Everybody gets knocked down. It’s how you get back up that counts.
Case in point: Sarah Tudzin, the singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer at the heart of L.A.’s Illuminati Hotties. Between a death in her immediate family, the pandemic and plenty of the usual music-biz bullshit, her 2020 probably sucked even worse than yours and mine. But she has not only weathered the storm — she’s bounced back with her best work to date. Let Me Do One More, the band’s third full-length release, is an addictively enjoyable and unquestionably brilliant album that showcases Tudzin’s many magnificent talents. Her melodies are punchy and hooky and all-get-out; her lyrics are wickedly clever and work on multiple levels; her arrangements throw more than enough curve balls to keep you on your toes; her production is dynamic, distinctive and never derivative; and the whole damn disc manages to be fun and upbeat without ever feeling like fluff. Honestly, I don’t know how she does it. Here’s what I do know: I’ve been playing (and singing) Pool Hopping and MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA incessantly since I got the album a few weeks back. If you don’t find them stuck in your head pretty much instantly, get your hearing checked. I also interviewed Tudzin over Zoom recently; come back on Saturday to see what she has to say about songwriting, producing and more. But first, push play on this sucker. It’s a knockout.
THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “2020 was a year no one could have predicted would turn out the way it did, including Illuminati Hotties.
The musical project founded by producer/writer Sarah Tudzin was originally an outlet to showcase and experiment as a producer. It quickly grew into a full-time band that was picked up by independent label Tiny Engines. After the success of her debut album Kiss Yr Frenemies, and coining the term “tenderpunk,” Illuminati Hotties were on their way to recording and releasing a highly anticipated sophomore album. However, things at the label started to fall apart, and Illuminati Hotties found themselves stuck in a contract with a label who didn’t have the infrastructure to put out the album the band had been crafting for months. “It felt like any momentum came to a screeching halt. It felt painful to pick up a guitar, to write, to record any loose ends that needed to happen to wrap up the album,” Sarah recalls.
With the emotional turmoil and uncertainty building over the label situation, Sarah turned her focus to a new batch of songs that would become FREE I.H. Funneling all the raw feelings and letting go of any inhibitions, Illuminati Hotties released the collection of songs, carefully not defined as the “new album.” The critically acclaimed fan-favorite release closed the chapter on the label drama, and opened up the band musically to a whole world of possibilities.
The positive response to FREE I.H. brought back the energy and intention that had seeped out after the label fallout, and Sarah dove straight into the new album, Let Me Do One More. The result is a diverse, layered album of “all riprs and no more skiprs.” From the vibrant, clever, and undeniably fun Pool Hopping to the edgy, sardonic and witty MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA (pronounced Moo), to the intimate and vulnerable Growth, Let Me Do One More embraces Sarah’s autonomy as an artist, and the fearlessness of being figuratively open and exposed for art. According to Sarah, “The songs tell a story of my gremlin-ass running around L.A., sneaking into pools at night, messing up and starting over, begging for attention for one second longer, and asking the audience to let me do one more.”
With the album shaping up, Sarah knew that she didn’t want to sign a traditional label deal anymore. After all the work to get herself back creatively, she wanted to maintain as much autonomy and creative control as possible. She started an imprint label, Snack Shack Tracks, and partnered with Los Angeles-based independent label Hopeless Records. Together, they’ve released Let Me Do One More.
While FREE I.H. felt like an experimental conduit for self-expression at breakneck speed, Let Me Do One More is the fully realized creative vision of two years of ambition, heartache, uncertainty, redemption, and ultimately triumph. Sarah reflects, “I love these songs and they’re a part of me and I’m proud of them.”
This IS the one you’ve been waiting for.”