The subversively catchy solo project of Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis, Sad13 (pronounced "sad thirteen") takes her literate lyrics, empowering viewpoint, and skillful musicianship in further-flung directions than with her band. On 2016's Slugger, Dupuis used her homespun versions of Top 40 sounds to counteract the misogynistic messages in mainstream pop; on 2020's Haunted Painting, she widened her focus, crafting maximalist songs about grief, gentrification, unfunny comedians, and art itself.
The project's roots started when Dupuis met rapper Lizzo while on tour with Speedy Ortiz; a fan of Lizzo's music, Dupuis collaborated with her on "Basement Queens," a song about women making music on their own that became Sad13's debut single in January 2016. Inspired, Dupuis wrote and recorded more Sad13 songs early that year in a Philadelphia bedroom she sublet from a friend. The results became the full-length debut Slugger, which Carpark released in November 2016.
Following Slugger's release, Dupuis returned to Speedy Ortiz, who issued the poppy, political Twerp Verse in 2018. That year, Dupuis also published her first book of poetry, Mouthguard. During the Twerp Verse tour, she worked on her second solo album, writing and recording the foundations of it at home and adding more instrumentation -- including an eight-piece orchestra -- at studios across the U.S. Produced by Dupuis and recorded with female engineers, Haunted Painting was informed by the bright electronics of PC Music and the brassy performing and songwriting chops of Joan Armatrading and Tracy Ullman. Arriving in September 2020 on Dupuis' own Wax Nine imprint, the album's guests included Helado Negro's Roberto Lange, Deerhoof's Satomi Matsuzaki, and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. ~ Heather Phares