Shilpa Ray’s Songs Capture Life on the Edge in New York City

“Door Girl” echoes the streetwise, hard-boiled vibe of Lou Reed.

Shilpa Ray

Door Girl

Northern Spy

Northern Spy

The streetwise, hard-boiled vibe of New York bard Lou Reed lives on in the wonderfully bracing new album from maverick singer-songwriter Shilpa Ray. Putting aside her trademark harmonium (an organ with a haunted-house sound), she adds chunky old-school hip hop and snarling punk to her sonic portfolio, while retaining the decadent cabaret aura that previously earned her an endorsement from Nick Cave. The songs are inspired by Ray’s tenure working the door of a Lower East Side club and capture the exhilaration and desperation of living too close to the edge in the big city. From the funky “Revelations of a Stamp Monkey” to the primal fury of “EMT Police the Fire Department” to tender doo-wop echoes on “Shilpa Ray’s Got a Heart Full of Dirt,” Door Girl is a thrilling and ultimately life-affirming trip through the urban wasteland.