Music » Critics' Picks

Samantha Crain

11 p.m. Saturday, September 18. Riddle's Penultimate Café & Wine Bar, 6307 Delmar Boulevard, University City.



Shawnee, Oklahoma, native Samantha Crain comes by her low-burning notoriety honestly. The diminutive songwriter eschews glamour and gimmicks and trusts in the strength of her believably desperate vocals and acutely focused songwriting. On this year's You (Understood), the hardest rock record Ramseur has released, she worked with Joey Lemon of experimental-rock band Berry. The sound suggests a somewhat folksier PJ Harvey or a slightly countrified Feist, with cantering drum shuffles, tipsy call-and-responses and difficult guitar equations that lead into freaky uilleann-pipe solos. Like her musical moves, Crain's subject matter can be unnerving, especially when she frequents the sadomasochism that lurks behind any relationship worth writing about at all. Her voice illuminates each confession like a white-hot interrogation lamp.