Today Sadie Dupuis, frontdemon of grunge-pop band Speedy Ortiz, announces her kick-ass, empowering and insanely fun debut solo album as Sad13. Slugger – an album which prioritizes self-possession in every sense – was self-produced, recorded and written by Dupuis and will be released on November 11th via Carpark Records. Stream the first single “Get A Yes” HERE via NPR Music, and see below for album art and tracklisting.
After Sadie Dupuis moved to Philadelphia in early 2016, Slugger quickly began to take shape: “I wrote and played and recorded almost all of it in the two weeks I was subletting a friend’s tiny bedroom,” she says. Fittingly, directness, self-determinism, and intimacy are the bedrocks of Slugger’soverall tone. Sad13 maintains her dignified wit even in less-than-ideal entanglements, as on the album’s opening track, “<2,” styled to resemble the level of affection of which a heart is capable when it’s been twisted out of shape. “I’m in less than two with you,” sings Sad13, her crystalline voice steadfastly delicate and assured, recalling self-proprietary forebears like Liz Phair and Fiona Apple.
Imitating the reflexive wordplay of Slugger‘s lyrics, Sad13‘s bedroom recordings are largely about bedroom-based themes. She chews on what it means to give and receive consent, sexual and romantic autonomy, finding new modes of enjoying love and boning after destructive partnerships, shredding joyously past misogyny and other exclusionary gender politics, and so many more exploratory, non-exploitative areas of love. Throughout Slugger, Sad13 makes her motives and desires invitingly clear. As she sings on the song “The Sting” “You don’t know how I’d like to say yes”—but she intends to tell you, and to be heard in kind.
Slugger– produced by Sad13, mixed by Gabe Wax (Beirut, Wye Oak, Boots) and mastered by Emily Lazar (Sia, HAIM, Sky Ferreira) – is less rock-principled than Sadie‘s other projects, but the talented guitarist makes intelligent work of her instrument throughout the record. The guitar lines are layered with synth melodies written on her laptop and are, occasionally, joined by live drums from Julian Fader (currently of Ava Luna; formerly bandmates with Sadie in Quilty). This matches Sadie’s penchant for bright, tricky assonance and Wilde-style wit, her verses like sailors’ knots tying her instrumentation carefully in place. Her MFA in poetry from—and stint teaching writing at—UMass Amherst are apparent. This is also true of the rapper, producer, and PhD student Sammus‘s guest appearance on the album’s final track, “Coming Into Powers,” where she raps, “I’m a star/ I’m a pulsar.” The song closes the loop on a thought ribboning aroundSlugger on the whole: As Dupuis sings, “I want a life where I can be who I like / Look at me, looking back at me, recognizing who I see.” Slugger identifies an artist and person who, throughout this record, is her own best company.
– Amy Rose Spiegel
“I wanted to make songs that were the opposite of ‘Genie in A Bottle’ or ‘The Boy Is Mine,'” Sadie Dupuis says of Slugger, her new solo album under the name Sad13. “Songs that put affirmative consent at the heart of the subject matter and emphasize friendship among women and try to deescalate the toxic jealousy and ownership that are often centered in romantic pop songs.” What!? Songs for women that actually champion women’s autonomy, reflect women’s desires, listen to women when they talk, and let women be funny and normal and cool, like women actually are?
Slugger‘s musical touchstones are vast and varied: contemporary pop à la Charli XCX, Santigold, Kelela, Grimes; folk songwriters Karen Dalton and Connie Converse; ’90s trip-hop; riot grrrl (duh); plusSad13‘s feminist indie and punk contemporaries like Tacocat, Waxahatchee, Mitski, and Bully. Slugger shouldn’t feel like a revolution, but it does – in both content and execution. This is fun music about real shit.