Speedy Ortiz | Plough
Northampton Mass.’s Speedy Ortiz posted a new song, “Plough”, the third single off the band’s debut album “Major Arcana”, out via Carpark Records on July 9th. They posted “No Below” and “Tiger Tank” earlier this month, but adding the stellar “Plough” to these already impressive two tracks, will surely put a high expectation on this new record. Frontwoman Sadie Dupuis sounds like a cross between Liz Phair’s out-of-tune croon on “Exile In Guyville” (1993) and Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield’s low, breathy, honest voice on 2013’s “Cerulean Salt”. “No Below” is the most subdued of the three Speedy Ortiz tracks, feeling like a sort of ode to being alone, depressed and nearly friendless at school: “You didn’t know me when you were a kid / And trouble at school / Alone at lunch again / I didn’t know you / When I broke my knee / Spent the summer on crutches / And everybody teased / Except for this one friend, I almost forgot / You didn’t know me / But he knew me best / The weight of my pain / And the fear of my cold head.” The elongated, bluesy, searing guitar moans are dynamic, especially when they mimic and shadow the vocal melody on the crashing choral verse, “I always say, I was better off just being dead.” It’s a stunner. “Plough” is nearly as good though, a tornado force of odd, jarring rhythms, and jagged musical transitions that grow more chaotic as lyrics about a disturbing ex, sexuality and ownership get more intense: “I slid towards the door / But you started freakin’ the fuck out / Stop shakin’ while you’re freakin’ the fuck out / You better stop because it’s freakin’ me out / He wants to burn all my candles, but it isn’t for love / He wants burn all his fingers, but I’m not the one to give it / He wants sulfur and salt and my name on his arm / He wants to burn, he wants to burn …” These are fantastic singles. Note: Lyrics are unofficial. — David D. Robbins Jr.