Sea & Cake vocalist/guitarist Sam Prekop will release his second solo album, “Who’s Your New Professor,” this week 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 says 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.”