suggests, there are clearly two parts here, going to one place and back to where it started.

Santander/All That I Knew was mixed by Philly’s Bill Moriarty and mastered by Joe Lambert, who has worked with the likes of Cass McCombs, DeerHunter and Washed Out, just to name a few. We’re seeing Mock Suns continuing to blaze their own path with thought-out structures; keeping their voice just as bright as ever.


The prolific Cass McCombs brings New Age urban country to Boot and Saddle tonight


Singer/songwriter Cass McCombs obviously has no fear of glutting the marketplace. The nomadic troubadour released two albums in 2011, and his latest, Big Wheel and Others, contains 85 minutes of music spread over two discs. So he’ll have plenty of material to choose from when he plays Boot & Saddle tonight. And much of it is strong – where his previous records have veered between the sublime and the throwaway, Big Wheel strikes a more even balance, maintaining a consistent mood of wry mysticism throughout its sprawling length.

The western-themed bar in South Philly is an apt venue for McCombs, whose self-anti-mythologizing seems to place him in a New Age urban wild west. The songs on Big Wheel and Others triangulate the yearning country ballads of Jimmy Webb, the slide guitar spiritualism of George Harrison, and the ironic-or-not Americana of Will Oldham. Both the title and the prevalent themes of wandering the open road lends the album the feel of a post-modern big-rig compilation, one of those trucker tapes that used to sell on convenience store counters for long-haul drivers in need of distraction. McCombs wraps his observations from the byways in guru-like aphorisms that never quite reveal how deeply his tongue is buried into his cheek.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Lee Fields & The Expressions at Union Transfer, Washed Out at the Electric Factory, Bilal at The Blockley and more

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Union Transfer welcomes North Carolina soul singer Lee Fields to its stage tonight. Over his impressive 43-year career, Fields has released multiple albums and inspired generations of R&B singers. His most recent effort Faithful Man was released last year via Truth and Soul Records. Fields recorded the album with the label’s house band The Expressions who also accompany his live sets. Get tickets to the show here and watch his video for “You’re The Kind Of Girl” below.

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Weekend Picks: Both Gomez and Obits cancelled, but at least Cass McCombs and Lower Dens are still playing

Obits (one of the bands you WON'T be seeing tonight)

Rick Froberg: The singer/guitarist of the legendary math-rock band Drive Like Jehu (as well as that band’s more straightfoward-rocking followup, Hot Snakes), cover-art designer for bands such as Rocket From The Crypt, and all-around musical badass. He’s also a guy you’re NOT going to see at Johnny Brenda’s tonight—because his latest band, Obits, had to cancel its show. (Which we were really, REALLY looking forward to after it was first announced.) To add insult to injury, Gomez just announced that it will be canceling the rest of its current tour due to singer Ben Ottewell’s vocal loss, according to The Swollen Fox. (The band is playing its scheduled Free At Noon show at World Cafe Live today, but will not be performing tonight at TLA.) We suppose you could see Taking Back Sunday at Tower Theatre, or try to find a ticket to the sold-out Bouncing Souls show at First Unitarian Church. Then again, you could just stay at home and watch a bunch of live Gomez and Obits videos.

Also playing: Taking Back Sunday + Thursday, Colour Revolt, We Are The In Crowd at Tower Theatre (7 p.m., $34.50); The Bouncing Souls + Tim Barry, Gods And Queens at First Unitarian Church (7:30 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT)

The Philly-via-South-Jersey quartet Arches—who recently recorded a Key Studio Session with us—will be celebrating the vinyl release of their full-length debut Wide Awake at Johnny Brenda’s. (The show is presented by our friends over at YVYNYL.) Arches performs with Holy Spirits, White Laces, and Gracie at 9 p.m. at Johnny Brenda’s; tickets to the 21+ show are $8.

Also playing: Lingerie Party + Wyldlife, Snakes Say Hisss, El Malito at The Trocadero (11 p.m., 21+, $10); The Bouncing Souls + Blanks 77, The Scandals at First Unitarian Church (7:30 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT); The City Music Project + Lady, Swift Technique at World Cafe Live (9 p.m., $13)

Ever since his debut EP Not The Way was released in 2002, Cass McCombs has been attracting praise from critics and audiences alike, as well as forcing them to note the effect his music has on their selves. His enigmatic properties have taken him far; he has performed and/or toured with notable names such as Andrew Bird, Modest Mouse, Beach House, The Decemberists, Arcade Fire, and The Shins. His fifth and most recent LP, WIT’S END, was released on April 26th to further critical acclaim. Joining him and his band on Sunday will be Lower Dens, a Baltimore-based new-wave/drone-pop group featuring the vocals of Jana Hunter (Phosphorescent, CocoRosie). Cass McCombs Band performs with Lower Dens at Johnny Brenda’s at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.); tickets to the 21+ show are $12 in advance and $13 at the door. —Claire Fishkow

Also playing: Kim Lenz And The Jaguars + Delco Nightingale, Dixy Blood at Kung Fu Necktie (7:30 p.m., 21+, $10); Stephen Marley + Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, John Brown’s Body at The Blockely (7 p.m., $25-$27); Rupa And The April Fishes + Blue Hippopotamus, April Mae And The June Bugs at North Star Bar (8 p.m., 21+, $10)