Los Angeles-based violinist Emily Wells blends experimental classical arrangements while often dropping hip-hop rhymes and marching along to a steady lazy-summer beat—the results are a psychedelic road trip through Wells’ mind. She’s already got a few records under her belt, but this year released her “Dirty” EP, which features her best work to date, not to mention a killer cover of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.” Wells has developed a sharp skill at penning a biting melody, and on “Dirty”‘s tracks she’s as pop-driven as ever. Her voice, a cross between Chan Marshall and Joanna Newsom, leaves much to be desired—not for its creaking whininess, just for the fact that this sound doesn’t seem fresh anymore. (The violin pieces, however, make up for most of this.) Her “Juicy” tackling reveals an artist who’s willing to take some serious chances, and here it pays off in spades. Not only does she emulate B.I.G.’s infectious delivery, Wells adds an eerily mixed string accompaniment that adds incredible weight and an almost creepy vibe to the track. Very well done. (Tom Lynch)
August 22 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, (773)525-2508, at 10pm. $8-$10.