Prekop Plots Next Solo Mission

Sea & Cake vocalist/guitarist Sam Prekop will release his second solo album, "Who's Your New Professor," in March via Thrill Jockey.

Sea & Cake vocalist/guitarist Sam Prekop will release his second solo album, "Who's Your New Professor," in March via Thrill Jockey. Without abandoning the stylistic precedent set on 1999's acclaimed, Brazilian-leaning self-titled effort, the album finds Prekop's trademark breathy crooning wrapped around 11 warm, loose tracks that defy easy categorization.

"My Curtis Mayfield fixation reared its ugly head more times on this record than the first one," Prekop tells with a chuckle, pointing at the vintage Motown-ish "Two Dedications" as an example. "I'm not anti-Brazilian music -- I just wanted to try ease up on it this time."

As on his first solo set, Prekop is backed on "Professor" by Sea & Cake guitarist Archer Prewitt, bassist Josh Abrams, drummer Chad Taylor and cornet player Rob Mazurek. Behind the boards, Prekop relied on assistance from Sea & Cake drummer/Tortoise mastermind John McEntire, who worked particular magic on the track "Dot Eye."

"I can't believe that's us playing that tune," Prekop admits. "The first half is sort of Brazilian inflected, and the second half is some Crazy Horse thing, which of course I've never, ever aspired to before. That part, we came up with it while we were rehearsing the first part and it developed as an ending, but it went further than we expected. Archer improvised a bunch of different guitar takes, and John and I cobbled together the most damaged yet beautiful take we could find."

Prekop also employed a different approach during the songwriting process: singing along to himself while he wrote the tunes.

"What usually happens in the Sea & Cake is that I come to the basic tracks with no idea what I'm going to do vocally," he says. "This time, I won't say they came easily, but they came together much quicker than I had expected. The melodies felt like they were already in there; I just had to sing them."

Prekop and company will hit the road beginning in March, with stops likely in a handful of major U.S. cities as well as Japan. "In April, at least some of us will be going to Europe, but I don't know if the whole band will be able to do that," Prekop says. A more extensive North American run will follow in May and June.

As for the Sea & Cake, Prekop says he anticipates the band will get busy on its seventh studio album "more sooner than later." Both of the outfit's past two sets, 2000's "Oui" and 2003's "One Bedroom," reached No. 24 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Prewitt will release a solo album of his own, "Wilderness," in January via Thrill Jockey.