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Speedy Ortiz Skewer ‘Scabs’ Who Posture Good Politics Without Doing the Work on New Song

Track marks the indie outfit’s first in five years

Indie rock favorites Speedy Ortiz are back with their first new song in five years, “Scabs.”

The track is vintage Speedy, with busy, biting guitar riffs and some tricky rhythms and time changes, though, the song always returns to a big sing-along chorus: “Who do you wanna prove you’re a big dog to? You turn the screw, but you’re using the wrong size tool,” songwriter/singer/guitarist Sadie Dupuis sings.

Dupuis wrote “Scabs” about the gulf between people “doing tremendous organizing work” and those who “signal their ‘good’ politics through yard signs alone.” Specifically, the song was inspired by an incident at a post office when she witnessed customers berating a USPS employee.

“This was during a time of postal unions-opposed budget cuts and other major issues for mail handlers, which were widely reported on,” Dupuis said. “People advertising their support for essential workers acted conversely when faced with personal inconvenience. The song became more widely about self-designated ethicists who don’t quibble about crossing a picket line for individual benefit.”


Speedy Ortiz recorded “Scabs” in two different desert studios, Rancho de la Luna in Joshua Tree and Sonic Ranch in El Paso. Speedy Ortiz co-produced the track with Illuminati Hotties’ Sarah Tudzin, who also engineered and mixed the song. 

“Scabs” marks Speedy Ortiz’s first song since the release of their 2018 album, Twerp Verse (in the years since Dupuis released a solo album, Haunted Painting, and two collections of poetry). It’s also the band’s first recording to feature longtime touring bassist Audrey Zee Whitesides and drummer Joey Doubek. 

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