Matthew Ryan has been doing the underground singer-songwriter thing since his 1997 album, May Day, writing and releasing music prolifically (much of it self-produced) while darting around the alt-rock spectrum in an unending hunt for the perfect lyrical conduit. New LP In The Dusk Of Everything finds him cozying up to folk, as his earnest rasp, fingerpicked acoustic, and poetic narrative are interrupted only by occasional spits of harmonica and barely audible patches of reverberating keys. The whole affair is entirely devoid of percussion, save for the eerily sparse “I Hate Everyone,” on which a pit-patting drum machine underscores a refrain that captures the whole record’s feel: Nigh-unsalvageable cynicism out the brain of a serial optimist. Catch Ryan at Brooklyn’s Union Hall on Dec. 6 and The Saint in Asbury Park on Dec. 7.

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