Jolie Holland's whippoorwill voice sounds even more striking and unusual in the relatively conventional setting of an alt-country rock album, her new The Living and the Dead (Anti-), than it did on three previous solo works of ghost-world folk and jazz. The former Be Good Tanyas member doesn't just warble, she wobbles and whirls, curling in around each note and sending out a decaying gravity-radio pulse when she lands on one. This constant falter lent her an air of found mystery on her 2003 debut, a cultivated cool on her weaker follow-up, and nostalgic pop promise on 2006's Springtime Can Kill You. One hopes the local freak-folk/hip-hop nexus around Roma di Luna and Kill the Vultures took note of Holland's collaboration last year with rapper Sage Francis. But The Living and the Dead is much more effective and startling just by vaguely rocking, her husky Texas mush-mouth so sexy and clear amid guitars that you wonder what she'd do in a band like Heartless Bastards--maybe become the next Elvis (never mind Norah Jones), if she had the slightest inclination to do so. With Herman Dune.
Sat., Oct. 25, 8 p.m., 2008
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