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Speedy Ortiz

Twerp Verse

    "Necessary brattiness" is the motto for Speedy Ortiz’s dauntless new collection of songs, Twerp Verse, out on April 27th via Carpark Records. The follow-up to 2015's acclaimed Foil Deer, the band's latest indie rock missive is prompted by a tidal wave of voices, no longer silent on the hurt they’ve endured from society's margins. But like many of these truth-tellers, songwriter, guitarist and singer Sadie Dupuis scales the careful line between what she calls being "outrageous and practical" in order to be heard at all. "You need to employ a self-preservational sense of humor to speak truth in an increasingly baffling world," says Dupuis. "I call it a ‘twerp verse' when a musician guests on a track and says something totally outlandish – like a Lil Wayne verse – but it becomes the most crucial part. This record is our own twerp verse, for those instances when you desperately need to stand up and show your teeth.”

    Speedy Ortiz has established itself as one of this decade's most vibrant bands since their 2012 debut EP Sports. That EP introduced listeners to the band's constant study of contrasts, with Sadie Dupuis' gnarled riffs acting as both counterpoint to and bolsterer of her acerbic, conversational poetry. 2013's Major Arcana went further, the members' reflexive chemistry inspiring them to push the limits of their sound, while 2015’s Foil Deer added headphone-ready detailing to the already clamorous mix. Their no-nonsense approach to progress, as evidenced by initiatives like their first of its kind in-concert "help hotline," and Dupuis' tackling of issues like bystander intervention and inclusivity in the music industry—in her lyrics, and as a frequent panelist and speaker—makes the band poised to surge into the future.

    Twerp Verse, Speedy's third album and first with Philadelphian Andy Molholt (Laser Background) on second guitar, is urgent and taut, adding surprising textures like Linn drums and whirled guitar processing to their off-kilter hooks. Dupuis, whose electropop solo project Sad13 debuted in 2016 shortly after her own move to Philadelphia, has become more instinctive in her songwriting—her home-recorded demos mirror Twerp Verse's songs in a closer way than any other Speedy record—while her lyrics have become more pointedly witty. The band's camaraderie and crate-digging is evident, with diffuse reference points like Squeeze, Hop Along, Prince, Paramore, and Brenda Lee being sucked into the band's chaos. Even when Dupuis sings of alienation and political weariness, the pop maelstrom swirling around her provides a defiantly charged, mussed-but-hooky optimism.

    Now as public pushback against the old guards reaches a fever pitch – in the White House, Hollywood and beyond – the band fires shots in disillusioned Gen Y theme "Lucky 88," and casts a side-eye towards suitors-turned-monsters in the cold-blooded single "Villain." Closing track "You Hate The Title" is a slinky traipse through the banality of this current moment in patriarchy – in which survivors are given the mic, but nitpicked over the timbre of their testimonies. "You hate the title, but you’re digging the song," Dupuis sings wryly, "You like it in theory, but it’s rubbing you wrong." Tuned smartly to the political opacity of the present, Twerp Verse rings clear as a bell.


    Coloured LP Info: Deluxe pink coloured vinyl with rainbow splatter in gatefold jacket.
    Includes Bonus 7” (A Side: Le Mans B Side: Saint Fret) Includes Lyric Sheet Insert.

    CD Info: CD is 6-panel digipak with clear plastic tray with artwork by Sadie Dupuis. Includes lyric sheet insert.

    Ed Schrader's Music Beat


      Ed Schrader's Music Beat needed to make this record. 19 tours in the U.S. since the Baltimore-based duo’s formation in 2010, from headlining underground spaces to opening massive venues for Future Islands, had left vocalist Ed and bassist Devlin Rice exhausted—and hungry to take their music to the next level. Ed and Devlin dreamed of a fuller sound—layered, breathing arrangements their early rapid-fire compositions always seemed to imply, without yet having the tools to realize.

      On Riddles, their first release for Carpark, the Music Beat begins their new life. In search of a fresh direction, Ed and Devlin invited their close friend, electronic-pop maestro Dan Deacon, to expand their sound and experiment with them as the album’s producer, arranger, and co-writer. Working steadily in Dan’s studio for two years in total collaboration, three evolving musicians pushed through an intense period of personal tumult and found purpose in the sounds they were committing to record. The result: a polished and passionate masterpiece of nuanced alt-rock. From driving opening track “Dunce” and the soaring single “Riddles” to the disarmingly gorgeous closer “Culebra,” Ed and Devlin unapologetically channel a personal pantheon of pop and rock gods while growing into the band—and people—they’d previously kept caged inside.

      Dan, Ed, and Devlin all poured emotions produced by major life changes into these sessions. While in Puerto Rico on a rare vacation, Ed learned of the death of his stepfather, a charismatic but abusive figure who’d cast a dominant shadow on his formative years (feelings explored on the elegant “Tom,” and crucial to the flow of the album). Devlin sat at the bedside of his brother, who’d long lived with a terminal illness, as he saw through his choice to die with dignity. And Dan’s longest relationship, which had stretched across his entire career as a musician thus far, came to an end. “I looked forward to these sessions when everything else in life was a shit-show,” recalls Devlin, who began the record commuting from Providence to Baltimore, but moved into Dan’s studio as it neared completion.


      Coloured LP Info: Red and gold starburst vinyl.

      CD Info: CD in 4-panel digipak.


      Rock Island

        “The brash clangor of pre-SST Sonic Youth, the tricky time signatures of math rock demigods Battles and the wonky iridescence of Deerhoof and tUnE-yArDs (the latter two have shared producer Eli Crews with Palm). - Pitchfork 'Shadow Expert EP' review.

        “Palm’s unpredictable songs prove there’s still room for boundary-pushing in rock” FADER.

        On Rock Island, their second LP, Palm produces evidence of a distinct musical language, developed over time, in isolation, and out of necessity. On the island, melodies are struck on what might be shells or spines. Rhythms are scratched out, swept over, scratched again. Individual instruments, and sometimes entire sections, skip and stutter. There is the sense of a music box with wonky tension or a warped transmission in which all the noise is taken for signal.

        Like other groups so acclaimed for their compulsive live show, Palm has been burdened by the constant comparison between their recorded material and their touring set. On Rock Island, they render this tired discussion moot, using the album form to present that which could never be completely live, reserving for performance that which could never be completely reproduced.

        Despite appearing behind the instruments typical of rock music, Palm trades in sounds of their own making. On these songs, one of the guitars and the drum kit are used as MIDI triggers, producing an index that can be combed through later and replaced with new information. The percussion is sometimes augmented so as to suggest a multiplication of limbs. The strings are manipulated to choke, crack, and hum like other instruments, or other bodies, might.

        Working again with engineer Matt Labozza, the band spent the better part of a month in a rented farmhouse in Upstate New York. With the benefits of time and space, Palm recorded the various elements piecemeal, only rarely playing together in groups larger than two or three. While some members tracked, others holed up in the next room, experimenting with quantization, beat replacement, and other methods borrowed from electronic music. Even accounting for the many labors that brought them to be, these materials seem produced by an organic logic. Their complex friction forms a habit of thought, scores a network of grooves on the floor of the mind.

        This is music with dimensionality. Sonic objects are deployed, developed, and dissected in various states of mutation. The listener flits about between the field and the lab. The tone is warm in a way only the sun could make, the pace as forceful and as variable as a gale. Whether one locates Rock Island in a sea or in a refinished attic (as in Greg Burak’s album cover), whether one escapes to there or is banished, its psychic environs are charted clearly enough. Only at this remove from the mainland can we sense the conditions necessary for such a strange species of sound.


        Coloured LP Info: Limited light blue coloured vinyl.

        Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        Various Artists

        Carpark Sweet 16 Basketball Picture Disc

          Carpark Records is 16 years old in 2015! To celebrate the label's sixteenth anniversary we're throwing a party via this far out basketball-themed picture disc 12" featuring nine exclusive, full-length songs and 19 locked grooves by artists from all across the Carpark catalogue. The line-up on this team is stacked. We're putting everyone on the court for this game. All offense, all defense, and while we're here we'll pick up some nachos at the snack bar. 

          The full-song team picture sounds like this: We've got party-starting, confetti-blasting jams from Young Magic and Skylar Spence. There are the groovy three-pointers from Montag, Ear Pwr, Memory Tapes, and Dog Bite. An intimate demo of an older classic from Speedy Ortiz ("Basketball," naturally). A brand new tale about an epic game from TEEN. GRMLN goes in for the slam dunk with "Buzzer Beat." We are ridiculously fortunate to be working with these talented players.

          Looping for hours on end (or seconds depending on your taste) in the locked groove department, there's a crunchy blast from new signee Chandos and the delightful drone of Carpark veteran So Takahashi. Light Pollution frontman Jimmy Whispers swoops in on feather-light feet to pay tribute to Tyrone Curtis "Muggsy" Bogues. Safety Scissors throws us "Orange Roughy" before Cloud Nothings members Jayson Gerycz and Thomas J Duke run down the court. Jason Urick of Wzt Hearts tests the ref's patience with "Double Dribble," but we think it's fair and proper. Dan Deacon and Greg Davis skitter about the floor as Adventure claims to say "Ewww," but it seems like an exclamation of awe. If you wanna slam, turn to the somewhat solemn "Space Jam" by Toro Y Moi. Also offering a loop with a filmic theme is Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz on "Theme from Babadook." This all-star team sees crucial assists from number "1" Jake Mandell and foundation player Signer. Lowt Ide (featuring Mike Falcone of Speedy Ortiz) knows the value of sharing. Tying everything together with a right-on time score is graphic designer Rob Carmichael of SEEN, sending us home with some psychedelic picture disc imagery. All proceeds go to the Little Kids Rock non-profit, which is "dedicated to ensuring that all public school children have the opportunity to unlock their inner music makers" by investing in schools, teachers, instruments, and children around the U.S.

          Although now firmly settled in New York City, Young Magic’s three members came together through equal helpings of openness and fortuity. In 2010, singer and producer Isaac Emmanuel had left his home continent of Australia to travel across Europe, over to New York, and down through Mexico, all the while creating and recording music with whatever instruments he found along the way. While in Mexico, Emmanuel kept a tight correspondence with fellow Australian expat Michael Italia, who for months had been similarly traveling across Europe and South America with portable recording gear in tow. They decided to meet up in New York, where their good friend from a few years prior, Indonesian-born vocalist Melati Malay, had been living and making her own recordings. In early 2011 the three friends, who had initially bonded over their broad musical palettes, began recording together and contributing songs to the record, culling influences and finding their own footing among them.

          The immediately fruitful collaboration brought forth singles “Sparkly”, “You With Air” and “Night In The Ocean”, all of which were fitting indicators of the band’s chameleonic sound, heavily informed by West African rhythms, Brainfeeder hip-hop, UK bass, and 60s psychedelic soul. Young Magic’s full-length debut, "Melt", comprises both of these tracks - as well as their B-sides - and expands on their varied aesthetic, at once electronically sequenced and completely organic. Containing recordings from 10 different countries, the album flaunts new facets at each turn, letting - as on “Watch For Our Lights” - rough samples from distant lands coalesce with drum machines and distorted synths. “Night In The Ocean” and “Jam Karet” put soaring synth pads around the higher frequencies while deep kicks keep the songs grounded, allowing Isaac and Melati’s vocals to float in synchronicity between. And with its shifting rhythm, open structure, and layers of echoed vocals, closer and highlight, “Drawing Down The Moon”, hints at crystalline take on UK garage: a last dance from a collection of short stories from around the world.

          With a sonic mélange of vibes on a debut that remains cohesive and distinctly their own, it will be exciting to see where the trio’s tastes will guide them next.

          "Apparitions", the first full length album by Chicago's Light Pollution, has blown the roof off the building. This moody masterpiece of a record combines catchy melodic flights with an edgy sensibility that manifests itself in the subtle flourishes of pop-psychedelia, sophisticated harmonies and the evocative lyrics of front man Jim Cicero.

          The band's dazzlingly inventive soundscapes and choral arrangements push the current boundaries of pop music far beyond the breaking point to create a perfect hybrid of moody indie pop and psychedelia. In Light Pollution, one can hear hints of current indie faves such as Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, and Deerhunter, but we think they've found a sound all their own. "Apparitions" is incredibly formed and informed for a debut full length.

          23-year-old songwriter James Michael Cicero grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, the son of Italian and Spanish Catholics. His grandfather was a first-generation Spanish immigrant trumpet player who moved to Chicago to lead a Big Band; aspirations that did not ensure financial stability. As a result, when Cicero bought his first guitar at the age of seventeen, his father took to locking it in the attic.

          Cicero left for college in Dekalb, IL, met drummer Matt Evert, obsessively wrote songs in class, and soon dropped out. Over the following years, the two honed their skills and sensibilities, eventually acquiring Nick Sherman and Jed Robertson; evolving into what is now Light Pollution.

          Swirling analog synths, shimmering arpeggios, and washed out tape noise are embedded into combinations of 90's shoegaze, chillwave, and vocal psych-pop. Thanks to a unique blend of hi-fi and lo-fi tracking and their Midwestern demeanor, they are able to create hazy, psychedelic, layered sounds that seem to set them apart from recent waves of lo-fi pop bands.


          Darryl says: Expansive indie-psyche that combines euphorically melodic highs and ethereal vocals, immediately bringing to mind the likes of Animal Collective, Panda Bear and the Beach Boys. Highly recommended!!

          Toro Y Moi (AKA Columbia, South Carolina’s Chaz Bundick) is the sound the world has been waiting for. This multi-cultural juggernaut gathers up the best musical elements from around the globe - R&B, indie rock, electronic dance and psychedelica - and creates something-freakingeeels. It's perfect post-club music, blissed out slow-burning landscapes, subtle rolling beats, layers of leftfield soothing synths and wobbly, soulful vocals. The album references everyone from Eno to The Beach Boys, Prince to J Dilla and Talking Heads... or as one journalist put it: 'It's kind of how Animal Collective would sound if they spent a year listening to old soul and Motown Records before laying down their new LP.'

          Toro Y Moi is 23 year old Columbia, South Carolina native and resident Chaz Bundick. After earning a BFA in Graphic Design at The University of South Carolina, Chaz decided to push his music further now that he has more time on his hands. His mom came from the Phillipines to the United States, where she met her future husband (who's African American) in college. They lived in New York City taking in all the wonderful cultural influences the city's rising underground scene had to offer at the time (late 70s/early 80s). Deciding to slow down and be closer to family, they moved to Columbia, South Carolina where they had their first child...

          Chaz Bundick's methods are constantly changing and evolving. Heavily influenced by his parent's vinyl and tape collection, he also possesses great admiration for contemporary influences like Animal Collective, Sonic Youth, J Dilla, and Daft Punk. Like most prepubescent teens, he had his punk band and once that died out, the 'side project' soon became the main focus. Toro y Moi started in 2001 as a bedroom project but quickly grew into the live performance realm. The songs are born from a plethora of different genres, from freak-folk to R&B to French house.


          Rob says: My favourite LP of the year so far! Imagine Panda Bear and Koushik trying to make stuttering densely melodic acid-R&B with their pal Bibio. BREATHTAKING.

          New Zealand's Bevan Smith AKA Signer has spent some time listening to his favorite indie slow-jams (Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine, "Laughing Stock" -era Talk Talk amongst others) and decided he should make the first proper fuzzed-out pop gem of the 21st century. Signer's album chews on all of Bevan's experience in indie bands and electronica and spits them back out into something brand new yet somehow familiar. Those with a sense of humor can call it 'Nu-Gazing'. Signer has played with Dntel, Pan-American, Nudge, Radian, Takagi Masakatsu and Chessie.

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          Laura says: My album of the week this week! Gorgeous cosmic Americana. As much lazy Summer sunshine listening as it…
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