Papercuts can’t go back 

There’s a quality to the wistful pop of Papercuts’ latest endeavor "Can’t Go Back" that suggests San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Jason Quever is in brighter spirits.

The notoriously reclusive artist, who is essentially the lone force behind the indie band, admits he set out to create an upbeat follow-up to 2004’s critically acclaimed "Mockingbird" to remind folks that, well, the world isn’t such a bad place after all.

But, as Quever, 31, has come to find, there’s been some misinterpretation surrounding his intentions.

"I didn’t have any reason to be depressed anymore, so I was trying to be more upbeat this time around," he says. "But, I guess people hear otherwise."

The "otherwise" Quever refers to may very well be the somber narratives he boyishly coos against the backdrop of "Can’t Go Back’s" swirling feel-good hooks.

He insists, however, that the heavy themes of angsty disenchantment and elusive love present on the record are not self-reflective.

"It was more my attitude to not go that route because it’s boring. I think everyone does that. I didn’t want something from my own point of view because it gets to be too much about me and that’s boring," Quever says.

Recently back from tour in support of Grizzly Bear, Quever and fellow Papercuts collaborators David Enos, Trevor Montgomery and Matt Stromberg return to the stage as headliners Saturday at Café Du Nord to tout the vinyl release of "Can’t Go Back" — out on Devendra Banhart and Vetiver’s Andy Cabic’s label Gnomonsong.

"Can’t Go Back," as was the case with "Mockingbird," has been lauded with critical praise and it is deserving of such.The record is subtle, like a gentle breeze on a late summer afternoon, in a way that’s simple yet moving, without any pretense to it.

Quever admits that while he doesn’t give much credence to the buzz surrounding his work, whether it be negative or positive, he has become slightly annoyed with notions that suggest Papercuts’ sound has been deliberately assembled to reflect a variety of ’60s influences.

"I hate it. It makes me want to kill myself," says Quever. "It’s sort of insulting to me when someone says (the record) sounds like it’s trying to be something from a different time.

"Maybe it’s my fault for not listening to new music and realizing how out of place it is, but I didn’t set out to make a ’60s-sounding recording. The fact that it’s considered from another time bothers me so much. Not all good music has to come from the past."


Where: Café Du Nord, 2174 Market St., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Tickets: $12

Contact: (415) 861-5016,

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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