“I’m always letting everyone down,” claims studio rat singer-guitarist Sarah Tudzin midway through the latest release from her band Illuminati Hotties. I beg to differ. And I predict the same will be true for anyone who lends an ear to the sweet melodies and scrappy pop-rock and self-described “tenderpunk” nuggets found on the L.A. ensemble’s tellingly titled FREE I.H This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For. Tudzin calls it a mixtape — apparently it was written to get them out of a contractual obligation before they can get around to putting out their much-anticipated ‘official’ sophomore set. I don’t know about all that. But I can tell you this: Free I.H is more than satisfying and strong enough to tide over the faithful for the foreseeable future. And frankly, if these corkers aren’t the songs we’ve been waiting for, I sincerely can’t wait to hear the ones she’s been keeping under her hat.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “The L.A.-based band helmed by songwriter and producer Sarah Tudzin made waves with 2018’s Kiss Yr Frenemies, a debut of quirky, poppy rock lovingly fan-dubbed as “tenderpunk.” The record brought Illuminati Hotties critical acclaim and tour dates alongside contemporary heavyweights Pup and Lucy Dacus, pulling Tudzin away from the recording studio where she’s built up her C.V. engineering and mixing for artists like Weyes Blood, Slowdive and The Kills. Tour-tight and ready to funnel those skills into festival dates and their second record, Illuminati Hotties found themselves in an immovable contract with a publicly collapsing record label. Tudzin began to write her way through contract purgatory, channeling personal and global anxieties into a vibrant mixtape filled with themes of aggression, claustrophobia and loss. As the mugshot-centric album art cheekily informs, this is NOT the record you’ve been waiting for (though you’ll hear that one soon). This is FREE IH.”