Caught a Ghost catches a soul/rap vibe

Caught a Ghost. Credit: Shelby Duncan
Catch this dapper duo on tour near you.
Credit: Shelby Duncan

The first song on Caught a Ghost’s new album, “Human Nature,” opens with a dragging beat that sounds nothing like any standard percussion instrument. That’s because it isn’t. “There’s spoons and a saw blade and a deck of cards on that track,” says lead singer Jesse Nolan.

Nolan, the LA-based musician behind Caught a Ghost’s soul-based sound, was trying for something a little new and different. He says the goal was to create a sound everyone would enjoy. “What two things do people really love? They really love soul music and they really love ‘90s rap. Everybody who actually likes music likes those two things, so let’s see if we can get them to sit side by side,” says Nolan.

The result is a sound somehow both smooth and jaggedy. Nolan wails, mutters, then croons across the whole album, backed periodically by actress Tessa Thompson, who the TV-loving music fan might recognize from her stint on “Veronica Mars” or the upcoming film, “Dear White People.”

“Human Nature” mixes Nolan’s soul influences with a heavy degree of sampling, which would be where the ‘90s rap side of the equation comes in.

“What I think is so cool about sampling is that you can capture that human element in really small pieces. You’re almost like a collage artist hinting at little pieces of work that in and of themselves have their own life,” says Nolan, who grew up listening to Dr. Dre, but also the blues and soul music his father loved.

“He was always sort of force-feeding me records for my birthday and stuff,” Nolan says with a laugh. While the sound may not have been a hit with the young Nolan right away, he eventually found himself coming back to it.

What makes someone who grew up in the ‘90s so interested in such an old sound? “It’s really about kind of freeing up your voice to deliver certain emotions,” Nolan says, calling the production of the album “very much a process of self redefinition.”

That said, Nolan may be considering a more collaborative effort next time through. “Collaborating is, I think, more energizing and fun than working by yourself like a mad scientist for hours and hours,” he says.

If you go:
Brighton Music Hall
August 6
158 Brighton Ave, Allston

New York
Gramercy Theatre
August 5
127 E 23rd St, New York


Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.


Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…


LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.


Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…


Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…


If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…


Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.


Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."


Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.


Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.


3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.


Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…


World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.


The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…


Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.


Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…