Smile Politely

Tim Kasher has a unique voice

Tim Kasher has a unique voice.

Both in its rasp and whimper aurally, and in its ability to cut the caricature of a man steeped in desperation and sardonic deprecation. Tim Kasher sings sad songs about being sad about singing too many sad songs.

Considering his hyper-meta mode, it’s interesting that Kasher’s solo work stands so much apart in some ways. It’s certainly that singular voice; there’s certainly an unsanguine aspect to the narrator, replete with sarcasm-addled declaration; however, there’s a certain amount of bare truth in The Game of Monogamy.

“Cold Love”

[[mp3 tim_kasher_cold_love]]

The Cursive frontman’s 2010 debut solo effort isn’t without its drama and conceit, but gone are the grand allegories and metaphors and guttural guitars. The instrumentation on this disc has burst into bloom with myriad timbres, a floral arrangement adorning a Dear John How-To pamphlet. It seems he’s almost just too tired for the histrionics involved in a Cursive record. Of course, this record preceded 2012’s brilliant I Am Gemini, so we know he still has it in him. But in the moment of this solo album, he has the wherewithal to sit down at the table with a cup of coffee and smirk while snidely telling a relatively true story — rather than screaming and pissing in the corner, fetal position, feral instincts, grandiose intentions and impulses.

The songwriting is solid as ever; however, the backing band may seem lacking to those who crave those solid, gnashing emo riffs. This is certainly not a guitar record. It’s a songs record. If nothing else, the album is a stern warning that he can stand on his own musical feet/feat, and the record he plans to record this year will be an even bolder declaration of independence.

SP: I hear you have a new album coming out. Tell me about the new record: what it’s about; what it’s like; when and where you made it; why you made it.

Kasher: A little too early for these questions: This short tour is leading up to the recording of the album. Have been working like mad with my band, as well as with Nate Kinsella, to get the songs ready. Currently trying the songs out on the road. It’s very exciting!

SP: The Game of Monogamy was an interesting experience for me as someone who’s listened to you sing for years and is familiar with your songwriting style.  It’s definitely Tim Kasher distilled. Are the reasons for solo work as opposed to band work personal, professional, or aesthetic?

Kasher: Hmmm, mostly, I just wanted to change things up in my life, start a new catalog of music. There’s not a lot of method behind the decision.

Photo courtesy of Troy Stanger.

SP: Your lyrics and songwriting have imbued in them a certain sense of drama that is singluar. I know you’ve worked in film recently. What sorts of subjects or emotions or themes drive you to write screenplays or scripts rather than songs? Or is it just a particular mood or motivation outside of the content itself?

Kasher: Story and script writing is just a different beast altogether, for me. I love writing complete stories, not being held back by meter. There are, to my mind, pretty different forms of storytelling, so I like doing them both, for those differences I suppose.

SP: What guitar riff are you most proud of?

Kasher: [laughs] Shit, I don’t know … Thinking … Oh — I really get a kick out of the main riff on “A Birthday Bash” off Cursive’s I Am Gemini.

SP: What song you’ve written is the most fun to sing?

Kasher: I’ve always loved performing “The Beaten Path” off The Good Life’s Black Out.

SP: How many times have you played Champaign, and which was your favorite show?

Kasher: Not sure the amount, a decent handful of times. I’ll mention the WORST show I can recall: opening for Minus the Bear on a solo tour, we couldn’t get the sound system working right for most of the set. Then the set was over.

SP: What new artists and albums have been exciting you, if any?

Kasher: Tame Impala are fun.

Tim Kasher plays Mike N Molly’s in Champaign tonight with tourmates Brighton, MA and C-U’s own indie-cum-slowcore trio Anna Karenina/Anna Karina.*  Doors are at 8 p.m.

* The Annas unleashed a heartbreakingly dynamic and sincere set at last month’s Tim Kinsella (Joan of Arc) show at The Highdive. It is not to be missed, this vital trio of some of Champaign’s very finest.

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