In 2008, Sadie Dupuis was living the Austin dream, working in the video department of Waterloo Records, while playing shows here and there during her brief tenure in Texas. She hadn’t come to town to make music, though.
“Just, you know, life crisis time,” she laughs.
After moving back to the Northeast and releasing two albums as the frontwoman in Massachusetts’ grungy, off-kilter Speedy Ortiz, Dupuis relocated to Philly and embarked on a solo project. Slugger, her Sad13 debut, retains the uneasy edge of Speedy’s sound, but delves into Nineties bubblegum pop paired with explicitly political, outward-facing lyrics. Dupuis insists that thematically, it’s not much of a departure. The singer/guitarist is simply bringing what she’s always written about to the forefront.
“Maybe as I get older I gravitate less toward laboring over a really complicated, poetic line with four hidden meanings,” says Dupuis, who has an MFA in poetry. “I think on the first Speedy record, I viewed lyrics as a puzzle, and was trying to accomplish a lot with them. On the last record that was true, too, but there were certain things I wanted to be more direct about.”
Championing the celebration and inclusion of women, a bold, colorful confidence in both herself and her friends, and the need for clear-cut sexual consent, Slugger works to normalize the idea of female empowerment in pop music, particularly on tracks like “Get a Yes.”
“I was trying to do it in a fun and positive way. Because there are many people who are like, ‘This isn’t a sexy topic,’ but I actually can’t think of a more sexy topic. I don’t know, is rape culture sexy?” wonders Dupuis. “I think that’s what is reinforced by pop music. I consciously wanted to do a fun, upbeat-sounding song, because it should be a fun, upbeat topic and process.”– Libby Webster
Proof psychedelia doesn’t always mean incense and flowers, and that furious improvisation isn’t solely the province of jazz, Earthless burns up the oxygen of every room the power trio jams out. San Diego’s acid shredders roar new digital single “End to End” and Acid Crusher/Mount Swan, their split LP with Harsh Toke. Philadelphia witch metallers Ruby the Hatchet cast spells via last year’s Valley of the Snake, and Austin’s Eagle Claw melt faces with instrumental thrash.– Michael Toland
A decade after the Sounds released Dying to Say This to You, the Swedish fivepiece celebrates the anniversary of its beloved sophomore effort by revisiting it live. New Wave power-pop hits from the LP have held up, including the swaggering “Song With a Mission” and brash, noisy “Queen of Apology,” lyrics by singer Maja Ivarsson delivered like Debbie Harry-lite.– Libby Webster