Gritty riffs, tight drum work, fantastic melody and killer vocal work is an obvious trait to the music of Southall as we’ve established by now. These guys put out their first album, Six String Sorrow, in 2015 and have quite literally not stopped rolling out the gems. Catch a live show and the audience will be cheering Gunshy and Keystone Clan all night long, but what fans need to dig into is the progression that Southall is making, because it’s special and, I believe, a new era for the band.
Scared Money dropped June 30th after the band’s rebrand, and it may have been their best release so far in their career. On July 21st, however, Southall released a tune that could show some competition.
By Surprise is the newest banger by the Red Dirt rockers (whatever the term “Red Dirt” means nowadays is up to you), and it is sonically perfect. First and foremost, the production here is impeccable and a big reason as to why the track hits your ears so flawlessly. The sound we’re getting from Southall on this song reminds me a bit of some 2000s alternative rock, maybe comparable to Kings of Leon with a twang. The hook is infectious and plants itself very easily as Read Southall sings with an airy, easy-going delivery.
The introduction is interesting with the metronomic, simple drum beat and almost dirty, gritty guitar lick being met with bouncy, pretty picking – it just meshes surprisingly well. Aside from that first bit, each member knew their assignment and they performed excellently. There’s some fuzziness around the bridge and an almost psychedelic feeling as you get that along with alternating tom hits from the percussion. I can nerd out and try to explain a song, but it’s obviously easier to listen for yourself.
By Surprise is yet another winner from Southall. These guys are an absolute force out west and it’s so fun to see them grow and grow around not only the country, but also the world.
Cover photo by Steven Contreras