When: Tue., Dec. 15, 9 p.m. 2015
TUESDAY, DEC. 15
THE PINHOOK, DURHAM—Sadie Dupuis, the leader of Massachusetts' Speedy Ortiz, briefly fronted an all-female Pavement cover band called "Babement." Though Pavement is a less ubiquitous influence now than they were two decades ago, plenty of bands still get the comparison now, even if it's wrongheaded. Aloofness was Pavement's easiest signifier, but not the defining aspect; the band's specific musical frequency is deceptively hard to emulate. They were jammy but not hippies. They weren't wrapped up in perfection, but they consistently put distinctive riffs under even more memorable bits of absurd, elegant wordplay. Speedy Ortiz does all of that stuff at a high level. But Malkmus projected the illusion he didn't give a shit. You can't hang that on Dupuis.
On record, Speedy Ortiz is clearly growing more ambitious. The band released its second full-length album, Foil Deer, earlier this year to much acclaim. Dupuis' sly lyricism is becoming slightly more direct, and the '90s indie rock references are growing more muscular and varied. Previous efforts wouldn't have made room for "Puffer," where they take radio-borne influences and hip-hop-familiar beats and fold them into kraut-pop that's scowling yet light on its feet.
Off record, Speedy Ortiz seems to care even more. The band launched the latest in a series of near-constant tours as a benefit for The Girls Rock Camp Foundation, an organization focused on teaching music and music-business skills to young girls on a local level. (Proceeds from the show go to charity.) Dupuis has spoken about the casual condescension and overt misogyny female musicians continue to encounter. The band is trying to make its shows a safer space, too. This fall, they established a hotline, 574-404-SAFE, to provide immediate assistance to any fans who felt threatened or harassed, an attempt to positively affect something that might typically be out of a performer's hands. Speedy Ortiz are trying to undermine the old idea of a rock show as a definitively macho environment on all fronts—behind, on and in front of the stage.Too much work for Malkmus, really. 9 p.m., $10–$15, 117 W. Main St., Durham, 919-667-1100, www.thepinhook.com. —Jeff Klingman