Cass McCombs is a master of taking rock-bottom emotions and wrapping them up in beautiful melodies and luminous production. But he also has this way of throwing something subtly grating in the mix—like a drum hit that’s just a little too loud—and letting it chip away at our euphoria until all that’s left to a song is a shell of pretty notes and a core of unrelenting bleakness. He doesn’t always do that, but we’re definitely hearing it on “If You Loved Me Before…,” with that slightly cringe-worthy synth sound he piles on top of what is otherwise a very snappy bassline, and the unusually dry, exposed way his voice is registering on the mic when he asks a former lover, If you loved me before can’t you love me today? This one’s the A-Side off a split with White Magic he’s got coming out tomorrow via Famous Class‘ “Less Artists More Condos” series, dedicated to the late underground promoter Ariel Panero.
Stream: Cass McCombs, “If You Loved Me Before…”