WXPN 88.5 Welcomes | Amps On The Lawn Tour
Liz Phair is a Grammy-nominated singer songwriter whose debut album, Exile In Guyville, is considered by music critics to be a landmark of indie rock. She has been a recording artist and touring performer for twenty-five years, paving the way for countless music artists, particularly women, who count her among their major influences. Her deeply clever and often brutally candid songs have been garnering critical praise since she began her career in the early 1990s in Chicago by self-releasing audio cassettes under the name Girly-Sound. The intense viral response to these early tracks led to Phair signing with the independent record label Matador Records.
Her 1993 debut studio album Exile in Guyville was released to international acclaim; it has been ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, by Pitchfork as one of the 100 Greatest albums of the 90’s and is considered one of the most accomplished debut albums for any artist in any genre to date. She was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, topped SPIN’s 20 Best Albums of the Year, and reached No.1 on the Village Voice Pazz and Jop Critics Poll. Phair joined Lilith Fair in 1998-9, performing as a main stage headliner along with top female acts of the day like Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow and Missy Elliott.
In Spring 2016 Liz toured with The Smashing Pumpkins on their North American “In Plainsong” tour. Liz is currently working on a new record, and will be touring in June.
2018 marks the 25th Anniversary of Exile in Guyville. To celebrate, Matador Records will be re-issuing the record along with a box-set. Phair has sold over five million records worldwide, with three US gold albums and two Grammy nominations. More than two decades after the release of her debut, Phair’s influence in contemporary music and particularly over female voices in alternative music can be felt today more than ever.
“Necessary brattiness” is the motto for Speedy Ortiz’s dauntless new collection of songs, Twerp Verse. The follow-up to 2015’s 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.”
Twerp Verse was tracked in Brooklyn DIY space Silent Barn, mixed by Omaha legend Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley) and mastered by Grammy-nominated engineer Emily Lazar (Sia, Haim, Beck). The record pulls from the most elastic pop moments in Squeeze’s Argybargy and the seesawing synth-rock of Deerhoof and the Rentals. With Dupuis on guitars, vocals, and synths, supporting guitarist Andy Molholt (of psych pop outfit Laser Background) now joins Speedy veterans Darl Ferm on bass and Mike Falcone on drums – and together they accelerate the band’s idiosyncrasy through the wilderness of Dupuis’ heady reflections on sex, lies and audiotape.
Dupuis, who both earned an MFA in poetry and taught at UMass Amherst, propels the band’s brain-teasing melodies with her serpentine wit. Inspired by the cutting observations of Eve Babitz, Aline Crumb’s biting memoirs, and the acute humor of AstroPoet Dorothea Lasky, Dupuis craftily navigates the danger zone that is building intimacy and political allyship in 2018. 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.