As stated before, T-Sides doesn’t generally look to PR e-mails for inspiration. Some might call it stubborn, some might call it foolish, some might call it a plain ol’ jerk move – we call it the T-Sides way. There are always exceptions, however, so welcome to a new feature for said exceptions: In The Inbox.

A nice way to get the attention of someone who receives dozens of PR e-mails a day is to use a stand-out format. Domino Records formatted the release for Cass McCombs’ Dropping The Writ as a political memo. Thus, I actually glanced at it. (However, this was actually a bit risky, because unique as it was, I almost ignored it completely, thinking it was another cause that wanted my money.)

Introduced to the bevy of music on October 9th, the songs chosen to exemplify Dropping The Writ hold that most dastardly of qualities – promise.

Cass McCombs: “Petrified Forest” (download)

“Petrified Forest” makes me wish it was still summer, because this is just the kind of lazy-summer-days music that I was all about this year. Luckily it manages to fit into the summer-fall transition nicely (yes, transition – it was over 80 degrees in NYC on Monday!), with drooping choral, string, piano and guitar bits that echo falling leaves and rain showers. It’s not instantly memorable, but significant enough to warrant continued play.

Cass McCombs: “That’s That” (download)

“That’s That” is the more forceful of the two, and a more blatant attempt to showcase the range of McCombs’ voice. The “do-ah”s in the chorus are the kind of thing that would normally drive me nuts, but he restrains them just enough to keep walking on the thin line between uplifting and annoying. The lyrics are easy to ignore until he sings something about cleaning toilets in Baltimore – but this just makes things more frustrating because, ultimately, it’s difficult to hear what he’s saying half the time, and that line makes me curious to know.

While Cass McCombs may not blatantly stand out among the year’s top singer-songwriters, overall these tracks point towards an enjoyable release from McCombs – in other words, Dropping The Writ might be worth… picking up (da dum ching).