After a year and a half of relentless touring, the Massachusetts-based band Speedy Ortiz is quickly making its way to the top. The band’s hotly anticipated new LP, “Foil Deer,” is due later this month, and features a more mature, lyrically dense vibe. As the quartet prepares to headline at the Sinclair on April 22, we asked founder Sadie DuPuis to tell us five things we should know about the new album.
This is not about love. Most of our first album, “Major Arcana,” was written after I got out of a long-term relationship and moved to a city where I didn’t know anyone. I was listening to lots of classic breakup records (Blur’s “13” and Mary Timony’s “The Golden Dove”), so I kept writing these personal, relationship-driven songs that I didn’t expect anyone to hear — basically demos I wrote to cheer myself up, because I didn’t have anyone to hang out and eat ice cream and bitch with. This new record was written after almost a year of constant touring with Speedy. We would meet girls at our shows who would talk to us about being inspired to start bands because of our first record. . . . . I had this idea in my head that I had to write more meaningful songs for them, that I had to be a better role model (for myself, too). So instead of writing more about a tumultuous personal life, I turned my focus on bigger issues — ingrained sexism, harmful gender roles, marianismo, rape culture — and let my anger loose on those things. (Instead of being angry at my ex-boyfriend. Who is actually a nice person. Sorry I wrote a breakup album about you.)
They Gary Numaned things up. Speedy Ortiz has always been a “guitar” band, partially because that’s my primary composing instrument. But our demos have always been filled with keyboard and synth parts that we could never replicate live due to spatial constraints, nor really on recording due to time constraints. Since we had a little more time, Mike [Falcone] and I added more synths and keyboards. It’s probably the first time our Gary Numan influence has been apparent.
Darl shreds. Darl [Ferm] plays lots of instruments . . . but heretofore has only appeared on Speedy Ortiz records as our bass guitarist. While the rest of us went off to sow our wild oats laying down piano, organ, and cowbell tracks, Darl’s held it down consistent on that four-string. While I’ve always felt Darl’s bass parts have a guitarist’s flair to them — he plays a lot of rhythmic chords that might as well be played on a baritone guitar — this is the first time Darl’s contributed guitar to our recordings, and he does so on a number of tracks, adding crucial texture in all the right places.
It’s their first album with Devin. Devin McKnight’s guitar playing was one of the reasons I moved to Massachusetts in the first place. I’ve seen his other band Grass Is Green play shows more times than maybe any other group, and if they had a fan club, I’d be president (or at least treasurer). (Reminder to self: Start Grass Is Green fan club.) Devin joined Speedy Ortiz in May, and has toured with us throughout North America and Europe, but “Foil Deer” is the first recording of ours to feature his playing. What he brings to the table texturally and melodically is a huge step for us as a band. I can’t picture these songs without Devin. We’re all so psyched to get to play with him. Sorry for getting cheesy, Devin.
You’re gonna like the way it looks. For our second full-length, our label Carpark Records basically told us we’d earned our stripes and could do whatever we wanted with the packaging (thanks, Carpark!). For “Foil Deer,” I hand-made a sculpture inside of a fish tank, painting and gluing together tiny pieces until I thought my hands would fall off. It was photographed and laid out by Massachusetts artist Caitlin Bechtel. It’s gatefold packaged and features illustrations and additional mixed media sewn artwork. The deluxe edition comes on gold vinyl (because I wanted to rip off Perfume Genius — who doesn’t?). And all the records come with a little chapbook of illustrations and lyrics.
Speedy Ortiz performs with Mitski and Krill at the Sinclair
in Cambridge, April 22 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $13-$15.
52 Church St. 617-547-5200. www.sinclaircambridge.com