Vundabar, Illuminati Hotties, Blushing
Even the name of Sarah Tudzin’s L.A. “baby band,” Illuminati Hotties, is telling. The veteran studio engineer’s inherent cheekiness invades her work, beginning with May’s debut long-player Kiss Yr Frenemies. Tracks includes “For Cheez (My Friend, Not the Food)” and “Pressed 2 Death,” which opens with a fart noise.
“Ideally, the humor presents itself naturally in my art,” offers the twentysomething bandleader. “KYF is fairly conversational. There’s nothing I’m singing on there I would be uncomfortable saying to a friend.”
To Tudzin, humor is a vehicle into intimacy with the listener. “Pressed 2 Death” features the lyric, “What’s all the hype with cold brew coffee and kissin’ in public?” but also includes lines like, “You held the fabric of my heart and ripped it” and “You only like me when I’m sad” over an uptempo, surf punk melody.
“Getting folks dancing to devastation is the goal,” reveals the singer. “A friend called it ‘sneaking in the veggies with dessert.’”
Hiding tragedy under funny track names and delivering heartbreak with a cheery voice are part of what Tudzin has dubbed “tenderpunk,” an appeal to her audience’s rowdiness and, well, tenderness.
“[It’s] an ethos, a way of life that’s equal parts rebellion and sensitivity,” she says. “We can be sentimental and considerate, while simultaneously shouting the battle cries of revolution from atop our shred-sheds.”
Illuminati Hotties, currently configured as a fourpiece, is spreading their word across the continent, including a local stopover with fellow garage outfits Vundabar and Blushing. Tudzin admits a tour date in the Texas state capital always proves a morale booster.
“Undoubtedly, I am the most excited about being able to get delicious tacos in basically every single food or drink establishment in [Austin],” she chuckles. “Y’all do it right.”– Hannah Wisterman