Local quartet Speck Mountain doesn’t shy away from open space. The recent “Some Sweet Relief” (Carrot Top), a psychedelic nighttime dream that seeps atmosphere from its first chord, opens with the patient, soulful “Shame on the Soul,” dominated by organ and Marie-Claire Balabanian’s unbelievable voice. Smooth, wise, devastating. “Angela,” a later track, recalls Yo La Tengo’s most inventive “I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One” period, with subtle tropicalia backed by heavily reverbed, nearly shoegazer vocals. Small elements of rootsy folk emerge as well. Make no mistake, “Some Sweet Relief” is a soundtrack for the late hours, when the bars have closed and you decide to have just one more drink before heading to bed. Balabanian’s voice will haunt your mind, and her backing band—Karl Briedrick, Kate Walsh, Tim Daisy—provide suitable, sharp accompaniment. Some songs, like the sprawling and huge “Backsliding,” sound almost spiritual, as if they’re actually played from the top of a mountain. If this is your sort of thing, you’ll love it. (Tom Lynch)
Speck Mountain plays August 5 at Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, (773)276-3600, at 9:30pm. $8.