The Sadies Delve Into “Internal Sounds”

December 21, 2013 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  8 Comments

the-sadiesThe Sadies from Toronto, Canada should be modern day music gods. All they do is stand on their head every time they put on a live show or release an album, throwing a proverbial musician’s clinic with their cutting-edge instrumentation and jawbreaking prowess. Their music appeals to a broad panoramic of the music listening public: from punks, to country, to mod, surf, blues, rockers, and rockabilly types alike, moving through influences with ease and credibility from their adept and studious knowledge of American music modes.

They may not be household names, but amongst their musical peers The Sadies are a prized commodity, working as the recording and touring band behind such names as Neko Case, Randy Bachman from The Guess Who, Andre Williams, Jon Doe, Neil Young, and Jon Langford just to name some. Brothers Dallas and Travis Good who buoy The Sadies are about the best musicians to ever suck air, seamlessly harmonizing with each other as effortless as breath, and backed by the power rhythm section of Sean Dean and Mike Belitsky.

The Sadies 2013 offering Internal Sounds is a concept album of sorts, though really every Sadies album and song is conceptualized to some extent, or at least stylized in the sense that their songs send you to another time and place, are drenched with mood-altering rhythms and melodies that are both melancholic and reflective, and afford that overall immersive experience that all true music fans crave. Dark psychedelic mod country punk, if you insist on confining their sound with words.

the-sadies-internal-soundsIf The Sadies had a visual artist equivalent, they might be matched up with M.C. Escher in how they are brilliantly creative, but in a very linear, analytical, geometric way. The Sadies don’t like to leave any loose ends dangling. They’re perfectionists, and like things to have a beginning and an end, for things to wrap up when a complete circle has been etched, while still being able to see the analytical truth and beauty in imperfection and discordance. Looking at the track list of Internal Sounds may explain this a little better:

3. The Very Beginning
4. Starting All Over Again
5. The Very Ending
6. Another Tomorrow Again
7. Another Yesterday Again

You wouldn’t label The Sadies as amazing songwriters in the sense that it’s not their poetry that is meant to wow you, but rather be the clothing for their compositions to make their songs more fulfilling to the complete music palette. But Internal Sounds does have a few stripped-down, songwriting moments, like the mandolin-driven and harmonious second track “So Much Blood,” and the honky-tonk styling of “Leave This World Behind.” And though the turns of phrases like in the opening track “The First 5 Minutes” may not help you commiserate with the human condition by conveying a very personal story, their use of cunning word play is no less enlightening and inspiring.

A band like The Sadies can do virtually whatever they want, at least within the confines of a 4-piece lineup. But it’s always refreshing when a band can play with blazing speed, like The Sadies do in “Another Tomorrow Again,” but choose to not feature it predominately, laying on tempo like a crutch or trick to make up for a lackluster musical imagination. There’s a little Phish or Frank Zappa in their approach in how their music rises and is strong from a¬†standpoint of music theory. It doesn’t take long listening to The Sadies to determine why so many artists want them on their side.

Don’t know if this would be a great first pick for someone just getting into The Sadies. They are probably a band best experienced live, and the live experience is what helps you realize what to listen for in their albums. But if you appreciate your country music served up with a fierce dose of guitar driven soul with a bit of classic mod dressing, The Sadies and Internal Sounds might be the sound you’re looking for.

1 3/4 of 2 guns up.

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Purchase Internal Sounds

You can listen to the entire album in the YouTube playlist below.

8 Comments to “The Sadies Delve Into “Internal Sounds””

  • Great band, the Sadies. I’ve yet to see them live, but have this one, their previous two, the John Doe album of country covers (Country Club – great album) and the live Neko Case album. I hear so much about their live show. Have to watch out for them coming to the east coast.

    I remember reading a review or a comment on one of their albums, where the last lines were: Twang on, brothers. Twang on. I often say those words to myself when listening to them.


  • Interesting. On my side of the spectrum, I don’t see too many concept albums that lend themselves in whole or part to the country music genre. Might have to check this one out.

    You know, Trigger, as many reviews as you write, I’m surprised that you haven’t found time to review Zac Brown Band’s “Grohl Sessions” EP that was released a week or two ago. I couldn’t give less of a crap about Grohl, Nirvana or the Foo Fighters, but this EP was interesting to say the least. Also, I looked for it but was disappointed to find that you didn’t happen to review Charley Pride’s most recent studio album, “Choices.” It was released in 2011 but I just now found out about it myself. While it had virtually no impact, you still found time to review Don Williams’ most recent album, so Charley’s snub perplexes me (but I know that you’re busy, so it’s not a crime or anything).


    • I may eventually review both of those project. The Zac Brown/Grohl stuff probably sooner than later, but we’ll see.

      At this point, the album and live review are dead. Nobody reads them, and they are pointless in the attempt to get people to pay attention to new music. I know there are still a few holdouts that may scan through them occasionally, but at this point I write them as much for myself as for anyone else. They have always been lesser-frequented material, but over the past year, the amount of people willing to read an album review has gone into a tailspin. Unless it is for a big, flashy release, nobody cares, even, if not especially the people who will pipe up whenever there is a negative article and say we should do more to support the good music out there.

      All people want in 2013/2014 is to have their already-established music tastes reinforced, and many sites simply use the album review for an “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine scenario.” They are virtually worthless for turning on fans to new music.

      In 2013 I did somewhere around 80-something album reviews. Next year, I may do 1/3′rd of that, we’ll see. I’ll always do them for the most important projects and to highlight up-and-coming artists, but if people want more of them from me and others, they must start using them, engaging with them, instead of engaging with lists, and other bullshit internet traffic-whoring fodder.

      It is really a shame what has happened to music journalism, and I’m somewhat embarrassed to call myself a music fan in 2013.


      • Well, that stinks. I do enjoy reading your reviews and they shed light on musicians that I would otherwise ignore or not even be aware of. Call me crazy, but if you’re going to write the reviews anyway, why not put them on After all, you have a link to their site on your page and that would be a great place for others to see your thoughts as opposed to just this site. I myself post music and movie reviews there once in a blue moon.

        This is my review of the album I asked you about a few months ago called “Proof of Life” by Scott Stapp (and if that doesn’t ring any bells, it’s the one I said that a reviewer on iTunes ignorantly accused of being “country music”). If you have time, give it a read. This could be another outlet for your reviews.


  • I saw these guys back up John Doe in 2008 and was so impressed with them I ran out and bought their album. However, the album bored me. Based on this review, I’ll try out their latest release.


    • I agree that their albums don’t generally live up to their live performances, and put a slight word of caution about that in this review for that reason. Ultimately I think they are a live band, but I do think there are moments in this record that capture that live energy.


    • I would guess that album would be New Seasons, which is also the first one I bought. Don’t know that you’ll like the new one much better. I haven’t seen them live, which maybe explains why I don’t feel so disappointed with their albums.


  • Well, if I had a vote it would be for more reviews. Maybe just a quick line or 3 on the ones that are a half gun up or less. Save the longer in depth reviews for the higher rated ones. Cuz I bet you’re gonna listen to ‘em all anyways.

    As far as this one goes, it sounds more like a vanity release. Maybe these hotshot sidemen get enough of being told what to do and release something like this as the antidote. They need better production. It’s good background music for a quirky record store, though.


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