Cass McCombs’ Beautiful Discontent

Turning folk-pop into a weird trip.

Cass McCombs
Tip of the Sphere

Once upon a time, Cass McCombs would have presented himself as a folkie, a brooding dude armed with a crisp acoustic guitar and moody, sometimes-inscrutable songs. He can’t be pigeonholed so easily today. The engrossing Tip of the Sphere, his ninth full-length work, colors McCombs’ evocative tunes with everything from tabla to mellotron to violin, turning what could have been straightforward folk-pop into a less-predictable experience prone to subtly weird turns. A master of gnawing discontent, McCombs sings with an uneasy edge that can obscure the shimmering beauty of his melodies. The breathtaking “Estrella” aches for an elusive lover, lamenting a “ribbon of distance” and confessing, “Your laughter still rattles me,” while “Tying Up Loose Ends” wistfully ponders “a box of old family photographs,” asking, “Is there anyone still left who can tell me/Who these people are?” as it casts a fog of melancholy. Cass McCombs never chooses the obvious gesture, which makes his music all the more durable and compelling.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend