When: Tue., Feb. 19, 8 p.m. 2013
Boston singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler described last year’s austere The Sister (Box of Cedar) as a complement to its predecessor, a self-titled 2011 album where she pushed herself beyond gothic folk-pop into elegant country. She made both recordings with Philadelphia producer Brian McTear, and both feature a top-flight crew of musicians that includes guitarist Carter Tanton, cellist Helena Espvall, and pianist Orion Rigel Dommisse. On The Sister, though, Nadler stays closer to her old stylistic comfort zone, draping her gossamer-fine, luxuriant singing on a backbone of stately acoustic guitar while drums, keyboards, and cello put some flesh on the skeletal songs. Nadler challenges herself as a lyricist on the new album, though, moving away from her usual meditations on romance and private travails to observe other people. “Christine,” for instance, is about the drug-fueled decline of a friend, and “Constantine” describes a ruined rock star shut away in his limousine. On her Soundcloud page Nadler has posted a series of beautiful covers—Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World,” Daniel Johnston’s “Devil Town”—that she owns completely. The most beguiling is a version of Richard and Linda Thompson’s “My Dreams Have Withered and Died” that she sings with Chicagoan Angel Olsen—a true kindred spirit. I sure hope there’s more where that came from. —Peter Margasak Jesse Sykes & Phil Wandscher open.