Raised in rural Penboyr, Wales, Cate Le Bon had a pet goat named Bluebell that she would walk through the countryside every week, and pet cats, too. They were among the inspiration for her first Welsh-language EP in 2008, “Edrych Yn Llygaid Ceffyl Benthyg” (“Looking in the Eyes of a Borrowed Horse”), and her 2009 English album “Me Oh My,” originally titled “Pet Deaths.” Her neo-psychedelic third CD, “Mug Museum” — recorded in her new hometown of Los Angeles — also concerns frailty, but the human kind this time.
So all these pets passing away really affected you as a kid? Yeah. I lived in the country, and we had a string of cats and goats. But we lost a lot of cats. I think it was mostly the road that was responsible, but my favorite cat got shot by a weirdo kid who was into guns and fancied himself a hunter. But I guess living in the country, you come face to face with these harsh things that maybe you wouldn't in a city.
Are you fascinated with mortality now? Well, I think it's something that occupies everyone's way of thinking in some way or another. Whether you view it as a positive thing, or whether you view it negatively. But it's something that's always looming, isn't it? And for a lot of the new record, I'd begun thinking of relationships within my family, and I suppose I was feeling a bit of that “my parents are next” kind of thing. My maternal grandmother passed away, and it suddenly put everything into a perspective that I'd never really noticed before, where everyone just shifted up the ladder. So all of a sudden, I realized that — where once I was the niece — now I'm the auntie, and I know how it feels from both sides.
Did her death change you? Yeah. It kind of feels like she passed on this baton to us all. It was definitely a maternal side of the family shift. And there was this beauty that came from that, where we were all trickling down into the next generation, and there was a real sense of being a link in a never-ending chain. It was really nice and meaningful.
The clock's ticking on all of us. Yes. But I've realized that it's impossible to live in the now if you're thinking about the end all the time.
If you go
Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Contact: (415) 861-2011, www.ticketfly.com