Band of the Week: Speedy Ortiz

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Band of the Week: Speedy Ortiz
Photo by Shervin Lainez

MEET THE BAND: Sadie Dupuis (vocals, guitar), Mike Falcone (drums), Darl Ferm (bass), Andy Molholt (guitar)

IT STARTED AS A SOLO PROJECT: Singer-guitarist Sadie Dupuis formed the band in Northampton, MA, back in 2001 when she was in grad school working on her MFA. The solo project became a full band in 2011and has steadily recorded and toured ever since. The band is using its current tour to highlight restaurants that are vegan or vegan friendly and special funds from special collaborative dishes go to charity.

ON THE SCRAP HEAP: The album that the band originally intended to release was entirely different than the album it released last month. After the 2016 presidential election, the group decided to scrap those efforts and write songs that spoke to the election results. "By the time the album was done, it was fall of 2016," says Dupuis. "I didn't connect to the material anymore. It had nothing to do with what our country was going through. After the election, I had feelings of horror but also hopefulness that there is some solution. Local activists and people are participating now, so that's encouraging."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: The first song Dupuis wrote for what would become Twerp Verse was "Lucky 88." "It's about the disbelief that the Democrats had shot down the chances of putting forth a progressive ticket with Bernie [Sanders] and Hillary. We botched things. We hadn't taken bigotry seriously, which is the privilege of the white person to not be aware of that. I'm thankful we are now [aware of that]. It's about feeling disgusted with status quo Democrats and hopeful that new progressive groups can make a difference." While the herky-jerky approach on songs such as "Buck Me Off" and "Lean In While I Suffer" might recall indie rock acts such as Helium and Pavement, Dupuis says she drew inspiration from pop acts such as Squeeze. "The songs started from actual demos," she says. "All the tempos were played to a click track, but I built in changes. There's lots of me goofing off on synths. [Singer-songwriter] Emmitt Rhodes was another influence. I was thinking of his arrangements as I put the songs together."


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Speedy Ortiz performs at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29, at Mahall's in Lakewood.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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