When someone has a dirty little secret, it's definitely worth sharing. Uhm, that's exactually what my old friend Uri should be thinking when he urged me to listen to Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside. Since then, I've been completely blown away. Oh, yeah! There could not be a better start to the year than discovering such a stunning band. I've got multiple arguments for why this outfit should be a regular slot on your stereo.
First of all, they dish up eleven tracks, taking style notes from jazz, swing, country, blues, rock&roll, and somehow spinning them into one cohesive sound. It generates an air of nostalgia while still sounding modern, unique, dazzling and unexpected.
Secondly, the band's secret weapon: Sallie Ford's exceptionally powerful and emotive voice, which has elicited comparisons to classic jazz and blues icons, yet it's stoked with the fire of youth and rebellion, too. Okay, not everyone will go for her somewhat harsh vocal style, that's true. However, where most other singers try to hit every note perfectly and impressively, she opts for emotion over technique.
All of the songs on the record are entertaining, and most of them are a whole lot of fun. But Ford has a serious side as well. Her lyrics are, well, let's just say that if they were autobiographical, she would have led a disturbing life. On the surface, Dirty Radio may sound like a collection of '50s-style bubble-gum pop tunes, but upon closer examination, a depth of emotion and thought reveals its presence through this young Portland songwriter.
This kind of music makes me picture nerdy girls in sundresses and cat-eyed glasses dancing and stomping enough to shake the walls. Seriously, this band has mojo and it's infectious. Dirty Radio is the kind of album where you come up with a new favorite song every time you listen to it. I love it. Absolutely love it. I'm trying to remember when a debut LP truly grabbed me like this... Alright, better judge for yourself since, as an added bonus, the full collection can be streamed below.
But first, check out the video for I Swear, an easy favorite track where she yelps about the current state of mainstream radio. Careful listening is required to make out the words. " When I turn on the radio, it all sounds the same ", she laments in the first line. " What have these people done to music? I just don't care anymore". If you're also sick and tired of commercial music, then have a listen to this bouncy song!
Ah, btdubz, if you are interested in fashion history, take a second glimpse at the clip!