Pop & Hiss

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A letter from Cass McCombs: 'I got to make each song better than the last'

May 4, 2011 |  5:09 pm

Cass In today's Calendar section, I have a story about Cass McCombs, the reclusive singer-songwriter who only communicates with journalists via letter.

Intrigued by the offer to be his one-time pen pal, I took a chance and wrote out a letter with several questions. I used blue pen, tried to write neatly and mailed it to an address in Malibu. A few weeks letter, I got his return: A one-page, typed letter, charming and irritating by various turns. Charming because I got a sense of his jokester personality crossed with the more serious one on record. Irritating because I simply wanted more. Also, if you can suss out what he means in the "Catholic magic with speed" line, please let me know.

Most of his letter I didn't use in my story, so I thought I'd put it up here on the blog as a bonus for any budding scholars of pristinely constructed, hushed folk-pop, or people who just want to see what McCombs happened to write on a certain day to a certain journalist he doesn't know. The letter is after the jump.

McCombs plays the Troubadour on Wednesday at 8 p.m. with Frank Fairfield and Residual Echoes.



Cass McCombs' nomadic lifestyle

Album review: Fleet Foxes' 'Helplessness Blues'

Ariel Pink is firmly in control of Haunted Graffiti

-- Margaret Wappler

Photo: McCombs playing at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times