There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
When young indie rockers feel a sense of dislocation, they arrive in some of the same places: Bob Dylan’s basement, Laurel Canyon’s porches, Lou Reed’s headspace. Despite the geographic specificity of its title, Kevin Morby’s Harlem River is an album about drifting away from New York, not an ode to it, and while the Woods bassist has physically landed in Los Angeles, sonically, he’s sheltering in the usual hallways of comedown cool. At times, that means a record that feels like Highway 61 Revisited, um, revisited. But Morby deploys those licky, chiming guitars, those teary organ swells, those gospel flourishes with a steadiness that mostly balances his searching concerns. “Reign” is a swaggering, acoustic outlaw anthem out of the Nebraska playbook—a throwback to a throwback, but whatever—while “Slow Train” is a hard-sighing last-call ballad with a gorgeous assist from Welsh singer Cate Le Bon. And Morby can still can give his influences a tweak, in both senses of the word. Take this twist on a cherished Lou Reed sentiment: “Why’d you let me walk on the wild side?” Kevin Morby performs with Steve Gunn at 9 p.m. at DC9, 1940 9th St. NW. $10. (202) 483-5000. dcnine.com.