For nearly two decades, Beth Ditto was the frontwoman for dance-rockers Gossip, commanding audiences with a brash, throaty voice that drew comparisons to Janis Joplin and Tina Turner. But her distinct sound — and the outspoken attitude expected from someone who unapologetically described herself as a “fat, feminist lesbian from Arkansas” — has been relatively quiet since Gossip released their fifth album, “A Joyful Noise,” in 2012.
Thankfully, Ditto returned in June with her more joyful noises on a debut solo album, “Fake Sugar,” a Southern-rooted tour through pop and rock styles that nods to everything, including Fleetwood Mac and Blondie. And although the album leans on nostalgia for acts that had their heydays before the 36-year-old was born, Ditto and company recognize that stompable grooves — like the ones that animated Gossip records — are timeless.
She sounds as confident as ever as she slithers through songs like “Oo La La,” “Oh My God” and the spartan, Suicide-inspired “Go Baby Go.” But she also takes time to belt out anthemic love songs like “We Could Run,” a song on which she sings, “There are rules that I’m in to break/ You could call this a great mistake/ We could always play it safe/ But that’s no fun” — lyrics that continue to describe her approach to singing, songwriting and life.
Show: Wednesday at U Street Music Hall. Show starts at 7 p.m. 202-588-1889. ustreetmusichall.com. $20.