Jerry DeCicca’s voice — deep, whispering, moaning like a sinking galleon — is so prevailingly somber, even his lightest lines get dragged under. Actually, I’ve been looping The Black Swans’ latest — Occasion for Song, just released on the Misra label — for hours and I don’t recall any light lines. Well, “Daily Affirmation” is kinda peppy, but mostly the album is slow, thick and heavy, and a lot of it hurts a little. Sometimes it’s almost too blunt, too relentlessly, poignantly suffocating for a person to endure from any safe distance: “I was hungry, I was dry, I walked a cliff called suicide.” DeCicca gets particularly personal on the beautiful, bewildered “Portsmouth, Ohio,” which laments the death of the band’s violin player Noel Sayre in 2008. “Nobody’s supposed to die three days before the Fourth of July” he sighs, “Especially while the sun is still in the sky.” Somewhere between Leonard Cohen’s grand parable folk songs and the softest Yo La Tengo murmurs, you’ll find The Black Swans doing their lovely, lonely waltz.
Sun., Sept. 2, 8 p.m., $8-$10, with Meg Baird and Glenn Jones, Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Ave., facebook.com/folkadelphia.