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Elf Power – “In a Cave”

(Rykodisc) ***1/2

Elf Power plays at 9 tonight at Tremont Music Hall. $8-$10. 704-343-9494. “In a Cave” was released March25.

The ninth album from the psychedelic indie rockers out of Athens, Ga., is uniquely eclectic. The band does hypnotic and droney (on the appropriately titled “A Tired Army”), but with weird, recorded-in-a-kitchen hiccups. Then it breezes into the rootsy pop of “Paralyzed,” which mixes merry music with a longingly sad chorus. There's also trippy experimentalism and jolly Celtic pop.

Ironically, there's an outdoorsy feel to “In a Cave” that summons images of communes, sunny clearings, fields of flowers, and yes, dancing elves, thanks to the folk-pop songwriting and classic, hippie-fied, '60s- and '70s-inspired vocal harmonies. At times, a wash of steady, agitating, psychedelic fuzz adds a bit of modern tension to the mushroom high.

Amy Ray –

“Didn't It Feel Kinder”

(Daemon Records) ***1/2

Ray plays with the Indigo Girls at 7 p.m. Sept. 14 at Neighborhood Theatre. $32. 704-358-9298.

Amy Ray has made pop-folk as one-half of the Indigo Girls since the mid-'80s, but with her three studio albums, she's explored far less rootsy territory. The first two (“Stag” and “Prom”) revealed punk and garage-rock fuel. On “Kinder” (which was recorded at Asheville's Echo Mountain Studios), Ray stretches her stylistic tendencies to include gospel, soul, girl-group pop, and world music.

Ray vibrantly and quickly bounces through 10 tracks, backed by members of the Butchies, Asheville-based indie-rockers Arizona, and rootsy singer Brandi Carlile. Never shying too far from her social concerns, “Kinder” also manages to balance politics and fun with at times cutting, at times dreamily optimistic lyrics. And the adjective harmonies make this her most Indigo Girls-like solo disc to date.

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