Speedy Ortiz performed a cover of “Silence Kid” at Pavement’s four-day pop-up exhibition, Pavements: 1933-2022: A Pavement Museum, in New York City last fall. As of today, April 12, we no longer have to live in the past.
Speedy Ortiz shared “Scabs,” their first original single since 2018. According to a press release, it’s also the “first to feature longtime touring members Audrey Zee Whitesides and Joey Doubek.” The bassist and drummer, respectively, join existing members Sadie Dupuis (also known as Sad13).
“Living in progressive cities and working in the arts, you meet peers doing tremendous organizing work. And then there are neighbors who signal their ‘good’ politics through yard signs alone,” Dupuis said in a statement. “I wrote ‘Scabs’ standing in line at the post office, overhearing customers berate 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. 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 succinctly delivers such a nuanced message with cutting lines such as “Born-to-scab solipsists are boogying for big commission,” “Yes in your backyard you take handshake squeezes to extremes,” and “Who do you wanna prove you’re a big dog to? / You turn the screw, but you’re using the wrong size tool.”
Watch the “Scabs” lyric video above.