SPEEDY ORTIZ 'Major Arcana' LP
On their debut full-length, Western Massachusetts' Speedy Ortiz manages a bit of magic by conjuring the spirits of classic American indie rock, while twisting those ghosts into new shapes. Sweet vocal harmonies run up against gnarly distortion, aided by basic, chunky bass parts and heavy, fill-laden drums. The theme of the occult and the supernatural runs deep through Major Arcana, inspired by singer-guitarist Sadie Dupuis' reading on black magic. Dupuis' sometimes knotty and abstract lyrics bring to mind fellow wordsmith Stephen Malkmus, while referencing horror film tropes, chemistry, and neuroscience. Major Arcana's literal translation is "major mysteries," a phrase from tarot cards. "I don't write in a narrative way and am more concerned with use of language than meaning," Dupuis says, "so I like the open-endedness of the title and the way it invites interpretation."