Tragedy shaped but never overwhelmed Elvis Perkins's debut, Ash Wednesday, which combined introspective lyrics with a gorgeous, haunting folk-pop mix. It dealt with the deaths of Perkins's parents: actor Anthony Perkins, who succumbed to AIDS; and photographer Berry Berenson, who was on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center. Two years later, loss, loneliness, and heartache are still Perkins's muses on the quirky, remarkable Elvis Perkins in Dearland, also the name of his fine quartet, but they're not sources of depression so much as pertinent pieces in life's broadcloth. In fact, while sadness is a persistent presence, it actually contributes to the resilient strength Perkins repeatedly finds: "Some have said our love is lost but I swear I know my way from here," he sings confidently in "I Heard Your Voice in Dresden." And while the dirge-like "I'll Be Arriving" may be the most overt example of the album's dark undercurrents, the predominant sound is a bracing, rootsy blend of folk, old-timey country, rock, gospel, parlor music, and brass band stuff. With Other Lives. 18+.
Sat., May 2, 8 p.m., 2009