The Lineup

Speedy Ortiz

Northampton, Mass.

Speedy Ortiz

What a difference a few months and a production budget can make: That’s not meant to be a slight on Speedy Ortiz’s earlier work. Rather, on the Massachusetts band’s self-recorded lower-fi offerings—like the 2011 debut, The Death of Speedy Ortiz—the group’s inescapable hooks and undeniable charms were certainly evident.

But when Speedy Ortiz recorded a follow-up single with producer Paul Q. Kolderie—a man who twiddled the knobs for ’90s alt-rock mainstays like Belly, The Lemonheads, Hole, and an up-and-coming UK group named Radiohead—those hooks and charms were amplified multiple times. One of the key charms is Sadie Dupuis, the sort of affable, nervy and whipsmart (referring both to the attitude and the unsung Liz Phair album) frontwoman that, for an all-too-brief moment, ruled the rock radio airwaves.

Having a veteran like Kolderie in the booth assured that the group’s self-professed “post-post-grunge” essence translated onto tape, but it also helps when you bring songs as good as “Taylor Swift” into the studio. As the group whips their guitars into a fuzzy frenzy that’s part “Cannonball” and part “Seether,” Dupuis matter-of-factly brags about all the musician boys she has under her thumb. She sasses another potential (and ultimately unsuccessful) suitor with a wry and pointed taunt worthy of Kristin Hersh: “Baby, my baby, my baby/I’ll bring you to term.”

Their latest release, a five-song EP titled Sports, continues in this vein, with Dupuis proffering songs titled “Suck Buddies” and cheeky dares like “Show me mine/I’ll show you yours” atop quirky melodies. It’s the sort of out-of-fashion guitar rock that, if Speedy Ortiz has anything to say about it, should experience a very welcome comeback in the near future. Their new single, “Ka-Prow,” is earning big blog attention fast. —David Raposa