If Eels' enigmatic engineer E hadn't ever encountered essentially every enervating emotion in his songwriting over the course of his career, the eleventh Eels album The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett would seem to be a watershed of self-reflection. But E has frequently mused about loss, death, regret, pain, and misfortune. These Tales include ruminations on all those angsts, plus stark personal assessments ("The world has no use for my kind") and puzzling at the absence of cosmic answers, before finally brightening with a glimmer of cautious optimism. The mood is low-key, the music spare acoustic folk with lean, sculpted orchestrations enhancing E's insinuating melodies and affecting vocals (which sometimes approach Tom Waits's gritty torment). Opener Chelsea Wolfe regularly digs into similarly unsettling issues, crafting a dark, spooky sound out of a jumbled mix of folk, electronics, baroque pop, metal, and doom. Backed by a violin and keyboard, she'll perform stripped-down versions of songs from last fall's Pain Is Beauty.
Sun., May 25, 7:30 p.m., 2014