Liz Divine



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Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside hate being pigeonholed. While their earlier work has often been unfairly described as coy rockabilly, the group directly challenges listeners on their latest album, Untamed Beast. Singing more pointed lyrics with a newfound rawness, Ford is declarative about who she is and what she isn't. On "Rockabilly," the band hoots and hollers with carnal urgency, recalling the hellfire rock of the Gun Club, while Ford rails against critics who "tell me I'm like the rockabilly queen/Won't you tell me who the hell is she?" (The lyric's possibly in reference—and deference—to Wanda Jackson, a rock 'n' roll pioneer known as the "Queen of Rockabilly," who once brought Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside on tour.) Elsewhere on Untamed Beast, you can hear Ford and company further flexing their sinewy musical chops; the roaring surf rumble "Bad Boys" and slithering romantic lament "Shivers" both stand out, but what makes Ford really distinctive is her willingness to take supposedly static genres and update them to her liking. While another songwriter might hew close to the thematic concerns of her forbears, Ford can give her music a harder edge, or gleefully vamp up the innuendo, to create a modern take on some of rock's oldest and most cherished forms.

Opening for Ford tonight are And the Kids. The Northampton, Massachusetts, band's newest EP, Neighbors, sounds tight-knit and mighty, like a group of kids who have been cooped up inside for too long and are now ready to explore the outside world. With songs about isolation and growing up, And the Kids' yelping, processional baroque pop is warm and youthful, but with a sense of danger—even the most joyous song will subtly allude to something dark, unseen, and perilous. So basically what I'm trying to say is that if you liked Arcade Fire before they fell into turgid frippery, And the Kids might be your new favorite band. Crocodile, 8 pm, $15. recommended

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