“The camera’s always on the wrong side of the glass,” Madison Cunningham observes on “Plain Letters,” from her new album, Who Are You Now. “I hope you find a weakness that you’re stronger than.” The Orange County singer-songwriter moves from breezy pop songs into more intimate folk interludes, all of it smartly delivered with sophisticated arrangements and insightful, thoughtful lyrics. Like Joni Mitchell, Cunningham is skilled at combining yearning poetry with jazzy chord changes and luscious vocal melodies even on relatively stripped-down acoustic ballads like “Bound.” She blossoms even more with full-band backing on “Pin It Down,” in which Cunningham tries to define a nameless romantic impulse with nimble vocal dexterity amid funky rhythms. She marvels playfully about the contradictions of living in this city on the breezily engaging “L.A. (Looking Alive).” With Jake & Abe.
Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Tues., Oct 1, 8:30 p.m.; $15; all ages. (213) 389-3856, www.bootlegtheater.org.
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