22 Songs, 1 Hour, 25 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Starting with a recorded snippet from Ralph Arlyck’s 1970 documentary Sean, where a four-and-a-half-year-old child casually discusses drug use in a hippie household in San Francisco, Cass McCombs’ double album Big Wheel and Others starts its long journey through a California state of mind, which includes songs that lurch with a Grateful Dead–like flow and others that capture a laid-back country-rock sound. “Brighter!” shows up twice on the album: McCombs handles a sweet falsetto alongside pedal steel guitar for version one, and there's a guest vocal from actress-singer Karen Black (who died before this album's release) on version two. “Joe Murder” has a Neil Young, On the Beach–style churn. For nine minutes, “Everything Has to Be Just-So” plays like a bizarro version of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” The silly “Satan Is My Toy” blasts off with an early-'70s hard boogie, while a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Honesty Is No Excuse” feels like another lost country-rock number.

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Starting with a recorded snippet from Ralph Arlyck’s 1970 documentary Sean, where a four-and-a-half-year-old child casually discusses drug use in a hippie household in San Francisco, Cass McCombs’ double album Big Wheel and Others starts its long journey through a California state of mind, which includes songs that lurch with a Grateful Dead–like flow and others that capture a laid-back country-rock sound. “Brighter!” shows up twice on the album: McCombs handles a sweet falsetto alongside pedal steel guitar for version one, and there's a guest vocal from actress-singer Karen Black (who died before this album's release) on version two. “Joe Murder” has a Neil Young, On the Beach–style churn. For nine minutes, “Everything Has to Be Just-So” plays like a bizarro version of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” The silly “Satan Is My Toy” blasts off with an early-'70s hard boogie, while a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Honesty Is No Excuse” feels like another lost country-rock number.

Mastered for iTunes
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3:40
3:43
3:56
6:03
3:56
4:17
2:52
5:51
8:57
3:33
3:19
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2:39
1:11
6:38
3:50
3:58
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5:24
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5

19 Ratings

19 Ratings

Brilliant

sheytuned,

McCombs' releases are consistent with brilliant writing and melody - this one covers every base. Jams, instrumentals and beautiful poetry woven together in this 22 song opus.

Never marry bury.

Hearken!,

Upon first completion: what a new energy feels like. Love the guest percussion. Love Ms. Karen's appearance. And I love love the songwriting, jealously so. A breath of roses. Thank you!

Wish this album was Brighter!

ScooterChapman,

Listened to the samples after seeing a recommendation in Entertainment Weekly. Nope, not for me. The one track I'll listen to further is "Brighter!" Love that steel guitar!

About Cass McCombs

After bouncing around the country writing songs and honing his craft, singer/songwriter Cass McCombs' insightful and emotionally rich work caught the ear of Baltimore label Monitor Records, which released his first EP, 2002's Not the Way. McCombs' debut album, A, was released early the following year and was distributed in Europe and the U.K. by 4AD. Early in 2005, the "Sacred Heart" single revealed the more polished and poppy direction of his second album, PREfection, which arrived that spring. Recorded in studios and at home, McCombs' third album, Dropping the Writ, was released in October 2007, followed by Catacombs in 2009. For 2011's Wit's End, McCombs opted for a dark, chamber music-inspired sound. Before the year was out, he returned with the "Bradley Manning" single, which he premiered on the Democracy Now News Hour, and another new album, Humor Risk. The following year, his song "Love Thine Enemy" was performed by the National and Bob Weir.

McCombs released the sprawling 22-song double album Big Wheel and Others in 2013. The record, which featured vocals from actress Karen Black on one track and contributions from musicians Mike Gordon (Phish), Joe Russo (Furthur), and Joan Wasser (Joan as Police Woman), found the singer digging deep into Americana and exploring a wide range of sounds and styles. Domino Records then released an anthology of McCombs' rarities and B-sides called A Folk Set Apart in late 2015. His eighth full-length studio album, 2016's Mangy Love, took on sociopolitical topics with grooving accompaniment that dipped into psychedelia, reggae, baroque pop, and funk. It featured over a dozen guests, including fellow renegade songwriter Angel Olsen, guitar ace Blake Mills, and Stuart Bogie of Superhuman Happiness. ~ Tim Sendra

  • ORIGIN
    Concord, CA
  • BORN
    1977

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