Concert preview: Thalia Zedek gets emotional on 'Eve'

Joel Oliphint

With a series of albums on Matador Records in the '90s, Come emerged with a bluesy punk sound that was unusual for the times. The band was often described as "emotive," but there was a toughness in the voice of singer Thalia Zedek, who riffed with fellow guitarist Chris Brokaw (also the drummer in Codeine).

While Come reunited briefly for Matador's 25th anniversary and the 2013 reissue of the band's 1992 album,11:11, Zedek's main creative outlet for the past 15 years has been the Thalia Zedek Band, which retains the songwriter's bluesy influences but presents them in a different light, often with viola and piano accompanying Zedek's guitar.

Zedek, who brings her band to the Big Room Bar on Friday, Oct. 7 with Scrawl's Marcy Mays and Sue Harshe, recently releasedEve (Thrill Jockey), an album with plenty of space to allow Zedek's mournful tunes to breathe. She attributes the roomy feel to new drummer Jonathan Ulman.

"He's changed the sound of the band a lot," Zedek said recently by phone. "He's more of a minimalist than any drummer we've played with, so he creates a lot of space."

The lineup at the Big Room is a throwback to the '90s, when Come played alongside Scrawl, a band Zedek described as a kindred spirit.

"I remember Scrawl playing with [Zedek] at Middle East bar in Boston and being pretty intimidated by her playing and her stage presence," Scrawl's Harshe said.

Part of that presence is the emotional depths she reaches in her songs. "When I'm really into a performance, it can get really intense," Zedek said. "I'm not crying or laughing - it's not melodramatic. But I think our music is emotional, definitely."

One of the more emotional songs onEve is closing track "All I Need," an arresting, spare tune. "She is all I need now," Zedek sings, dragging out "she" with such strain that it beckons the next line: "It is time to rest."

"It's a love song to my partner of quite a few years now," Zedek said, "and it's about how relationships can change. Someone can be not right for you at one time, or the nature of what you need from a relationship can change. It's a love song not for a new love but for someone you've been with for a while."

Eve isn't the only new music from Zedek. She also has a new band, E, that she formed with fellow Boston musician Jason Sanford of Neptune in 2013 during a period of creative restlessness. (Gavin McCarthy later joined on drums.)

E is a more collaborative effort than the Thalia Zedek Band. Each band member contributes songwriting and vocals to create a freewheeling, experimental playground.

"We started making noise together," said Zedek, who will visit the Big Room Bar again with E in December, "and it was so cathartic."

Big Room Bar

9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7

1036 S. Front St.,

Brewery District

ALSO PLAYING: Marcy Mays and Sue Harshe