True to its name, Ships in the Night makes music best heard after midnight. Meditative and carefully paced, the Charlottesville-based duo’s sky is filled with Mazzy Stars viewed from Brian Eno’s music for airports. The subtle lilting beauties of “Winter to Come” and “Piece by Piece” from its debut, self-titled EP, feature vocalist Alethea Leventhal’s breathy contemplations over washes of keyboard, synth and drum machine encouragements. The Secret Storm is more direct than its hometown counterpart in using traditional rock, folk and pop to its advantage. Led by vocalist Lauren Hoffman, the group’s soaring empowerments are bold, radio-friendly declarations of self from a female perspective. Skirts, the one-man, modern electronic project of Richmond-based sound crafter Ken Hicks, hits with an intuitive, largely instrumental sound conveyed in minimalist landscapes. Ships in the Night, Secret Storm and Skirts play Tuesday, July 21, at Strange Matter. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $7. strangematterrva.com.
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