Monday, March 27th, 2023 @ 6:30:pm
The Green Zone
The LA-based band helmed by songwriter and producer Sarah Tudzin made waves with 2018’s Kiss Yr Frenemies, a debut of quirky, poppy rock lovingly fan-dubbed as “tenderpunk.”” The record brought Illuminati Hotties critical acclaim and tour dates alongside contemporary heavyweights Pup and Lucy Dacus, pulling Tudzin away from the recording studio where she’s built up her C.V. engineering and mixing for artists like Weyes Blood, Slowdive and The Kills. Tour-tight and ready to funnel those skills into festival dates and their second record, illuminati hotties found themselves in an immovable contract with a publicly collapsing record label. Tudzin began to write her way through contract purgatory, channeling personal and global anxieties into a vibrant mixtape filled with themes of aggression, claustrophobia and loss. As the mugshot-centric album art cheekily informs, this is NOT the record you’ve been waiting for (though you’ll hear that one soon). This is FREE IH.
At the age of 23, Fenne Lily is a recovering catastrophist. In the world of her music, Fenne’s inveterate vulnerability transforms what-ifs into worse case scenarios, hypotheticals into heartache. This heart-on-sleeve ethos spawned her early songwriting and colored the emotional intensity of her already confessional work. Now, she’s facing this tendency towards emergency head on. “Hypochondriac,” the Bristol singer’s debut single on Dead Oceans, reflects on this struggle and her own role in solving it. “It’s the first in a collection of tracks addressing myself as both the cause of and solution to my anxieties.” Somewhere between the guitar-first catharsis of early Big Thief and the urgent honesty of Sharon Van Etten, Fenne finds the track’s footing. Fenne’s new material represents a graduation of sorts from the relationship-based themes of her breakout On Hold, and from the rooted plaintiveness of her vocal delivery. She wants dynamism. She wants to be heard. “It’s time for me to be loud if I wanna be loud and not feel like I’m gonna piss anyone off,” Fenne offers up. Though, it’s not an abandonment of these traits she’s known for but a deliberate construction upon them. Fenne says these songs are simply “a more grown up way of being all the things I have always been and always will be.”
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