On tour in support of her third LP, the new On Dark Horses (Sargent House), singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle brings her captivating guitar sounds and ghostly vocals to the Empty Bottle for a set of haunting, melancholic postrock. Formerly of dreamy postrock trio Marriages and instrumental rock band Red Sparowes, Rundle has a style reminiscent of doomy shoegazers True Widow, but she imbues it with a folksy darkness that’s heavy on melody. Drenched in reverb, distortion, and other effects, her guitar sound teeters between beautifully malleable and dense, constantly pierced by her otherworldly voice. Rundle continues these explorations with On Dark Horses. Singles “Fever Dreams” and “Darkhorse” are emblematic of her lyricism as they wrap vulnerability and conflict in metaphor and mystery. An exhibit of Rundle's art, also called On Dark Horses, closes Wednesday, September 25 with an evening reception at "Ars Memoria Tattoo & Gallery."
Later in the album, “Light Song” presents vocal contrast in the form of Evan Patterson of Jaye Jayle (who also contributed guitar layers to it), whose deep bellows work as a welcome foil, offering variation not heard on Rundle’s previous works. Patterson, Rundle’s romantic partner and the singer and guitarist of Louisville posthardcore trio Young Widows, started Jaye Jayle as a solo project before expanding it into a four-piece band, which opens on this tour. Jaye Jayle’s second LP, the recent No Trail and Other Unholy Paths (also released by Sargent House this summer), is a further journey into dark Americana paired with Krautrock experimentalism and Steve Reichian minimalism. Patterson’s bare-bones approach to songwriting extends to his vocals, which conjure thoughts of a dusty Old West saloon thanks to his breathy croons and raspy spoken-word storytelling. In 2017 Rundle and Jaye Jayle released a wistful split EP (featuring three songs from each artist) that set the table for a shared European tour where the two songwriters ultimately fell in love. Here’s hoping we hear more collaboration between them on record as well as in concert. v