Cass McCombs

Baltimore-based singer/songwriter Cass McCombs' moody but often surprisingly humorous music is aided and abetted by bassist Trevor Shimizu, keyboardist Natalie Conn, and drummer Dutch E. Germ (who has also played with Neil Michael Hagerty). Tours with the Oxes and Palace paved the way for McCombs' debut EP, 2002's Not the Way, which arrived on Monitor Records; A was released early the following year and was distributed in Europe and the U.K. by 4AD. McCombs and his band spent much of 2003 and 2004 touring, playing the All Tomorrow's Parties festival and supporting labelmates Blonde Redhead. Early in 2005, the Sacred Heart single revealed the more polished and poppy (though still dark) direction of his second album, PREfection, which arrived that spring. McCombs toured with Modest Mouse after the album's release. Later that year, McCombs moved to Los Angeles and began work on his next album. Recorded in studios and at home, 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 another new album, Humor Risk.
Heather Phares, Rovi