Cut Worms @ The Sunset

The Crocodile Presents:

Cut Worms @ The Sunset

Michael Rault

Mon, October 8, 2018

7:30 pm

Sunset Tavern

Seattle, WA

$14.00

This event is 21 and over

Cut Worms
Cut Worms
Despite a .300 batting average and a 63 mph curveball from the mound, Cut Worms’ Max Clarke was the black sheep of his baseball-centric, Midwestern family. He was drawn to the creative shadows, drawn to the basement 4-track and late nights in the art studio as much as he was the dugout. He had a born knack for conjuring warm sounds and fine images. His songs in particular crackle with the heat of a love-struck nostalgia: golden threads of storytelling, like visceral memories, woven together with a palpable Everly Brothers’ influence and 50s/60s naiveté. But the kid still has a pretty mean curve. Like one of his creative pillars David Lynch, Clarke’s songs and artwork are also curveballs with a curious underbelly.
A Cut Worms song may impress an innocent summer stroll across fields of tall grass and lavender — but there’s undoubtedly a severed ear out in there in the grass. Some unseen dark forces are always lurking at the edges of songs’ sunbursts. Bright, beautiful lap steel or a cheery harmonica accompaniment often belie an impending doom or crestfallen narrator.
Clarke didn’t necessarily seek out a life as fulltime musician. Before releasing music under the moniker of Cut Worms, Clarke went to school for illustration with the idea of a sensible career in graphic design, then took on a string of handy- man type odd jobs. Still, songwriting – that semi-secret practice Clarke had been cultivating since the age of 12 – kept gnawing at him. It was the only sort of work that didn’t feel like work. Plus, if there’s ever a time to do something as unreliable, unrealistic, and imprudent as throwing yourself wholly into music, might as well be done when you’re in your twenties.
A number of songs that make up his LP, Hollow Ground, bloomed from his time in Chicago during period of driven creativity. In particular, “Like Going Down Sideways” and “Don’t Want To Say Good-Bye” find new life on Hollow Ground, polished from their initial appearances on Cut Worms’ 2017 introductory Alien Sunset EP. Both still fizzle with a lo-fi 60s sound, but cleaned up, they gleam.
The remainder of Hollow Ground was written in Clarke’s current home in Brooklyn, where he still home-demos songs. The record was recorded partially in Los Angeles at the home studio of Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, and partially in New York with Jason Finkel at Gary’s Electric. Clarke, who plays keyboards, bass, and lap steel in addition to his main guitar, handled most of the instrumentation across the set. He explains he’s always strove toward a specific musical aesthetic, and Hollow Ground marks the closest he’s gotten to hitting it thus far.
Hollow Ground is imbued with a sharp, self-aware lyricism; as strong as the music is here, Clarke shows an affinity for evocative storytelling, striking the balance between cerebral and simplicity. Look no further than the chiming, rollicking standout “Cash For Gold.” For a song with so much sock hop energy, it’s actually about being trapped in one’s introvert head — stuck on the couch or against the wall at the edges of the dance floor.
Sometimes, on Hollow Ground, we find characters impossibly lustful, sometimes brooding, while in other parts they fumble along, hopeful and painfully self-aware. If the music can be said to have any sort of through-line, it revolves around Clarke’s obvious delight in singing his heart out through varying degrees of agony. His songwriting both evokes and explores the raw realm of youth, its weightlessness and possibilities, but channels it through the lens of someone more restrained, who’s been through it all before. Someone who’s old enough to know better but still gets drawn back in to the romanticism of teenage feelings – and knows how to take the listener along, too.
Michael Rault
Michael Rault
Canadian singer-songwriter Michael Rault is pleased to announce his new album and Wick Records debut (a Daptone Records subsidiary), It's A New Day Tonight, out May 18th. The Edmonton-born, Montreal-based singer-songwriter-producer began working on its songs in earnest after winding down the tour supporting his 2015 full-length Living Daylight, but getting to the point of having an album was a process. "Musically it came out of a period of dissatisfaction, creatively and personally, as I found myself pushing against the limitations of my abilities and approaches to making music." But those delays eventually paid off. As he was working on Tonight's songwriting, Rault kept entering the orbit of Wayne Gordon, producer and head engineer at Brooklyn's legendary Daptone studio. Sending Gordon early sketches of some songs led to Rault heading to Daptone for what was initially going to be a two-week recording stint. Midway through that Gordon approached him about signing to the Daptone Records label's fledgling rock spinoff, Wick—and becoming the first Canadian member of the Daptone family. Signing with Wick also led to Rault finishing the record at Daptone and bringing Gordon on as co-producer.

It's A New Day Tonight has the loose-limbed feel of a lost album by '70s bands that bridged the gap between folk rock's open-hearted strumming and power pop's crisp, melody-forward confections—Wings, Badfinger, Big Star, 10cc—yet possesses an energy shot through with 21st-century optimism. The album's title (and title track) comes from the most Canadian of overheard sources: a pregame interview with a hockey player coming off a rocky night. "He said, 'It's a new day tonight, we've got to put the past behind us.' At first, I thought it was an awkward phrase," says Rault. "But I quickly thought: 'Awkward turn of phrase... or a good album title?' [The title track] is almost completely describing a very positive nightlife experience, but the opening line implies that this evening is coming as a major relief after spending the majority of the day depressed." It's this idea of new hope born from a period of hardship that drives the record. Hope springs eternal when day is over it's a new day tonight.
Venue Information:
Sunset Tavern
5433 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA, 98107
http://sunsettavern.com/