Sad13 "Haunted Painting" CS (2021)
Sad13 "Haunted Painting" CS (2021)
Wax Nine Records

Sad13 "Haunted Painting" CS (2021)

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Details: Speedy Ortiz' Sadie Dupuis sophomore solo album, Haunted Painting, released on her independent label, Wax Nine in 2021. Red/fuschia cassette shell, white pad printing. Sealed, new stock. "Haunted Painting honors that eternal, and complex, impulse. That’s a gift of Sad13’s work: You can’t look away from what’s around you, even—especially—when it’s haunting."

Description: "Haunted Painting, Sad13’s second album and first for Dupuis’ label Wax Nine (Melkbelly, Johanna Warren), marks her return to artmaking. “Some of these songs feel like emotions that came from a cloud, and I was trying to translate them,” she says. But the scope of a Sad13 song is rarely only personal. As ever, Sad13 weaves timely societal critiques into rushing hooks and whip-smart wordplay that’s all still a blast: riffer “WTD” is about climate gentrification and billionaires’ consequent desire to colonize the ocean and space. Album opener “Into the Catacombs,” which melds orchestral strings with glitched-out horror sounds, came after a 2016 trip to Buenos Aires’ human rights memorial ESMA with her mother, Diane Dupuis—who also painted the Stuck-inspired cover image of her child as a ghost. Haunted Painting braids the political and the poetic, interests that extend to Dupuis’ recent work with No Music for ICE, the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, and as editor of the newly-established Wax Nine poetry journal.

It all finds Dupuis, already one of the sharpest lyricists of her generation, leveling up as an arranger and producer. Drawing inspiration from 1980s British pop-rock à la Tracy Ullman and Joan Armatrading, as well as the contemporary digital gloss of post-PC Music electronica, she calls Haunted Painting “decidedly non-minimal,” mixing technicolor synth-pop and math-rock dynamism. Accompanied throughout by drummer Zoë Brecher—and, on two songs, by an eight-piece orchestra—Dupuis handles all other instrumentation herself, expanding her palette of guitar, bass, and synth to include organ, lap steel, marimba, glockenspiel, sitar, autoharp, theremin, “toys, trash, and ephemera.” Dupuis tailored her arrangements to the gear lists of six different U.S. studios, scheduling time in between Speedy Ortiz’s festival dates and touring her book Mouthguard. She worked exclusively with women engineers; among those credited are mixer Sarah Tudzin (Weyes Blood, Illuminati Hotties), tracking engineers Erin Tonkon (David Bowie, Esperanza Spalding) and Maryam Qudus (Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, mxmtoon), and Dupuis’ long term collaborator, mastering legend Emily Lazar (Beck, Dolly Parton). The process allowed for a diversity of timbres, as well as guest vocal contributions from Helado Negro’s Roberto Lange, Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, and Pile’s Rick Maguire."

Grade: M (new stock, sealed)


A1. Into the Catacombs
A2. WTD?
A3. Hysterical
A4. Ghost (of a Good Time)
A5. Oops...!
A6. Good Grief


B1. Ruby Wand
B2. With Baby
B3. The Crow
B4. Take Care
B5. Market Hotel