Published on March 1st, 2019

Speedy Ortiz by Shervin Lainez

Taken from the “Love & Rockets” comic universe by his own hand, Eulalio “Speedy” Ortiz was the doomed character and deus ex machina of the iconic imprint’s “LOCAS” storyline. The series’ authors, Los Bros Hernandez, placed Speedy in an L.A. milieu of tribal families, romantic entanglements and strong women, with his actions and calamitous death propelling the story arc in ways seldom seen in comics.

It makes sense, then, that musician and poet Sadie Dupuis would turn to the character as she was living through personal losses and working on a new musical project. A quartet with Dupuis in the lead, Speedy Ortiz was born of misfortune, and is rife with complexity and nuanced beauty.

Joined by Andy Molholt on guitar and Darl Ferm and Mike Falcone on bass and drums respectively, Speedy Ortiz are indie rock with touches of alternative and saccharine pop, blended as if for sound-tracking lucid dreams or animated features. Think of it as music created in the throes of a Michel Gondry mise en scène brainstorming session and supported by “Adult Swim” sheriffs and budgets.

The quasi-surrealist approach has paid off for Dupuis and Co., who are bridging eras, spanning classic alt-indie music and more modern takes. They’ve shared bills with the Breeders and Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus — the latter making for an interesting literary connection. Like Malkmus’ former band mate David Berman, Dupuis has an MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is a published poet.

The third studio LP from Speedy Ortiz, “Twerp Verse,” is a trove of discoveries commanding repeat listens. Hooks hide in walls while poignant wit propels narratives worthy of a Love & Rockets storyline. Synths and tonal applications provide depth, and the distilled influences yield complicated hummables that are also infinitely danceable. Her background as a writer and poet shows through in the compression of the musical structures.

The name suggests an endpoint that was imaginable even at the project’s beginning, or at the least it contains an acknowledgement that some things are finite. But whether or not Speedy Ortiz, the band, continue to live and thrive, Dupuis and her collaborators have already fashioned an enduring storyline.

Speedy Ortiz plays 8pm March 3 at Gramps in Miami with Ohmme, $12. speedyortiz.com ~ Abel Folgar


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