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If you’ve never heard of the Brooklyn-based band Hem, that may be because the chamber-folk ensemble last released a studio album in 2006. But many do remember the pristine vocals of Sally Ellyson, lilting on a sea of strings and singing about Americana (“Not California”) and natural phenomena (“Funnel Cloud”). For those fans, news that a new Hem album was dropping was reason to drop everything. The band’s glory days in the aughts included concerts with the Boston Pops and scoring a 2009 production of Twelfth Night (starring Anne Hathaway) at Shakespeare in the Park. Officially, the band has an eight-member lineup, but an orchestra of 40 plays on the new record. (Paying the string players is one explanation for the big gap between albums.) In March, Hem played its first gig in nearly six years, and now, the band is off on a minitour that will include a June show at the Birchmere. Savor the music, especially when a band that works as sporadically as Hem finally puts out an album and calls it Departure & Farewell.
June 14 at Birchmere. $25. birchmere.com.