"Necessary brattiness" is the motto for Speedy Ortiz’s dauntless new collection of songs, Twerp Verse. The follow-up to 2015's Foil Deer, the band's latest indie rock missive is prompted by a tidal wave of voices, no longer silent on the hurt they’ve endured from society's margins. But like many of these truth-tellers, songwriter, guitarist and singer Sadie Dupuis scales the careful line between what she calls being "outrageous and practical" in order to be heard at all.
"You need to employ a self-preservational sense of humor to speak truth in an increasingly baffling world," says Dupuis. "I call it a ‘twerp verse' when a musician guests on a track and says something totally outlandish – like a Lil Wayne verse – but it becomes the most crucial part. This record is our own twerp verse, for those instances when you desperately need to stand up and show your teeth.”
Twerp Verse was tracked in Brooklyn DIY space Silent Barn, mixed by Omaha legend Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley) and mastered by Grammy-nominated engineer Emily Lazar (Sia, Haim, Beck). The record pulls from the most elastic pop moments in Squeeze's Argybargy and the seesawing synth-rock of Deerhoof and the Rentals. With Dupuis on guitars, vocals, and synths, supporting guitarist Andy Molholt (of psych pop outfit Laser Background) now joins Speedy veterans Darl Ferm on bass and Mike Falcone on drums – and together they accelerate the band's idiosyncrasy through the wilderness of Dupuis' heady reflections on sex, lies and audiotape.
Dupuis, who both earned an MFA in poetry and taught at UMass Amherst, propels the band's brain-teasing melodies with her serpentine wit. Inspired by the cutting observations of Eve Babitz, Aline Crumb's biting memoirs, and the acute humor of AstroPoet Dorothea Lasky, Dupuis craftily navigates the danger zone that is building intimacy and political allyship in 2018. Now as public pushback against the old guards reaches a fever pitch – in the White House, Hollywood and beyond – the band fires shots in disillusioned Gen Y theme "Lucky 88," and casts a side-eye towards suitors-turned-monsters in the cold-blooded single "Villain." Closing track "You Hate The Title" is a slinky traipse through the banality of this current moment in patriarchy – in which survivors are given the mic, but nitpicked over the timbre of their testimonies. "You hate the title, but you’re digging the song," Dupuis sings wryly, "You like it in theory, but it’s rubbing you wrong." Tuned smartly to the political opacity of the present, Twerp Verse rings clear as a bell.
Since forming in early 2013 Doe have built a UK following with their unique brand of 'wonky alt-pop' (Clash Magazine). The band's influences are rooted in 90s indie-rock, but their songwriting style and lyrical content place them very much in the present. Off-kilter time signatures, intertwining guitars and the vocal-interplay between guitarist Nicola Leel and drummer Jake Popyura stand as clear markers of a band completely at ease with themselves. Their songs pack power but are also loaded with a wry sense of humour.
In September 2016 Doe released their debut full length 'Some Things Last Longer than You', produced by Matthew Johnson (Hookworms / Suburban Home Studio). The album impressed critics and made it on to several end of year lists, most notably landing at 6th place on ABC News' Best Albums of the Year. The Quietus branded STLLTY 'the kind of record that will stir and inspire you during moments of existential crisis'
Live, Doe are a formidable presence and bring a frantic energy to every performance. The trio's ambitions are only getting bigger and they have now been granted the PRS for Music Foundation‘s Momentum Fund to work on their second album, due for release in 2018. As noted by ABC News, 'Doe might just become one of your new favourite bands.'
Ex-Vöid is a new musical group featuring former Joanna Gruesome members Owen Williams & Alanna McArdle.
After having written two short albums of 'critically acclaimed' hyper-aggressive pop music, touring the capitalist west, and winning a kind of 'National Music Prize' with Joanna Gruesome, McArdle & Williams went their separate ways.
Following the split, McArdle (a Gemini) began a lucrative career selling occult & astrological speculations to various lifestyle magazines, while Williams (an Aquarius) earned a small monthly allowance playing electric guitar in the notoriously pathetic, prostration-centered Punk-Rock group The Snivellers.
After a chance meeting at a contemporary dance class, McArdle and Williams began to discuss working together again. Ideas were formed during breaks in their weekly sessions and, eventually, Laurie Foster (a Cancer) and Kester Davies (a Pisces) -- also students from the class -- were recruited as a 'rhythm section'. Jonny Coddington (a Leo) later joined on guitar.
Taking influence equally from Black Sabbath's “Into The Void”, D.C.-area hardcore legends “VOID,” and Raincoats number “The Void”, the group 'Ex-Vöid' was formed and began to compose short power-pop songs with titles like "Boyfriend," "Angry (At You Baby)," "Lying (To You Baby)," and "My Baby Is a Communist."