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Speedy Ortiz returns to 123 Pleasant Street tonight

It’s been more than five years since Speedy Ortiz released a new album, but on Sept. 1, “Rabbit Rabbit” dropped. To celebrate, Speedy Ortiz will return for a show at 8 p.m. tonight at 123 Pleasant Street.

Purchase tickets at for $16.

This will be the third time Speedy Ortiz has performed at the venue.

When asked about going back on tour, band founder and lead singer Sadie Dupuis said, “We’ve been having a wonderful time, not only in getting to return to the stage and playing with one another every night, but we’re getting to see a lot of friends we haven’t seen in quite a few years.”

That includes the folks at Bookworm Effects, a Morgantown outfit that creates handmade guitar and bass effects pedals that feature artwork from a number of local artists.

Joining Dupuis on tour are her bandmates Audrey Zee Whitesides, Joey Doubek and Andy Mohot. While Dupuis does the songwriting and the bulk of the arranging, they all have a hand in band projects.

In talking about production for their albums, Dupuis said, “I always make demos and they are pretty fully fleshed out. But in terms of those live band instruments, those go through a lot of rehearsal and arranging. My bandmates will shift their parts in response to another bandmate’s part. I give a blueprint that gives us a direction to go in, but we make a lot of changes together.”

Dupuis’ songwriting is always very personal. She said the pandemic and its aftershocks have hurt a number of people in her orbit and she was a part of a group that organized for musicians. As America experiences a resurgence in labor movements in many sectors, Dupuis examined that in this album.

“There’s certainly some ‘arts labor’ motivated lyrics,” she said. “Not only in organizing musicians, but as a freelance writer, I’ve been seeing a lot of my peers organize and unionize and strike when it’s necessary, so there were quite a few songs early in the writing process not only in support of fellow workers, but coming from a place of real anger at the powers that be that create these unsustainable conditions.”

The song “Scabs” delves into this theme, both lyrically and musically. Opening with a distorted acoustic sound, it then moves into a crunchy electric guitar line that leaves the listener feeling mildly unsettled. This backs up the lyric, “Breaks are out ’til feet below, four on the floor in plague and snow.”

But rather than holding onto anger, Dupuis also wants to examine what motivates it.

“I wanted to take a step back and think about why I so quickly go to this place of anger as a writer. That brought me to thinking about my childhood and some childhood abuse I experienced that I hadn’t really disclosed publicly. So some of the songs became about that and processing those memories.”

Even though delving into these emotions can be difficult, Dupuis can’t imagine writing any other way.

“Basically, I can’t help myself. If I think it’s going to serve the song, I will put myself in an uncomfortable position. I just feel like I’ve got to put all of my guts into it.”