Speedy Ortiz is an indie rock/power pop/grunge revival quartet from Northampton, Massachusetts. Frontwoman Sadie Dupuis is one of the smartest people in all of indie rock, and by all accounts very much down-to-earth. She studied maths at MIT before going on to pursue a masters in poetry at UMass. It’s educational. It’s educational. It’s educational.
Because of her credentials, she’s often hailed as one of the best lyricists in the business. But it’s not just about flexing literary muscle. Anyone can write a book of poetry. She’s also a very qualified singer, and someone who realizes that being in a rock band is a lot of fun. People (myself included) have compared Speedy Ortiz’ previous work to some blend of Pavement and PJ Harvey. As a way to sort of poke fun at herself and that comparison, (or maybe just by coincidence), Dupuis was once the front of a Pavement cover band called “Babement”. More recently, while Speedy Ortiz was at SXSW, she took comedian Hannibal Burress up on his open offer to “play drums for any band”. He promised that he didn’t know how to play drums and that it would be awful, but Dupuis invited him to play with her, and apparently he came through on his threat to be awful. But it was all in fun.
Anyway, the band has a brand new record called Foil Deer, which just came out yesterday via Carpark Records. I’ve only had time to listen to it a couple of times, but I really like it. At times, especially on today’s song, I’m reminded of one of my all time favorites Bettie Serveert.
“The Graduates” by Speedy Ortiz
Here, Dupuis sounds a lot like Carol van Dijk. I’m thinking specifically of Dust Bunnies-era Betties. That happens to be my second favorite Betties record, so I’m all good with that.
Two years ago, Speedy Ortiz played at the 2013 Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh. I was really hoping to make it to their set on the middle night of the festival, but my schedule was jam-packed with other stuff and I wasn’t able to take in their set. They’re playing at the Cat’s Cradle near here in a couple of weeks, and I have high hopes that I can make it to that.