Music

Sallie Ford - 'Slap Back' (album stream) (Premiere)

On the boisterous Slap Back, the first full-length under her own name, Sallie Ford hopscotches between folk, blues, psychedelia, and punk intuitively and convincingly.

On her new album Slap Back, Sallie Ford strikes out on her own after making two full-lengths that were co-credited to the Sound Outside. Well, she's only sort of going it alone: Despite releasing Slap Back under her own name, Ford is living out her dream of starting an "all-girl rock 'n' roll band" after enlisting Portland cohorts Anita Lee Elliot (bass), Amanda Spring (drums), and Christina Cano (keyboards) to help make the new album. PopMatters touched base with Ford to find out more about Slap Back, a boisterous rock album that hopscotches between folk, blues, psychedelia, and punk intuitively and convincingly.

Premiering here on PopMatters, Slap Back comes out on 14 October on Vanguard.

 

PopMatters: Obviously, the big change with Slap Back is that it is credited to just you. What was the reason behind performing under your own name now?

Sallie Ford: I wanted the new album to be a continuation of what I was doing before, so I kept my name on the new project. I had thought about coming up with a new band name along with my name, but couldn't think of anything that really made sense. I like how simple it is and just my name now. Also, with the last band I was in, everyone was a partial songwriter and this project I am the only songwriter. The other band members have their own solo projects that they write songs for.

PopMatters: As a result, does the new album reflect more of a first-person perspective, perhaps in contrast to a band perspective?

Sallie Ford: I have always written the lyrics for my records. I always get inspiration from my personal life. With this record, I feel like it is more me than my last records. Before I felt like I was playing more of a character, because that kind of took the stress off of songwriting and made it a fun process where I felt outside of myself.

This record is straightforward lyrically. Some of the songs I wrote for friends and some of the songs are love songs. The thread between all of the songs is that they are all about relationships.

PopMatters: Perhaps the most striking quality of Slap Back is diverse styles you use from track to track -- even within tracks. You move fluidly from more traditional sounds like country and blues, to funkier elements, to a more psychedelic feel when the organ comes in. Do the different approaches blend naturally for you, or do you combine them in a more conscious manner?

Sallie Ford: I think all modern music mixes genres. I would feel bored if something had to just be one thing. This is just a rock'n'roll record or anything that is "blank" rock. Punk rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock surf rock and fuzz rock. Those all complement each other quite well, wouldn't you say? I know everyone is going to hear something different though and that's cool with me.

PopMatters: With the lineup change, you say that you were able to "fulfill a dream of starting an all-girl rock'n'roll band". What has living the dream, so to speak, been like for you as an artist?

Sallie Ford: Having such a specific idea of the next band I wanted to start, helped me really push into gear. I am so excited to be playing new music, doing something different and challenging myself.

PopMatters: There are some familiar names from the Portland music scene contributing here. How did collaborating with them come about?

Sallie Ford: Portland can feel pretty small sometimes especially the music community. I found my new band because I asked my friends in the music scene to suggest any cool female musicians they knew of to play with. The producer, Chris Funk [of the Decemberists], has been a friend of mine for a few years now. He was such an inspiration to work with and he is such a badass.

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image