Cass McCombs is an indie-rock artist that combines garage art rock with strong Velvet Underground influence. You can hear the VU through his chord progression and guitar distortion (A.Y.D., which stands for At Your Disposal) but also in his sense of humor. On the first song, I Cannot Lie, he keeps on singing that he only sees “ambulance” backwards.

The 38 years old multi-instrumentist from Concord, California, can get more garage than garage rock on upbeat songs like Oatmeal but he can also change his vest on the following track, Twins, where is embraces soft slow dance mood, with his high-pitched voice. There are some parallels to make with neo-indie artists like Ty Segall, Kurt Vile and Sufjan Stevens that also admire Beck for switching genres in a heartbeat, with the same success rate, song after song, album after album.

“A Folk Set Apart” is an album that showcases Cass McCombs huge talent and versatility. This guy could do pretty much anything on his next effort, as he laid so many different paths and opportunities in front of him with this album.


On An Other, McCombs sounds like Iggy Pop fronting the Velvet, on a demo recording. The guitars aren’t always tight, the singing is too much in front and gets distorted… but it’s all good in this album’s overall concept. Right after that one, Bradley Manning features beautiful melody and soft singing. It’s all about contrasts!

“A Folk Set Apart” is Cass McCombs’ eight album since 2003. He has toured with John Cale in 2012, as he did with other great indie bands such as Cat Power, Band of Horses, Andrew Bird, The Decemberists, Arcade Fire, Peter Bjorn and John, Papercuts, The Shins, Iron and Wine, Deerhoof, Thurston Moore, and The War On Drugs.

A Folk Set Apart
(Domino Records, 2015)

-Genre: garage art rock
-In the same style as Ty Segall, Chocolat, Velvet Underground

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Listen to videos on the artist’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.