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Cass McCombs Plays The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday

January 5th, 2016

Singer-songwriter Cass McCombs’ calling card is his distinctive voice, both lyrically and aurally. Prior to actually releasing any music, his dark, funny stories earned him a slot touring with one of Will Oldham’s bands and Oxes, which eventually led to McCombs putting out his debut EP, Not the Way (stream it below), in 2002. Two LPs, and stints in the Pacific Northwest, England and Baltimore, followed before he found himself on the road with Modest Mouse. Since then, McCombs (above, doing “Omie Wise” for WAMU FM ) has relocated to the mellow vibes of California, but he remains as busy as ever, his style of music often changing with each release. Despite putting out two well-received albums in 2011, Wits End (stream it below) and Humor Risk (stream it below), the indie-minded troubadour released an Americana-tinged double LP, Big Wheel and Others (stream it below), in 2013. Not one to rest on his laurels, McCombs returned in 2015 with an anthology of B-sides and rarities, A Folk Set Apart (stream it below), out just a few weeks ago. “Culled from over a decade’s worth of home and studio recordings, this certainly the cabinet of curiosities you’d expect from the prolific singer-songwriter,” according to AllMusic. And although it rehashes much of his career, “There is enough strong material here to attract new fans and provide longtime listeners a deeper look into McCombs’ curious world.” See him play The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday night. “Art rock supergroup” Soldiers of Fortune opens the show.