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Britspotting w/ Matt McGrath

CD of The Week

Week of 8/10/20

    Illuminati Hotties - Free I.H.: This Is Not The One You've Been Waiting For (Big Scary Monsters)

    Sarah Tudzin launched her musical project Illuminati Hotties in 2018 with the scrappy debut Kiss Yr Frenemies. The album gained plenty of buzz and saw Illuminati Hotties hitting the road opening for a variety of notable artists. However, due to a complicated series of events surrounding the finances of Tudzin's label home of Tiny Engines, she opted to make her next release technically a "mixtape" on her way out of their roster.

    Free I.H.: This Is Not The One You've Been Waiting For is a snarky title for this short-but-sweet diverse collection of tracks. There's a streak of humor on display from the start on FREE I.H, which kicks off with the noisy "will i get cancelled if i write a song called, "if you were a man you'd be so cancelled"," a title inspired by a conversation with her friend Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz/Sad13.

    Though it was written back in February, "free dumb" sums up how countless artists have surely felt in recent months, asking, "While the world burns / How could you care about a f***ing record? / Empty turntables / To polish off the fucking decade / There was no love lost until you deemed that I was non-essential / I guess it's my fault for being good at something sentimental."

    Being labeled as a mixtape allows Free I.H. to jump around from the punk thrasher "free ppls" right into the jaunty "freequent letdown" and the industrial noise of "free4all" into the cleanest guitar pop song on here, "b yr own b." Clocking in with 12 songs in under 25 minutes, "content//bedtime" is the only song to crack three minutes and is a blast of a Le Tigre-esque electroclash dance-rant.

    While Kiss Yr Frenemies was a fairly straightforward mix of indie-pop-rock tunes, Free I.H. greatly expanding Tudzin's sonic palate, opening things up to an array of possibilities in the future. Her day job is as an engineer with an array of eclectic credits on releases from Weyes Blood to Logic to the Hamilton soundtrack, so it's no surprise that she can jump around sonically with such ease here. A proper second IH album is in the works at some point and Free I.H. has me intrigued and excited by the possibilities.
    Review by Joey O.

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