What a thorough, mind-blowing insult to PJ Harvey, to imply that Sadie Dupius is in any way revolutionary or groundbreaking in becoming a powerful and intriguing rock musician. Also, way to take all the “intrigue” out of it whatsoever by funneling it through this concept of women’s societal advancement.
Sadie Dupius in the new pitchfork interview sounds pretty tied to motifs of women’s usurpation of power, granted. She chafes facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s “Ban Bossy” campaign with the lyrical diatribe “I’m not bossy/I’m the boss.” But in no way is this what makes their music good: it’s entirely immaterial, and were not Dupius’ voice cloaked in genuine human sympathy and integrity, we wouldn’t be talking about them in the first place. This pitchfork writer is still in love with the idea of women defeating men in capitalistic realms, and as a fan of rock and roll I’m offended by this artistic tainting.
First of all, it’s important to understand that the term “music business” is already an oxymoron. Let’s just look at it geographically. The “business” aspect happens in cities, but Sadie Dupius rolled around in the country writing the new Speedy Ortiz album, just like Bon Iver did for For Emma, Forever Ago. The very idea of trying to “succeed” in music within the capitalist stratagem is antithetical and self-defeating. Music is art, and art transcends prevailing economic modicum; what’s more, it comments on it. A perfect example is The Hives’ “I Want More” from the wrongfully overlooked last album Lex Hives, refreshing for anyone who views the imperial masquerade as bulbous and empty.
And if Dupius truly gains “boss status,” she does so with her guitar, which more an homage than it is some professional social climbing. Foil Deer is pretty good, I’d say it even deserves to be on “Best New Music,” but Christ, it’s not even that original, let alone timeless or revolutionary.
Dating back to Bessie Smith, and certainly extending through the tendencies of Dupius’ protege, the socially askance Fiona Apple, women as strong figures in rock are nothing new. Furthermore, if Dupius has gender issues to overcome in her life, that’s her business. I view the pitchfork writers “agency as a woman” angle as not only abhorrently dated and passé, but capitalistically servile. True fans of rock and roll are not concerned with the artist’s ability to succeed on American terms as a female: they’re after her artist inclinations: the music itself, her well-read conversational oeuvre, and her accomplishment (or anti-accomplishment, depending on whom you ask) of spending four days crafting a droll material apparatus for the cover art. These aren’t things you do to “make it”: they’re art for art’s sake, which is why the whole thing works in the first place. Instead of hashing out fossilized issues like “advancement of women in rock,” seeing as the already antiquated Breeders are clearly the primary stylistic and cultural influence on Dupius’ band, a discourse on why Greenwhich Village was chosen for the interview site, and not the burgeoning hipster mecca Brooklyn would have been much more enticing for any fan of rock, or of the year 2015 A.D., for that matter. How does this locale sentimentally reflect the shape, both physical and metaphysical, of Dupius’ art? What’s happening in the world today? Let’s get in the realm of thinking in figures, habits and sympathies, not body organs. Artists tread water, and are rendered happy, by the self, in their own space, no commandeering of anyone else’s livelihood implied.