• North American publicity by Motormouth
• College, non-comm, and comm spec radio promotion by Terrorbird
• Solo debut from the frontwoman of Speedy Ortiz
• Limited edition buttercup-colored vinyl
• Mixed by Gabe Wax (Beirut, Wye Oak, Boots) and mastered by Emily Lazar (Sia, HAIM, Sky Ferreira)
• Vinyl includes free digital download
• Upcoming North American tour with band
2. The Sting
4. Get a Yes
5. Devil In U
6. Line Up
7. Just A Friend
8. Tell U What
9. Krampus (In Love)
11. Coming Into Powers (feat. Sammus)
Slugger, the debut LP from Sad13 a.k.a. Sadie Dupuis, prioritizes self-possession in every sense. Sadie, who fronts the dynamite grunge-pop band Speedy Ortiz, forewent her usual modes of collaboration on Slugger, writing and producing the record herself–“to exorcise my control-freaky demons,” she says.
After Sadie moved to Philadelphia in early 2016, Slugger quickly began to take shape: “I wrote and played and recorded almost all of it in the two weeks I was subletting a friend’s tiny bedroom,” she says. Fittingly, directness, self-determinism, and intimacy are the bedrocks of Slugger’s overall tone. Sadie maintains her dignified wit even in less-than-ideal entanglements, as on the album’s opening track, “<2,” styled to resemble the level of affection of which a heart is capable when it’s been twisted out of shape. “I’m in less than two with you,” sings Dupuis, her crystalline voice steadfastly delicate and assured, recalling self-proprietary forebears like Liz Phair and Fiona Apple.
Imitating the reflexive wordplay of Slugger’s lyrics, Sad13’s bedroom recordings are largely about bedroom-based themes. She chews on what it means to give and receive consent, sexual and romantic autonomy, finding new modes of enjoying love and boning after destructive partnerships, shredding joyously past misogyny and other exclusionary gender politics, and so many more exploratory, non-exploitative areas of love. Throughout Slugger, Sadie makes her motives and desires invitingly clear. As she sings on the song “The Sting,” “You don’t know how I’d like to say yes”—but she intends to tell you, and to be heard in kind.
Slugger–produced by Dupuis, mixed by Gabe Wax (Beirut, Wye Oak, Boots) and mastered by Emily Lazar (Sia, HAIM, Sky Ferreira)–is less rock-principled than Sadie’s other projects, but the talented guitarist makes intelligent work of her instrument throughout the record. The guitar lines are layered with synth melodies written on her laptop and are, occasionally, joined by live drums from Julian Fader (currently of Ava Luna; formerly bandmates with Sadie in Quilty).
This matches Sadie’s penchant for bright, tricky assonance and Wilde-style wit, her verses like sailors’ knots tying her instrumentation carefully in place. Her MFA in poetry from—and stint teaching writing at—UMass Amherst are apparent. This is also true of the rapper, producer, and PhD student Sammus’s guest appearance on the album’s final track, “Coming Into Powers,” where she raps, “I’m a star/ I’m a pulsar.” The song closes the loop on a thought ribboning around Slugger on the whole: As Dupuis sings, “I want a life where I can be who I like / Look at me, looking back at me, recognizing who I see.” Slugger identifies an artist and person who, throughout this record, is her own best company.
It’s very strange (“Or not strange at all! Hi!” says feminism) that most of the music we funnel into little girls’ ears—even music written by former little girls—is about how women are petty, pretty garbage whose only valuable function is to hold perfectly still in men’s boudoirs and wait for intercourse. “I wanted to make songs that were the opposite of ‘Genie in A Bottle’ or ‘The Boy Is Mine,’” Sadie Dupuis says of Slugger, her new solo album under the name Sad13. “Songs that put affirmative consent at the heart of the subject matter and emphasize friendship among women and try to deescalate the toxic jealousy and ownership that are often centered in romantic pop songs.” What!? Songs for women that actually champion women’s autonomy, reflect women’s desires, listen to women when they talk, and let women be funny and normal and cool, like women actually are?
After being born, which she totally nailed, Sadie grew up in New York City, toured internationally with a professional children’s choir, then bounced around Massachusetts before eventually landing in Philadelphia “like every other feminist punk.” She has an MFA in poetry from UMass Amherst, likes comics WITH AN ALL-CAPS PASSION, has written for Nylon and Spin, and is mega-beloved for her rock band Speedy Ortiz. Most recently, finding herself disillusioned with a lifetime of misogynist radio pop and yearning for the megalomaniacal autonomy of a solo project, Sadie/Sad13 churned out Slugger in a two-week fury.
Slugger is a pure solo effort. Sadie didn’t just write and sing and play guitar, she recorded and produced the record herself in a subletted bedroom in Fishtown—a not insignificant act of feminist defiance. Despite millennia of evidence to the contrary, women in music are still relentlessly pigeonholed as, essentially, decorative. Sure, you can be a girl singer, or a girl tambourine player, or, once in a while (the height of novelty!), a girl drummer, but a girl producer? A girl engineer? Cool X-File, Mulder! Sadie steers Slugger with a serene sure-footedness, vaporizing that old lie better than any howling polemic ever could. The best revenge is to do your work.
Slugger’s musical touchstones are vast and varied: contemporary pop à la Charli XCX, Santigold, Kelela, Grimes; folk songwriters Karen Dalton and Connie Converse; ‘90s trip-hop; riot grrrl (duh); plus Sad13’s feminist indie and punk contemporaries like Tacocat, Waxahatchee, Mitski, and Bully. Slugger shouldn’t feel like a revolution, but it does—in both content and execution. This is fun music about real shit.