Building on some of the ideas presented on her last album, 2008's Beat Beat Pound, Andrea Ball once again sidesteps the well-worn singer-songwriter template on Dial Tone, her latest effort, in favor of more plodding, piano-heavy arrangements. Fleshed out by an array of interesting sounds, the dynamic range here swings fluidly from sparser numbers — with sighing strings, gently moaning saws and murmuring horns creating a spectral backdrop for Ball's hushed vocals — to more forceful and deliberate tunes driven by clacking rhythms, staccato piano lines and snare hits. Resembling Fiona Apple as played by Maria Taylor, Ball brings a distinct cinematic flair to Dial Tone. (The record was produced by Cinematic Underground mastermind Nathan Johnson, whose past work includes film scores for both Brick and the Brothers Bloom — so this isn't entirely coincidental.) Most sequels disappoint; this one does not.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.