When the record label Illuminati Hotties was signed to started to fall apart, the band’s mastermind, Sarah Tudzin, was knee-deep in crafting the highly-anticipated follow-up to the “tenderpunk” outfit’s 2018 debut, Kiss Yr Frenemies. With the writing on the wall spelling out a pretty unideal circumstance, she decided to step back and try to get her bearings.
Illuminati Hotties’ second album, Let Me Do One More, opens with “Pool Hopping”, a post-breakup burst of hedonism—ice cream, “smoking sayonara”, window shopping for a “clean rebound”. Tudzin outlines her unimpeded frolics between mouthfuls of peanut butter as bouncy guitars and propulsive drums exude vivacity. It’s a significant starting point in a collection of songs that conclude at a somber place of rest. Along the way, the album charts a re-coming-of-age journey and detours through riot grrrl waters, ironic country pastiches, and ’90s high school movie soundtrack vibes, all led by the band’s frontwoman and primary songwriter Sarah Tudzin.
Sarah Tudzin knows how to milk a moment. You hear it in “MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA,” the onomatopoeic pop–punk rager that she put out under her Illuminati Hotties moniker this past April. At the song’s climax, she lets forth a gasp, a villainous cackle, and then squeals into the microphone: “If you’re not laughing, baby / then you’re not making money!” The title of her new album, Let Me Do One More, makes things abundantly clear: She has the stage, and she has no intention of getting off until somebody kicks her off. And Tudzin couldn’t have chosen a better moment to release these deranged and tender songs into the wild.
In 2018 Illuminati Hotties released their debut album, Kiss Yr Frenemies, an immaculate slice of punk-scented dream-pop. But it was their sophomore record, Free I.H: This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For, that really created a buzz. The smart and sardonic record grew out of a label fiasco. Contractually obliged to release one more record before they could leave their previous label, which had been inundated with allegations of financial mismanagement, Illuminati Hotties’ vocalist/songwriter Sarah Tudzin shelved her current project and started on something new. Free I.H—adorned with triumphant flippancy and entirely unsubtle jabs at parsimonious label execs—was the provocative result. Though riotous and very funny, the album, by the band’s titular admission, wasn’t quite the one we’d been waiting for.
Colorado Springs Independent
Some artists like Illuminati Hotties and Wet Leg still value keeping comedy and absurdity in the forefront of musical statements. It’s particularly challenging for Sarah Tudzin, recording as Illuminati Hotties, whose mother died during the composing of her latest album Let Me Do One More (Snack Shack Tracks/Hopeless Records). Tudzin,...
With poignant writing and irreverent humor, Sarah Tudzin’s second album as Illuminati Hotties plays like a demonstration in the art of persistence. Sarah Tudzin opens her fantastic second album by ribbing herself mercilessly for underperforming. “In every life there is a bell,” the Illuminati Hotties wiz sings in “Pool Hopping,” the opening track of Let Me Do One More. “One rounded curve of time or tell/I’m on the left half looking over.” Soon enough, she hints at what’s got her feeling so insecure: She’s mid-breakup, just at the point where everything is up in the air. But the way Tudzin tells it, she’s ready to let the melancholy roll off her back, romping through a night of clandestine hookups, ice cream dates, and hotel pools. In other words, her life finally feels like her own again.
The third album from Illuminati Hotties finds the band (essentially comprised of songwriter Sarah Tudzin) returning to the glory of their nearly flawless debut album, Kiss Yr Frenemies. While 2020's FREE I.H: This Is Not The One You've Been Waiting For was a noble venture, it simply didn't rise to the great heights of Tudzin's debut effort — its status even debatable for inclusion in the band's catalog, according to Spotify at least. In Let Me Do One More, we see a varied roller coaster of emotions that truly balance out the album and see it rising above simple pop rock. The Beach Bunny-esque singalong choruses and earworms of the opening track "Pool Hopping" and the classic punk sounds of "Joni: LA's No. 1 Health Goth" paired with the final track "Growth" showcase the amazing versatility Tudzin has on tap. An accomplished producer, she's able to perfectly capture the sounds the band needs for every moment. Even reading the track titles above, her tongue-in-cheek humor is perfectly clear, oxymoronically coexisting with passionate and heartfelt cuts that paint a full picture of an artist at the top of her game. — Nick Warren.
The most revealing and affecting track on illuminati hotties’ new album arrives, unsurprisingly, at the very end. Sarah Tudzin, the studio wizard and mastermind behind the project, has always had knack for sneaking in moments of hushed brilliance in between bursts of irreverent energy and humor, but rather than serving simply as a showcase of her dynamic capabilities, a contrast to everything that came before, the stripped-back ‘Growth’ feels like an acknowledgment of the heaviness that underlies even illuminati hotties’ most driving, hyperactive songs. “I guess being an adult is just being alone,” she sings in a half-whisper, forgetting about her guitar for a moment, the way only the truest revelations come. “I’ll go back to the couch/ Let you stare at your phone/ We’ll pretend this is normal/ We’ll pretend this is growth.” The final guitar notes invoke a familiar lullaby before her voice recontextualizes the album’s title to suggest an uneasy kind of excitement: Let Me Do One More.
Looking for some motivation to help power you through the start of another work week? We feel you, and with some stellar new pop tunes, we’ve got you covered. These 10 tracks from artists like TWICE, Tirzah, Allen Stone and Illuminati Hotties will get you energized to take on the week. Pop any of these gems into your personal playlists -- or scroll to the end of the post for a custom playlist of all 10.
Sarah Tudzin, aka illuminati hotties, has a unique way of stretching pop dynamics like silly putty, shaping them into her own self-coined “tenderpunk” vernacular. A former student of the Berklee College of Music and already a seasoned engineer in her mid-20s, her own pet project was initially meant as a reference point for clientele who wished to make good use of her unique set of skills.
Did it start off with so much promise and then crumble apart like dried-out dog shit? Was it filled with long stretches of disappointment, punctured only by some of the greatest moments of your never-ending, short, dumb life? Cool. Illuminati Hotties has just the record for you. Illuminati Hotties is...
With so much good music being released all the time, it can be hard to determine what to listen to first. Every week, Pitchfork offers a run-down of significant new releases available on streaming services. This week’s batch includes new albums from Tirzah, Illuminati Hotties, Meek Mill, Black Dice, Wiki, and Hovvdy. Subscribe to Pitchfork’s New Music Friday newsletter to get our recommendations in your inbox every week. (All releases featured here are independently selected by our editors. When you buy something through our affiliate links, however, Pitchfork earns an affiliate commission.)
Consequence of Sound
Sounding joyously youthful without seeming ridiculously immature is a balancing act not every artist can pull off, especially when they’re edging up on the age of 30. But Sarah Tudzin is clearly not your typical pop punk. Tudzin is the producer, songwriter, and instrumentalist behind Illuminati Hotties, who likes to call her revved-up blend of punk, indie rock, and smart pop “tenderpunk.” She’s also made an engaging and sometimes glorious album that fuses teenage bliss with a grown-up’s hard-won wisdom on 2021’s Let Me Do One More. If it hadn’t come out in the depths of Autumn, the opening track, “Pool Hopping,” would have a fair chance of becoming the song of the summer with its abundant hooks, snappy guitars, crisp harmonies, and edgy push and…
The search for the ever-elusive "bop" is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?. Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn't...