The San Francisco throat singer takes cues from Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart on his debut.
Gravelly-voiced Seth Augustus sounds a little bit like Tom Waits, and that’s not a bad thing. This mostly DIY album by punk, jazz, and folk-influenced Augustus does have its own traveling bluesman charm. To the Pouring Rain is a collection of songs that recalls troubadours or gypsy soothsayers. The songs are mostly stripped down in percussion and other accompaniment, relying on some slide guitar and heavy bass to back his throaty warbles. The singer combines his textured vocals with Tuvan throat singing.
To his credit, Augustus has known some pretty cool characters: guitarist Helios Creed, blind bluesman Paul Pena, and songstress Jolie Holland, among others. Augustus credits his heroes Howlin’ Wolf and Captain Beefheart, but adds his own stamp by incorporating Tuvan instruments such as the fiddle (igil) and banjo (doshpuluur). Check out “Buffalo Eight” for some of the raddest throat singing along with the aforementioned instruments. By the final track, “Tiny Little Head”, Augustus has sealed his fate as an excellent modern bluesman.