Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Tudzin’

Sarah Tudzin released her debut album as Illuminati Hotties, “Kiss Yr Frenemies”. It was named as one of the best albums of 2018, so naturally each bit of Hotties news this year has been something worth paying attention to. Amidst touring pretty relentlessly, Tudzin’s given us a couple new releases: “I Wanna Keep Your Dog” and a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and a standalone single called “ppl plzr”. And now, Tudzin’s back with one more new one called “Post-Everything.” As you might guess by the name, there’s a certain end-times vibe to the song. “The world’s burnin, so why the hell not,” Tudzin wrote in a note on Bandcamp before continuing, “Happy 2020.” On Twitter, she elaborated a bit more: “2019 was somehow the absolute Best & absolute Worst year of my life. so here’s a song about the apocalypse.” Fittingly, the lyrics feature snapshots of people losing it, screaming on the street in some form or another — they sound like pretty run-of-the-mill scenes in 2019, which is to say they do sound a bit like the encroaching end of the world.


Released February 4th, 2021

Cartalk, the project of Los Angeles songwriter and musician Chuck Moore, have been teasing out their debut album, the immaculate “Pass Like Pollen”, for the better part of a year. These singles got some light coverage but steadily built on each other. Every song added another view into their captivating sound. The nine tracks that form Pollen are each vulnerable, exuberant, and gripping in a way that makes their power known mere seconds after pressing play. 

One song dropped far in advance, the closing cut, “Sleep,” exemplifies this. Even before Moore’s voice comes in, the tendrils of guitar reaching out foreshadow the crash we all can feel is coming. The song has urgent, anxious energy, and Moore laments “I can’t write songs about you before I sleep / I won’t be so meticulous.” Its pace shakes you, and you feel the emotional resonance of every word viscerally, perhaps as strongly as Moore themselves. Songs like “Car Window” and “Noonday Devil” tap into relatable ideas like the comfort of sitting on floors, and sticking one’s head out of the car window. Neither act is subversive, but go against what’s expected nonetheless.

Pass Like Pollen in a lot of ways feels like the natural successor of Great Grandpa’s Four of Arrows. That is to say that above all else released this year in rock music, it’s the album that most confidently embraces country music’s influence and proudly wraps each note in that flag. Additionally, Moore’s vocals share a certain tone with Great Grandpa’s own Al Menne. The album’s opener, “Arroyo Tunnels” is reposed and eerie. The vast, developed lyricism on display here is a recurring theme throughout. It depicts a long drive and expresses a love for the world it travels and takes comfort in the long drive. This deep attention to and appreciation of detail is tangible in every note. 

“Wrestling” has some great riffs and a chorus that will surely get a crowd dancing once we can come back to live events again. “Driveway” is a heavy song about being in a relationship but feeling like it’s over already, basically a shell of what it once was, and it feels like you can see through the other person as if they were a ghost. “A Lesson” is a quick beautiful slow song about learning from every relationship and taking that forward as you move on in life. “Sleep” ends the record on a high note both lyrically and musically. While it might be over, the memories are there forever. I’m so excited for what the future holds for Cartalk as this is quite the debut.

“Pollen” shines as an airing of grievances and self-affirming mantras. Moore isn’t just writing songs with big choruses, though there are plenty of those, they’re building out an expanse for their guitar and band to fill. You can hear the space between each riff, and on a song like “Las Manos,” when the vocals and guitar act as a part of each other, the atmosphere they share becomes overwhelming. That song could be considered the highlight, though, with as many excellent songs as there are here, that title can be argued over. Feeling the guitar swing down as Moore sings “did my honesty scare you?” is exhilarating. 


The multi-faceted nature of Cartalk’s melodies that remind you music is supposed to be fun.

All songs written by Cartalk
Cartalk is Chuck Moore

Recorded with Sarah Tudzin at Sunset Sound in Hollywood CA, The Snack Shack in Highland Park CA, and Champ’s House in Highland Park CA

The Band:

Sarah Tudzin – producer, engineer, programming, keyboards, additional guitar, additional vocals
Dean Kiner – bass; Andrew Keller – drums; Jacob Blizard – guitar
Kenny Becker – keyboards
Emily Elkin – cello
Noah Weinman – banjo, trumpet
Chuck Moore – composer, guitar, vocals

Released October 2nd, 2020

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Delighted to welcome illuminati hotties to BSM. The new album ‘Free I.H: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting For’ is out next Friday – and it might just be the most fun and interesting thing you hear this year. Earlier this month, artists like Lucy Dacus, PUP and Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz shared a SoundCloud link to a self-titled album by a band called Occult Classic. With a solid black album cover and no credits to be found, buzz about the album started to swirl on social media—though that probably wouldn’t have happened if the album wasn’t so mind-numbingly good. Fans immediately began to speculate about whether this was a supergroup whose members included the indie artists tweeting the link, but a close ear would tell you that Sarah Tudzin of Illuminati Hotties is indeed on lead vocals, later spelling out her band name several times on track seven “Content / Bedtime.” It was later confirmed as a new Illuminati Hotties mixtape, and it’s a big step up from their 2018 debut Kiss Yr Frenemies. It’s bolder, punkier and has some of the best rock hooks in recent memory. On their 12 songs (with goofy, lowercase track titles) and less than half-hour run time, you’ll hear tinges of phat electro-rock, invigorating riot grrrl and delectable twee-pop.

Sarah Tudzin, your main illuminati hottie depending on your point of view, has had herself a year. Well we all have but she has had some other challenges as well in regards to getting her sophomore release out in the world.  Though it was tracked locally between drummer Tim Kmet’s rehearsal space and Tudzin’s home, “FREE IH” sounds like an homage to the bands you’d catch on club stages during a sleepless, electrifying cross-country tour. It’s a product of Sarah’s wide array of influences, ranging from snotty Californian forebears Dead Kennedys and Black Flag to the innovation and bravado of Death Grips and Cardi B.

With 12 songs clocking in at 23 minutes, Free I.H. condenses the hooks and hilarity of Kiss Yr Frenemies into 90-second blasts honouring the legacy of SoCal pop-punk miniaturists ranging from the Descendents to Joyce Manor. Elsewhere, Tudzin takes advantage of the format to attempt previously inconceivable experiments in Death Grips-styled noise, an homage to Trio’s “Da Da Da,” and the label-baiting venom of Clipse circa We Got It 4 Cheap — “First I made Frenemies Made a whole lotta frenemies/ Now I owe ‘em seven stacks/ And won’t even get the circle-p,” she snarls a la Drake’s “Energy” on “Superiority Complex (Big Noise).” But its closest precedent might actually be Marvin Gaye’s infamous Here, My Dear: A 1977 divorce settlement granted Gaye’s ex-wife half the royalties from his next album, which he subsequently used to publicly air out the entire bitter affair over his least commercial music to date.
In even better news, the album FREE I.H: This Is Not the One You’ve Been Waiting Foris out now and streaming everywhere! We told you it might just be the most interesting and goddamn catchy record you hear this year – now you can enjoy this absolute gem too.
All songs written & recorded by illuminati hotties
illuminati hotties is Sarah TudzinAdditional music written by Zach Bilson & Tim Kmet
Band Members:
Zach Bilson – Bass, Additional Vocals, Additional Guitar on “content//bedtime”
Tim Kmet – Drums
Anna Arboles – Guitars on “melatonezone”
Sarah Tudzin – Vocals, Guitars, Percussion, Noise,
Big Scary Monsters is an independent currently label based in Oxford. releases July 17th, 2020

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Veteran producer and engineer Sarah Tudzin has worked on albums for major players like Slowdive, Amen Dunes and Macklemore (oh, and the Hamilton soundtrack, ). This year, however, she has made an excellent album of her own, with some help from “a rotating selection of her bffs,” per the Illuminati Hotties Facebook page. The band’s debut, Kiss Yr Frenemies, is a really fun and smart indie-rock album among one of the year’s best, for that matter. Tudzin is bone dry in delivering her lyrics, which pair the everyday with the profound in a startling, hilarious fashion. On “(You’re Better) Than Ever,” something as mundane as a pair of socks triggers a nugget of wisdom: “All my favorite socks are getting holes in them / All my favorite people got a load on them.” In other words, handle the things (and people) you love with care. The world is rough on them

Illuminati Hotties(You’re Better) Than Ever Recorded Live – Daytrotter Studios

illuminati hotties will perform at SXSW 2019.

Sarah Tudzin has dubbed her band’s sound “tenderpunk,” which captures a fair bit of her modus operandi: Vibrant and aggressive, illuminati hotties‘ songs storm agreeably without obscuring the bleeding heart at their center. But that tenderpunk portmanteau still doesn’t quite convey the poppy, sunlit sound of Kiss Yr Frenemies and songs like “(You’re Better) Than Ever,” in which Tudzin craftily conveys a flood of mixed emotions: “Texted you a picture where you looked pretty,” she sings, adding, “and wondered if you saved the ones you had of me.”

On their Facebook page, Illuminati Hotties’ genre description reads “post-naptime burrito-core.” Jokes aside, the L.A. band’s jubilant rock would probably pair well with Mexican foods of all varieties, but not so much a midday nap. The group, whose only permanent member is longtime studio musician Sarah Tudzin, released Kiss Yr Frenemies, Tudzin’s first long player record under the moniker, in May. Tudzin, along with her band, stopped by Daytrotter to play a few songs from the record including ”(You’re Better) Than Ever,” “Shape Of My Hands,” “Cuff” and “Paying Off the Happiness.”

Illuminati Hotties – Paying Off The Happiness Recorded Live – Daytrotter Studios – Davenport, IA

Breakups are hard; but separating yourself from your partner’s pet is even harder. Illuminati Hotties seem to be well aware of this phenomenon, as their latest single—and first new music since last year’s Tiny Engines debut Kiss Yr Frenemies—is more an homage to a one-time date’s canine companion than it is to Iggy Pop. “One time I went on a date with someone I met through a dating app,” frontwoman Sarah Tudzin talked about the origins of “I Wanna Keep Yr Dog,” a staple of their recent live shows. “Their dog was much cuter than they were.”

You can check out the song below (complete with some stellar Corgi footage), and make sure to catch Illuminati Hotties when they grace their Austin showcase SXSW . As far as any news of dating-app type services specifically for meeting up with local singles’ dogs? .

illuminati hotties – I Wanna Keep Yr Dog Single out March 6th on Tiny Engines

As its title suggests, Kiss Yr Frenemies is an album about forgiveness. Sarah Tudzin’s debut full-length as Illuminati Hotties sees each stage of the grieving and coping that leads to radical acceptance — digging into the grey areas of flings and relationships, growing up and feeling the same. Her disposition shifts from lighthearted smirking to choking on her words. Mood swings are well-met with Tudzin’s diverse palette of influences and genres. She grits her teeth to synth and static booms, bobs her head to jangly guitars, whispers to echoey acoustics, and makes fart noises to a relentless riff. Moving forward is rarely a straight shot. It’s messy. There are distractions, setbacks, and diversions. Tudzin takes the winding road and brings us along for the ride.


Rarely is there an album that I can listen to and enjoy every song, but this album has certainly been able to get me to listen to it on repeat. Love this album already and looking forward to what else Illuminati Hotties has to offer.

Released May 11th, 2018

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Illuminati Hotties, aka L.A.’s Sarah Tudzin, seems plagued by the past on “Cuff.” But over a chorus of explosive guitars, backed by simple, steady drum programming, she settles on a solution: “I cuff my T-shirt sleeve / and grit my teeth / How else can I tell myself I can do most anything?”

In a new video for the track, featuring animation from Sam Lane, the protagonist is a humble fish that has fantasies of flight. As the chorus explodes, dreamy visions of possibilities flash, the colors shifting. For the film’s fish protagonist, despite the cost, hope remains. And for Tudzin, the final chorus offers relief in letting another in.

“After watching an animated short film that Sam created for part of her coursework at CalArts, I knew I wanted to collaborate with her on something,” Tudzin says. “The animation and storytelling she does is so sensitive, emotionally aware, and poignantly relatable – it sneaks right into your guts and twists them up in the most winsome way.”

The same can be said of Tudzin’s debut, a record that balances humor and heart, illuminating the ways in which we cope with coming into our own, no matter our age.

Kiss Yr Frenemies is out now via Tiny Engines.

L.A. musician Sarah Tudzin makes fizzy, self-deprecating power pop under the moniker Illuminati Hotties. “Paying Off The Happiness,” like a few other unlikely rallying cries before it, plays off the very real, very troubling issue of financial insolvency among the millennial set with with a joyful sigh and shrug.

Despite the pluralized nom de guerre, illuminati hotties is the creative outlet of Sarah Tudzin – a producer and engineer hailing from the sprawl of Los Angeles. illuminati hotties has been lighting up stages across SoCal since Fall 2016 with playfully interweaving guitar lines, relentless rhythmic momentum, and strikingly self-aware vocals.  At first listen, illuminati hotties is a sun-drenched, irreverent volley with the onset of adulthood, but as the listener dives deeper, they will find an earnest consideration of musical phrasing and deliberately crafted wordplay regarding the complexity of love, loss, and skateboarding. Lauded as local “tenderpunk pioneers,” illuminati hotties has perfected the blend of sweetness and ferocity, of celebration and despondency, in their debut album, Kiss Yr Frenemies.

With its chorus that swells before spilling over, “Patience” is a plea and an appreciation that demonstrates the dichotomy of virtue. It also highlights the duality of Illuminati Hotties, a playful project that balances heart-on-sleeve sentiments with levity and wit.

Sarah Tudzin is the project’s mastermind…She has a malleable writing style that feels ripe with potential, and she seems comfortable doing just about anything. The album’s lead single, “(You’re Better) Than Ever,” is a surf-pop shredder by way of Courtney Barnett, but its follow-up “Cuff” is a masterful blend of heavy-soft dynamics that shows off the many sides to this project. Tudzin’s songs vacillate between humorous and cutting with ferocity.

illuminati hotties “Kiss Yr Frenemies” out May 11, 2018 on Tiny Engines Records

With soft gorgeous pop sensibilities that know how to turn up the overdrive. these tracks are meticulous–the textures, the way the songs build, just gorgeous. fourth track had me impulse buying, second to last track had my jaw physically dropping

You might expect something akin to goofy surf rock from an LA-based project called Illuminati Hotties. And while Sarah Tudzin can certainly play to that note, it’s far from the only one she’s well-versed in. On her debut LP Kiss Yr Frenemies, Tudzin draws from a wide ranging palette — encompassing acoustic balladry, bouncy surf rock, and simmering noise pop — from which she doodles detailed scenes and stories of young adulthood. Also in her toolbox: keen self-awareness, vulnerability, poignant wit, nuanced social observations, and a sense of optimism that recognizes the beauty that can grow out of growing pains. Tudzin is both personal and personable; her anecdotes are relatable without sufficing the intimate specificity of her experience. Lighthearted odes to past flings with lame dudes carry the same weight as heart-wrenching letters that begin with sleeping in her car on her 24th birthday. Kiss Yr Frenemies is the fruitful aftermath of emotional labor and hindsight.


Released May 11th, 2018