New Stuff: No Below

Sadie Dupuis, lead singer of Speedy Ortiz, sings like Liz Phair, which is good because Phair was one of the few women who could get away with singing about being “your blowjob queen” without pigeonholing herself into a few frames of an early-aughts rap video. DGAF writers, especially female ones, don’t usually make it big, unless they are truly transcendent talents like PJ Harvey or Fiona Apple, and Speedy Ortiz, though talented, probably won’t ever approach Pixies or Pavement levels of transcendence.

“No Below” stands out because it sounds like every sheltered child’s emotional breakdown. “You didn’t know me/when you were a kid/in trouble at school/alone at lunch again,” Dupuis sings, sounding like she’s eating tamales from a girls bathroom stall. Who doesn’t have repressed lunchroom memories? The opening of “No Below” firmly grasps with its intimacy, and after the patient drums roll in, it’s hard for anyone who went through middle school to turn away from the band’s effective melodies. Dupuis sings and strums with a a near-universal honesty, and from any other lips, the line “I was better off just being dead” sounds tacky. From hers, though, it sounds like a tortured child of indie rock sharing her gift. Indie rock may sound best when few are listening, but if Bethany Costantino can make it big strumming two chords and singing about marijuana and her cats, then Speedy Ortiz should definitely lubricate college radio.

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