With the right hiphop-tinted canvas, several bands with strong female vocalists have been able to reach far beyond their core audience. Within this steadily growing artistic movement is Morcheeba, hanging somewhere between the psychedelic-hued dance-floor grooves of yesteryear’s Deee-lite and the stark, black-and-white lamentations of today’s Portishead. Whether it’s a dusty breakbeat, a vintage loop, or a well-timed transformer scratch, incorporating elements that were once found only on the palettes of rap musicians has become a profitable way to add a touch of grit to a smooth chanteuse. Unlike many of their trip-hopping peers, musicians Pete Norris, Paul Godfrey, and Ross Godfrey are not content to maintain the genre mixing at an even, predictable level. Their sophomore album, The Big Calm, leans to extremes that are occasionally disturbing, as in the horror-core rap stylings of the title track, but more often pleasantly surprising, as in the upbeat “Let Me See.” “Fear and Love” is the type of backbeat-lacking ballad that could easily alienate the “if it ain’t rough, it ain’t right” crowd, but it serves as a refreshing pause between head nods. For the most part, Morcheeba makes colorful use of its sampler and turntables while still allowing lead singer Skye Edwards to paint the prettiest of pictures on a solid foundation of live instruments. Morcheeba will be working in earth tones this weekend with Jim White at 7 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $10. (202) 393-0930. (Neil Drumming)