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“Phosphorescent” describes the slow-moving absorption process a substance undergoes to form light. It’s an apt name for Matthew Houck’s one-man folk project: Phosphorescent’s songs move delicately, wrapped as they are around Houck’s soft vocals, which invoke some illuminating imagery. On “Dead Heart,” from 2005’s Aw Come Aw Wry, he whispers, “Around your head, drowned and wet/Is a ring of lights, buzzing lights/Cousin, light is not foreign.” On “Wolves,” from last year’s Pride, he sings, “Blazing with light, is the whitest and the tallest and the biggest one.” Though Houck is working in the singer-songwriter vein of Iron and Wine and Lou Barlow, Phosphorescent’s somber ballads have some delicate multi-intrumental textures, and his acoustic guitar and warbling vocals will get a boost from a four-piece band.
PHOSPHORESCENT PERFORMS WITH VIRGIN FOREST AT 9 P.M. AT DC9, 1940 9TH ST. NW, $10. (202) 483-5000.