May 26th, 2011

Album Review: Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside – Dirty Radio

At the risk of sounding redundant, I’m going to rain accolades on yet another femme-led group with southern roots and powerful sound. However, I have multiple arguments for why Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside’s first full-length album, Dirty Radio, should be your guilty purchase of the week.

First: as I perused the list of new releases this week, I saw a number of albums that either shouldn’t be promoted or couldn’t care if they get promoted — Brad Paisley and Lady Gaga don’t need my help selling out on iTunes.

Second: Dirty Radio is one of a long line of band releases that have come along on the 45-record bandwagon. It’s been hip since Jack White and his stripped lady brought the roots of rock and roll back to the mainstream — and even Jack wasn’t doing anything terribly original, it just washed out the bad taste of the bubble gum we’d been chewing since ‘95.

And it’s not like Brian Setzer and the Reverend Horton Heat ever went anywhere.

But now some clever ladies are bringing it back for girls like Billie Holiday and Wanda Jackson, who certainly showed last week that the music is as powerful as it was when it came alive in the 50s.

Which brings me to my third and final argument in this tirade: Sallie Ford and her band of hybrid hipsters have a killer record that is backed by simple grooves and a voice that draws you in like a trainwreck. Ford bounces all over the tracks with hints of Grace Slick of 60s-era Jefferson Airplane to Karen O of the contemporary Yeah Yeah Yeahs. She’s even quirky enough to lend a shade of sweetish Norwegian pop-punk sensation Ida Maria — who has a new album worth a completely separate rant of it’s own … but more on that later.


These are only the faintest traces of inspirations laying under layers and layers of originality. The music is rhythmic, soulful and clever enough to breach the underground into the tap water. It can reach the masses. All they need is to catch a good wave.

Easy favorites on Dirty Radio are “I Swear” which kicks off the album with sass and a jazz — dirty, guttural jazz — and “Cage” which gives Ella and Duke a little love, splashed with Dick Dale.

“Poison Milk” brings it back down with a little gospel blues, followed by the slow western waltz, “Against the Law.” This song belongs in the bedroom with light creeping in threw shades. Even if you aren’t cheating, this song makes you feel like you are.

The rest of Dirty Radio only seeps in deeper. The funky, quirkiness of “Write Me A Letter.” This album makes me picture nerdy girls in sundresses and cat-eyed glasses dancing barefoot in a field of flowers.

It’s hip in a vintage sort of way. I imagine Ed Sullivan bobbing his head in his grave, ready to introduce the next hot band to America.

The sure-fire touch that makes this album — and, ultimately, this band — a must have is the anticipation it builds for seeing Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside in action at a club near you — like opening for Jolie Holland at Fitzgeralds on July 22.

I’d certainly like to be there to see Jeff Munger, Ford Tennis, Tyler Tornfelt and Ford walk out on that stage. Music like this brings heart back to an industry dying for fresh talent. The writing’s on the wall, if only they could hear the sound outside.

Gratuitous Call To Action: Kick your knickers off for Dirty Radio!
Find them online at

Two cents donated by Jordan Overturf, Out-of-the-Loopster.
Follow Jordan on flickr at

— The Loop Scoop


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