Bridging the divide between traditional folk and a sweep of contemporary alt domains, Canadian singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Basia Bulat finds her voice in the untamed fringes they share on her striking debut, Oh, My Darling (Rough Trade). She can sound brittle, etching spare tales of love, remorse, and cautious hope. But the full dimension of her voice quickly becomes apparent. Slightly husky, marbled with rich, amber streaks, and harboring a knowing authority, Bulat's voice is reminiscent of Natalie Merchant's, Sandy Denny's, and, when her band gallops into jangly overdrive on "In the Night," Ronnie Spector's. The diverse arrangements sometimes kick into epic folk-rock territory, especially when brother Bobby Bulat rumbles on full drum kit. But arch, chamber-like strings add a measure of earthy refinement, and a piano occasionally weighs in with a dose of devilish alt-jazz irony. Darling, released in Europe and Japan last spring, is just out this week in the U.S.—hence, Bulat and her band appearing at this intimate a venue is not likely to be repeated next time around.
Sat., Feb. 9, 8 p.m., 2008