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Editors’ Notes

Shedding musical skins from projects past, Baltimore’s Cass McCombs seems comfortable now in the skin he was born in; he’s a skilled and soulfully wry singer-songwriter, and his fourth record, Catacombs, conjures artists as wide-ranging as Slaid Cleaves and the Go Betweens’ Robert Forster. Opening track “Dreams-Come-True-Girl” is a lovely, slinky, make-out number that might reduce weaker souls to puddles, and it features a vocal cameo by quirky actress Karen Black. Choosing Black fits right in with the idiosyncratic McCombs’ creative view; an artist more focused on “hip” cred might have chosen Karen O. “The Executioner’s Song,” a funereal ode to an unlikely career choice, takes a cue from the delicious black humor of Mark Eitzel, while “My Sister, My Spouse” and “Harmonia” are creepily (the former) and beautifully (the latter) mesmerizing. With upright bass, piano, organ, and acoustic and steel guitar, there is texture and color aplenty on Catacombs, and listening to McCombs as he finds his way to a fitting musical niche is mighty satisfying.

Customer Reviews

Music that tells his and our story

Talk about music that talks to people yet wasn't intended to...Cass has no idea the impact his music has on people who have not much to live for.
I like that he writes the music purely as expression. No ego, no agenda, no message, no manipulation. Just music to enjoy and share.

If your simple, this is for you

Good songwriters write good songs!

Cass McCombs takes another step forward with this album. His lyrics are as direct as ever and the guy can flat out sing. I think "Don't Vote" and "The Executioner's Song" are superb, but all these songs are well written and played.

best album of 09

This reminds me of blood on the tracks without sounding like it. Wonderful honesty and playfulness and darkness.


Born: 1977 in Concord, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

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, who released his first EP, 2002's Not the Way. McCombs' first 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...
Full Bio
Catacombs, Cass McCombs
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Customer Ratings