Speedy Ortiz Major Arcana on LP + Download
On their debut full-length, Northampton, MA’s Speedy Ortiz manages a bit of magic by conjuring the spirits of classic American indie rock, while twisting those ghosts into new shapes. It’s easy to hear the inﬂuences of Helium, Jawbox, and Chavez on this album, as well as nods to their contemporaries including Grass is Green, Pile, and Roomrunner. Sweet vocal harmonies run up against gnarly distortion, aided by basic, chunky bass parts and heavy, ﬁll-laden drums.
The album was recorded in a few days in November at Justin Pizzoferrato’s (Dinosaur Jr., Chelsea Light Moving) studio, Sonelab, a huge space in an old factory in Easthampton, MA. The sessions went from very early in the day until very late at night, with the band taking its time to experiment. Pizzoferrato’s collection of old distortion pedals were utilized on both the record’s guitars and vocals.
The theme of the occult and the supernatural runs deep through Major Arcana, inspired by singer-guitarist Sadie Dupuis’ reading on black magic. Dupuis’ sometimes knotty and abstract lyrics bring to mind fellow wordsmith Stephen Malkmus, while referencing horror ﬁlm tropes, chemistry, and neuroscience.
Major Arcana’s literal translation is “major mysteries,” a phrase from tarot cards. “I don’t write in a narrative way and am more concerned with use of language than meaning,” Dupuis says, “so I like the open-endedness of the title and the way it invites interpretation.”
“...like Mary Timony fronting Archers of Loaf in a studio whose walls were crumbling around them thanks to the earth-shattering guitar squall...caustic, clever and bitterly funny.” - Pitchfork
“...packs more vivid melody and glorious noise into 5 minutes than seems possible...” - Stereogum
Speedy Ortiz Major Arcana Track Listing:
1. Pioneer Spine
2. Tiger Tank
4. Casper (1995)
5. No Below
8. Cash Cab