Cass McCombs

"Bringing the individual into [music and art] only distracts from the universal and makes it trivial. And then it's easy to wash your hands of it because you might not be from their background, or you might disagree with their personal perspective. So you discount it and go back into your corner instead of coming out and engaging with everything." – Cass McCombs

Humor Risk is the second full-length album from Cass McCombs in 2011, after he released WIT'S END back in April. According to McCombs, "WIT'S END was started years ago and it slowly made its way to the finish line. Humor Risk was just punched out. They're friends but they're different. WIT'S END is like a stew; Humor Risk is the raw food diet."

And perhaps using McComb's own words is best when describing him as an artist. He's somewhat of a recluse, mostly by choice. "Thank God we don't know a lot about Shakespeare or Moses or Homer or Lautréamont," explains McCombs. "These are the best guys we got, and their art is powerful because they're mysterious. Once biographical information contaminates your consciousness, it's impossible to erase it and look at someone's work the same way again."

And while he may seem very serious as an artist, there's a great deal of levity in his music – hence Humor Risk. But don't expect him to lay his humor at your feet, that's something he wants his listener to discover for themselves. "You can't just explain a joke, can you? Either it isn't funny, or the person just totally missed the punchline."

Watch the video for "The Same Thing" from Humor Risk, below. The album is out today via Domino. Read more from McCombs from his recent interview with Pitchfork, here.