In the District, Aaron Thompson has made a small name for himself recording emotional, indoor-kid laptop folk, but over the last year—during which time he moved to New York City—the singer has stepped more and more outside. His strong 2010 full-length and instrumental commissions were mostly delicate and womblike, with lots of glitchy ambience gurgling beneath skeletal guitar figures. His recent Vessel EP, in contrast, mostly ditches the electronics and the solipsism, which suits the narrative wanderlust well: If you’re going to sing about sea journeys, environmental catastrophe, and the devil, you might as well bury your rasp in an orchestral maelstrom. “I’m sinking low, I’m sinking, cried the sparrow with blackened wings,” Thompson intones, soon giving ground to a crashing, apocalyptic string motif. “You know of a hope, but you don’t know hope, and the distance is wide as the sea.”
Aaron Thompson performs with The Jackfields and Bobbie Allen at 9 p.m. at IOTA, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $10. iotaclubandcafe.com. (703) 522-8340. He also performs Jan. 31 at Blackbyrd.