Speedy Ortiz, The Good Life
613 S 17th St
McAllen, TX, 78503
Doors 8:00 PM
After too much time freelance writing and watching re-runs in a windowless Brooklyn basement, guitarist and songwriter Sadie Dupuis left New York City for the wilds of Northampton, MA in order to pursue a master's degree in poetry. In doing so, she began Speedy Ortiz, a self-recorded lo-fi project named after a minor character from the Love and Rockets comic series. Speedy Ortiz soon became something else entirely as bassist Darl Ferm, guitarist Matt Robidoux, and drummer Mike Falcone teamed up to form a full band, balancing abrasive noise with infectious earworms. The newly minted Speedy Ortiz quickly found an audience in the Boston DIY scene, playing frequently with their friends Pile, Grass is Green, Fat History Month, Sneeze, Krill, and Arvid Noe.
Almost immediately, the band recorded a two-song single, "Taylor Swift" and "Swim Fan," with Paul Q. Kolderie (Pixies, Hole) and Justin Pizzoferrato (Chelsea Light Moving, Dinosaur Jr.), and self-released it in March of 2012. Shortly thereafter they spent a few weekends at the dingy yet atmospheric Sex Dungeon Studios in Philadelphia recording the Sports EP, a five-track, loosely conceptual 10" released that June on Exploding in Sound Records.
The creation of Major Arcana, their full-length debut, marks the evolution of Speedy Ortiz into a wholly collaborative effort. Darl leans toward basic, chunky parts, while Mike, a talented songwriter in his own right, helped arrange while also providing aggressive, boisterous drums. And Matt is a classically trained guitarist, but his experience in noise and experimental music comes through in his anti-melodic guitar solos, which counterbalance Sadie's angular, scalar guitar riffs and poppy vocals.
The end result is a band able to distill their influences and creative impulses into something at once dissonant and melodic, noisy yet undeniably pop.
The Good Life
Omaha, NE's The Good Life returns this summer with their first album in eight years, Everybody's Coming Down. Call it a soundtrack to Man's 21st century existential angst, the album poses cosmic queries, contemplates regrets, questions self-worth, and examines the possibility of living in the moment, when memories are all that we truly take with us. And in some ways, that's the sweet spot front man and lyricist Tim Kasher inhabits: trying to make sense of this world of ours, and how and why we navigate it the way we do.
Everybody's Coming Down moves in a new direction musically and, in contrast to The Good Life's earlier releases, is very much a rock record. It is also the first that truly embodies the band as a whole, more so than any previous album. In blending elements of drummer Roger L. Lewis's love of classic rock, multi-instrumentalist Ryan Fox's chaotic approach to melody, Stefanie Drootin-Senseney's propulsive yet tuneful bass parts, and Kasher's deft, complementary song writing, the band sparked a vibrant evolution in sound. The gentler, folk-driven pop/rock for which the band is beloved remains (sonic sister album bookends "7 In The Morning" and "Midnight Is Upon Us;" "The Troubadour's Green Room"), but it is now mixed amongst guitars lines that unspool in a blaze across songs that hit harder and more viscerally ("Everybody," "Holy Shit"), as well as moments of distorted psychedelia and moody ambience ("Flotsam Locked Into A Groove," "Diving Bell," "How Small We Are").