Sadie Dupuis has an audacious life goal. “I want to have a record out every year until I’m dead,” the 28-year-old musician says one afternoon, lounging in her West Philadelphia apartment in front of bookshelves full of vinyl albums and her Fender Jazzmaster stationed at the ready. “I’m so depressed if I’m not working all the time. If I don’t constantly create work for myself, I fall into a real K-hole of eating badly and watching TV till 5 a.m.” She need not worry about an abundance of downtime: Known for her gut-punching, incisive lyrics as the singer-guitarist of critically acclaimed indie-rock band Speedy Ortiz, she has assumed the moniker Sad13 (“It’s my Twitter handle. I love Twitter!”) as a solo artist and is releasing her solo debut, Slugger (Carpark), this month.
Dupuis began recording the 11-track album at home last winter when on a break from touring with Speedy. She sketched out the songs via iPhone voice memos and recorded them directly onto her laptop. “I really like home recording and that sitting-at-home-by-yourself-in-a-room-playing-all-the-instruments aesthetic,” she says. Writing songs that reflect her own experience and are not meant to represent four members of a band, Dupuis says, allowed her to unleash her most explicit self yet and tackle subjects she feels are largely absent in mainstream pop culture. In the chorus of “Get a Yes,” an unabashedly giddy pop song about sexual consent, she sings, “I say yes to the dress when I put it on / I say yes if I want you to take it off / I say yes for your touch when I need your touch.” And on “Just a Friend,” she sets a jealous boyfriend straight: “Put to bed your wrong ideas about my old friends / before I’m drowning in abasement.”
Dupuis has a firm grounding in critical theory (she received an MFA in poetry from UMass Amherst in 2014), but her greatest gift might be a seemingly innate ability to couch serious messages in sticky pop hooks and rambunctious riffs. “The intellectual topics I gravitate towards most in art aren’t very fun,” she admits. “I’m never going to want to write a song that’s like, ‘I’m having the best time on the beach!’ ” She laughs, her dangly, rainbow-hued earrings swaying from side to side. “I might seem well-adjusted, but I’m actually quite somber,” she says. “It’s all a ruse.”