Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie DuPuis reworks quirky ‘Twerp Verse’ tunes

Like a video game developer inserting Easter eggs for players to unearth, Speedy Ortiz vocalist Sadie DuPuis makes a point of keeping her alt rock songs intriguing for fans, offering nuances they might not notice at first. She calls it unpacking: “Like where you’re playing something for the 10th time, and all of a sudden you notice that the guitar solo in the left channel is not normal, or certain keyboard parts aren’t in the same key as their song,” she says. “Those are the things that keep me really psyched about making music.” She’s self-critical to a fault. Upon listening to a love-and-breakup-themed early version of her band’s latest album “Twerp Verse,” she was so dissatisfied she scrapped it and penned a more political disc.

Was the first version of “Twerp Verse” really that bad?

Well, I think it was still good, and I don’t think that we’re not proud of any of the songs. But in terms of the lyrics, they just weren’t songs that I felt connected to anymore. I mean, they’re still weird Speedy Ortiz songs. But a lot of them I’d completely outgrown, like the lovey-dovey ones, because I don’t have much need for that kind of music in my life anymore. My personal life is not really wrapped up in me anymore, but that’s what those earlier songs were like. We had one called “DTMFA,” a Dan Savage-ism for “Dump the Motherf—- Already,” and that set the tone for what the rest of the record was like.

When did you realize that you couldn’t release it?

Well, we’re still releasing those songs as B-sides and stuff, so it’s not like I can’t sing them. But when you go into a record-release cycle, you have to have a press release and say what it all means and why you thought to make it. And I just didn’t have any answers. I didn’t understand what the record was about, I only knew that it didn’t mean much to me. And this was right after the 2016 election, at which point I started writing more, and that’s what comprises the bulk of this record.

Are the songs about the horrific election results?

Well, I will say that I don’t think any of the tracks are directly about Trump. They’re more about this world we live in that has allowed a person like that to become president. But the stage was set for that to happen. And I wasn’t blind to it, but I was foolishly optimistic. Because there were just so many bigots — people who talk s— every day, until you can’t believe they’re saying this and you have to explain to them for the 12th time why it’s considered wrong.


Speedy Ortiz
Where: Café Du Nord, 2174 Market St., S.F.
When: 7 p.m. June 10
Tickets: $15
Contact: www.swedishamericanhall.com
Note: The band also plays at 7:30 p.m. June 9 at Starline Social Club, 2236 Marin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland.

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