Chelsea Wolfe at Rock & Roll Hotel Sunday, Jan. 27

How comfortable are fringe-nibbling hipsters with goth? Looking back at the last few years in blog-propelled indie music, it seems like they—sigh, OK, we—have embraced goth’s clothing (Dum Dum Girls) and synth-pop derivations (Zola Jesus) but not many of its, say, satanist or S&M diversions. In Los Angeles–based musician Chelsea Wolfe, Vice and Pitchfork have found another shade of goth they can tenuously support. But Wolfe’s haunting electric folk should be more thoughtfully enjoyed. She’s appealing partly because her songwriting has improved so markedly since her rough, uninviting 2010 debut, The Grime and the Glow; her recent Unknown Rooms LP is her best yet, even if it’s a rangy collection of mystery-meat compositions she hadn’t seen fit to release anywhere else. Just take its opener, the unforgettable “Flatlands”: Few moments linger like when her smoky vibrato meets that song’s swell of strings. (The album, with all its dimensions, also might knock down critics who look at goth music like a fleeting theater-nerd affectation.) Since Wolfe made her debut, she’s transformed her work into something deeply dark and touching, and, more superficially, molded an outer appearance so bewitching, it’s hard to blame those who might stop at her videos and declare themselves sufficiently enchanted. Chelsea Wolfe performs with Starred at 8:30 p.m. at Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. $10-$12. (202) 388-ROCK.

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