Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside's latest, Dirty Radio, is tailor made for a Sunday afternoon toodle up Rock Creek with your best gal or a forlorn Friday night of red wine and mustard sandwiches. It's also made for those of us burned out by flat vocal performances built on Auto-Tuned tracks and made even more listless with Pro Tools knob-twisting. You want to know what the radio should sound like? Read on.
From the opener, "I Swear," (Not the All-4-One song, sadly), Ms. Ford sets to reminding you of all the good things in the world: Ella, Etta, Aretha, Regina. Her voice is on the edge of control, every gulp of air audible, each syllable enunciated with alacrity and steeped in moxie. The Sound Outside add to the retro flavor via stripped-down arrangements with stand-up bass, jangly surf-esque guitar, a pinch of organ, and driving bass drum.
"Against the Law" builds to a percussive crescendo with spooky guitars and the ominous clang of a distant bell. Ford's vocals burst like a summertime thunderstorm over the slow and subtly surging song.
Dirty Radio is filthy with energy, emotion, and tradition—three settings Auto-Tune doesn't have.
Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside play the Top Hat Monday, June 6, at 6 PM with Stellarondo. Cover TBA.