08.20.13 — “Plough” by Speedy Ortiz

Speedy Ortiz

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Plough” by Speedy Ortiz (2013, from the album Major Arcana).

Speedy Ortiz is an indie rock quartet from Northampton, Massachusetts. They formed a couple of years ago when guitarist and songwriter Sadie Dupuis moved from New York to Northampton to pursue master’s degree in poetry. Along the way, she ended up forming a band. A band which took its name from a minor character in the cult comic Love and Rockets. A couple of self-released singles and an EP called Sports later, they found a home in Carpark Records and in July of 2013, they released their debut album Major Arcana.

The 2013 Hopscotch Music Festival is just a couple of weeks away, and it’s been a while since I’ve featured any of the bands who will be playing there. Speedy Ortiz is playing on the middle night (Friday September 6) of the festival. 3 nights. 175 bands. 15 venues in downtown Raleigh. Plus all sorts of free stuff going on during the day. This is the fourth year of the festival, and my second year going to the whole thing. It’s going to be a blast.

I don’t know anything about the band, and I’ve only heard a few of their songs. This is one of the better ones that I’ve heard. Some people are quick to throw around reference points like Liz Phair, Sebadoh, Veruca Salt, and others of the post-grunge mid-1990s. On the songs that I’ve heard, I hear something more like other 1990s stuff like Brighten The Corners-era Pavement (think “Embassy Row” and “We Are Underused”) and Pirate Prude-era Helium. Whatever you want to call it, there’s some unorthodox guitar tuning and playing going on there, and it’s definitely a very ’90s sound.

“Plough” by Speedy Ortiz

It’s the first 10 seconds that I feel a big Pavement/Helium influence. After that, and especially in the middle of the song, it gets very big and guitar poppy, but at the end of the day it’s just a song about sex.

I can do without the last 20 seconds of the song, which seem less like a playful way to wind down, and more like a superfluous add-on. Apart from that, it’s a great song. And I like it more with repeated listens.

Friday night will be the most difficult night of the festival for me to handle. There’s a lot of things that I really want to see going on at the same times. The downside of that logjam is that there’s no way I can do it all. The upside is that I’ll have options if the venues become overcrowded. Speedy Ortiz is playing Friday night from 11 to midnight at the Kennedy Theater.

You can buy Major Arcana from the Carpark Records web store here, in your choice of CD/lossless/cassette.

If you’re still undecided about going to Hopscotch, be aware that there are just a few passes left, so act quickly by buying your ticket here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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