Her work’s been included on so many year-end lists, it’d be difficult to remain unfamiliar with Cate Le Bon. All the superfluous name dropping to describe what she’s doin’ seems pretty pointless, though. Suffice it to say, she’s Welsh and clearly has an affinity as much for pop as weirdo subterra musics. What can’t be overstated about Le Bon’s songs, however, is that the eerie quality her voice lends to any of those simply constructed works is lacking in just about every other contemporary catalog. Starting with 2009’s “Me Oh My,” the songwriter tossed off bizarre narratives about becoming other people by donning their clothing. The surrealism is cut by Le Bon’s exacting songs—there’s not too much more than a guitar-bass-drums setup—and the dour tone in her voice. Last year’s “Mug Museum” finds straightforward pop matched with a lyrical approach more rooted in the world we live—longing for love and wondering about the future. While her phrasing’s always been a bit off-kilter, forcing all the syllables she needs to spit out into the chorus on “Duke” is an amazing feat. Along with Le Bon’s ensemble, Kevin Morby’s on the trail for this current tour. Being billed as a dude inextricably linked to the Woods cohort is a bit misleading—he wasn’t a band member for all that long. And more credits seem to align Morby with the Babies, a group that also includes the Vivian Girls’ Cassie Ramone. This newfound association with a Woodsist-adjacent player makes supreme sense for Le Bon and could point toward future, lusher accomplishments. Probably, though, we should all be satisfied with the fact that this music’s been trucked across the Atlantic, planted in SoCal and seems to have found traction with a wide berth of music dweebs. Maybe there’s still hope. (Dave Cantor)
January 23 at Schubas, 3159 North Southport, (773)525-2508. 9pm. $12. 21+.