Speedy Ortiz Sports a New Release

Fronted by Brooklyn transplant Sadie Dupuis, Northampton’s Speedy Ortiz hits the road with a new EP after wowing the critics in Boston

NORTHAMPTON — They just released a five track EP entitled “Sports” with songs called “Basketball,” “Indoor Soccer” and “Curling.” Their band name conjures up images of Big Papi lumbering around the diamond at Fenway. The foursome even played Shea Stadium.

But all is not as it seems when it comes to Northampton’s Speedy Ortiz. The group, fronted by 23-year-old Sadie Dupuis, is actually named after an obscure comic book character, not a famous Red Sox designated hitter. And the Shea Stadium they graced was a small club in Brooklyn, while the “Sports” release is hardly about athletics.

Sadie Dupuis fronts Speedy Ortiz. (Dave Madeloni photo)

Dupuis, an MIT dropout now studying poetry at UMass, admits only a peripheral attachment to sports. “My only real relationship to sports is that I grew up a big Knicks fan and occasionally follow basketball. We happened to have two songs that included sports metaphors and wound up giving “Curling” its title because, in my bandmates’ opinion, it’s the saddest sport.”

Those bandmates include guitar-shredder Matt Robidoux, drummer Mike Falcone  and Darl Ferm on bass. In less than a year, they have generated a lot of buzz (Check out their press at http://speedyortiz.livejournal.com ) and are embarking on an ambitious cross-country tour.

Speedy’s female-fronted grungy approach and bewildering, stream-of-consciousness lyrics might conjure up memories of late Breeders and early PJ Harvey for some. But Dupuis is more inclined to emulate Pavement, which she did more directly in the all-female tribute band, Babement.

“Some of my musical influences are sort of obvious guitar rock stuff: Stephen Malkmus, Sebadoh, Unwound, Guided by Voices, Polvo, Chavez. I also take a lot of cues from some more “folk” songwriters like Elliott Smith or Sibylle Baier, although the application is ultimately dissimilar.”  What moves Dupuis the most these days are her friend’s bands: Chandeliers, Ovlov, Two Inch Astronaut, Grass is Green, Pile, Roomrunner, Red Dwarf and Fat History Month.

The former frontwoman of Quilty relocated from The Big Apple to Northampton last year and eventually built the current configuration of Speedy Ortiz.

“Quilty was becoming increasingly inactive since the other members still lived in Brooklyn. I was frustrated because I wanted to work on new material so I put out an EP and album as Speedy Ortiz, on which I played all the instruments. Matt played in Graph and Mike played in Ovlov and Darl played in Day Sleeper. All our bands were winding down around the same time so we started playing shows together.”

After a few terse and tumultuous gigs near Boston the buzz began. The Allston Pudding’s Jon Hillman gushed “It is difficult to witness a Speedy Ortiz show and not see greatness on the horizon. Hell, the greatness has already arrived.” The Boston Phoenix noted that “Speedy Ortiz are rendering an indelible impression regionally.” And two weeks ago, the music blog Boston Hassle promised that “Tonight at Great Scott, Speedy Ortiz will destroy your head.”

As Dupuis and her team zig-zags the U.S. this summer poised to make the leap from A-ball to the majors, the opening line of “Curling” seems prophetic: “If it hasn’t already, my time’s gonna come.”

— Dave Madeloni

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