With Man Man, 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, 713-862-3838 or www.fitzlivemusic.com
Shilpa Ray makes music like a dog biting an electric fence. The New Yorker's latest album, Teenage and Torture, features her backing band the Happy Hookers playing a kind of blues that's splayed out, wrenching, and driven, a result more of compulsion than composing. As for Ray herself, like a more languid version of doomed folk singer Karen Dalton, she widens the spectrum of misery by wailing over the swells of her harmonium, a bellowed keyboard usually reserved for Indian music, her voice ringing like cracked crystal with words that are easy to understand: "Follow the night star/ Right star/ Dark star/ Dead star," she hollers on "Erotolepsy." Torture's track list betrays Ray's caustic sense of the deadpan: "Hookers," "Dames a Dime a Dozen," "Requiem in a Key I Don't Know."