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Viking's Choice: Speedy Ortiz's Sweet And Sour 'Tiger Tank'

Speedy Ortiz.
Courtesy of the artist
Speedy Ortiz.

Sadie Dupuis: rock 'n' roll camp counselor, poet, songwriter, snack enthusiast. If you don't already want to be her best friend based on that description, Dupuis' solo-moniker-turned-band Speedy Ortiz captures the nonsensical wit of Stephen Malkmus, but is simultaneously ballsier and more self-deprecating. Also like Pavement, Speedy Ortiz inverts the idea of rock stardom, while also taking its twisted heft from Polvo, its bummer distortion from Dinosaur Jr. and its gleefully noisy pop sensibility from The Breeders. The combination is somewhat familiar — but, unlike '90s-indebted bands that merely copy and paste, Speedy Ortiz retains the initial shiver and delight of its influences.

After a couple singles and the stellar Sports EP, Speedy Ortiz is set to release its debut album, Major Arcana; the oddly hummable "Tiger Tank" offers our first taste. Like a pack of Gushers, it's chewy at first, but then it explodes with toxic goo.

In "Tiger Tank," Dupuis' tongue isn't planted firmly in her cheek so much as sticking out. In fact, the opening line from the UMass-Amherst MFA poetry student reads like a statement of intent: "Was it my teeth or my tongue that said / 'Glue shut your lips, let us take a rest'? / Oh, my mouth is a factory for every toxic part of speech I spew." The awkward jangle is sweet — especially alongside the way Dupuis sings, "I see me and yoooouu in the tiger tank" — but this relationship has turned sour. Someone's about to get torn limb from limb.

Major Arcana comes out July 9 on Carpark Records.

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