illuminati hotties: Free I.H: This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For (Self-Titled) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, October 23rd, 2020  

illuminati hotties

Free I.H: This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For


Jul 17, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Unless you just happened to have a spectacular January and February, the year 2020 is turning out to be a particularly shitty one. Between a virus run rampant over the global landscape, videoed lynchings on television, and to put it mildly, actively indifferent leadership, it’s a year most would rather see come to a rapid close. So in this landscape we find ourselves in, why would anyone care about a lowercased indie act having a contract dispute with their not so aspirationally named indie record label? Or as illuminati hotties leader, Sarah Tudzin, puts it on the track “free dumb”: “While the world burns, why would you care about a fucking record?” A fair enough question, but in such a miserable time there is a bit of smug satisfaction in seeing an otherwise well-mannered artist go off the rails for a moment and stick up for themselves in a fit of creative rage. 

With a true sophomore illuminati hotties album written and ready to go, Tudzin had no interest in letting the dormant Tiny Engines label release it. Presuming they were even in a position to.  (Per Tiny Engines website, the label have neither announced nor released any new music since November 2019.) Instead, Tudzin has funded her way out of her contract via a self-released vitriolic blast of a “mixtape.” One that primarily leaves behind the tenderness of the band’s adopted “tenderpunk” label. The 10-track, 23-minute salvo is a bracing one, adopting many musical approaches over its course. 

About half the tracks here are harder edged, punk fueled rants including the long-titled opener (“will i get cancelled if i write a song called, 'if you were a man you’d be so cancelled’”).  The title barely has time to scroll across a phone screen before the song ends. Other full throttled takes include the following “free ppls” and the more pointed “superiority complex (big noise).”  On the latter, Tudzin’s vocals sound somewhere between Valleyspeak and the Jersey Shore as she complains, “now I owe ‘em seven stacks, and won’t even get the circle p.” Even the industrial instrumental “free4all” has an irritated tone that resembles cranking out product. The mixtape aesthetic allows for a broad range of DIY styles so that the danceable rhythms of “melatonezone” feel like Hinds at their most blustery and the tweaked theme song approach on “content//bedtime” recalls CHAI’s calling card once it gets rolling. 

There are some more traditional indie-styled songs hidden amongst the chaos. “Freequent letdown” leads with a catchy, doubled down chorus that repeats itself just enough in two minutes. While the punchy “b yr own b” and final song, “reasons 2 live,” show range and maintain the hooks. With the closer being a roll call of friends that make grinding it out in the industry worthwhile. Free I.H ends on a positive note as a nod to moving forward after this self-funded shot of redemption. Regardless of its target, Tudzin’s kiss-off is a freewheeling burst of let off steam that all of us can use to boost ourselves forward to sunnier days. (                

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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