There has been an increasing rise in the mixing of modern and vintage sound, a sign of the times maybe? Whatever the reason some sound authentic and others lack invention. The Portland based quartet (originally from North Carolina) known as Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside are about to give all those in the field a bloody good run for their money with the release of their debut album Dirty Radio which is released on 10th October through Fargo. I have never heard anything like them before and I want more!
So what makes them so special? They mix an amazing range of vintage breadcrumbs from jazz, blues, roots, rockabilly, punk and a whole range of other sounds. Not forgetting that all important great big breath of rebellion and fire catered for by Sallie Ford’s incredible powerhouse of a voice! She sounds like she walked out of an Alan Lomax recording and she can raise the goddamn roof like a southern preacher!
This is one incredibly diverse album and Sallie Ford is clearly on a mission. On her opening track ‘I Swear’ she nails her colours to the mast with the announcement:
When I turn on the radio / It all sounds the same
What have these people done to music
They just don’t care anymore
If you’re sick and tired of commericial music then have a listen to this album!
She takes the best ingredients from the past from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James, dabbles with an array genres and creates something entirely dazzling and unexpected. Just take a listen to Poison Milk, a raw blues number with doo-wop chorus that has splashes of Gene Vincent and Johnny Cash inspired guitar rifts backed by a lush hammond organ. The pace is measured from the rockier Black Keys sounding Write Me a Letter to the mellower Thirteen Years Old whose lyrics are stabbingly poignant:
I’m only 13 years old / Already life’s cold
Can’t talk to mama / And today my daddy died
Tell me why I couldn’t cry
They always say that life will go on
But all I got is my house and my lawn
My dog, my brother, my school and my friends
As a lyricist Sallie is exceptional with great verses you’d love to store up and use:
Just like they took away the Polaroid picture
They’re gonna take away everything that means something
Today I think I saw ten thousand cell phones
But not one decent conversation
from: Write me a Letter
The band sound authentic and have great artistic integrity that they see all the way through to the recording process. They recorded to tape in order to capture a close a sound as possible to their live performances. To aid them they called upon engineer Adam Selzer (Norfolk & Western), with a few additional tracks overseen by Mike Coykendall (M. Ward, She & Him, Blitzen Trapper).
I knew we would come up with something special, just because of the sound on the records that I really liked that those guys had done, music that had a warm tone to it.
They then enhanced the arrangements with additional strings and keyboards, but with deft artistry that doesn’t over power their core sound.
There’s a damn good reason why they have fans such as The Decemberists and The Avett Brothers! This is a no bullshit album, absolutely awesome!
Video: I Swear
Listen to Dirty Radio full:
Dirty Radio is available from 10th October