On October 1st, L.A.-based indie rock band illuminati hotties released their sophomore project, Let Me Do One More. Fronted and masterminded by Sarah Tudzin, illuminati hotties first leapt onto the scene in 2017, dropping their debut album, Kiss Yr Frenemies, in 2018. Prior to starting the band, Tudzin was primarily an audio engineer, with credits that would make your indiehead spin. She was the primary engineer for Porches 2016 album Pool, a mixing assistant for Slowdive’s 2017 self-titled album, an additional engineer for Weyes Blood’s 2019 masterpiece Titanic Rising, and, most recently, the producer/mixer/engineer for Pom Pom Squad’s Death of a Cheerleader. That’s not the primary focus of this review, but it had to be said so that there was some context to just how amazing Sarah Tudzin is.

Throughout the course of Let Me Do One More, Tudzin and illuminati hotties create indie rock anthems (“Pool Hopping” and “Cheap Shoes” are primary examples of this) to go along with heart-wrenching ballads (“Growth”), energetic punk tracks (“MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA” and “Joni: LA’s No. 1 Health Goth”), and indie rock anthems with spoken word from Buck Meek over slide guitar that calls outlaw country to mind (“u v v p”). This makes it sound like the album has no cohesion, but Tudzin’s production carries the day and makes the songs sound cohesive in their discontinuity. Everything on this album contains phenomenal production, gorgeous guitar work, and venerable vocal work. Does that use of venerable make sense? Does it matter?

As effortless as every song on Let Me Do One More sounds, the album did not come from a place of ease. Rather, it came from a long and arduous battle with illuminati hotties’ former label. When the label wasn’t able to provide the necessary infrastructure to work on the album, Tudzin felt the momentum for the project come to a halt, and “It felt painful to pick up a guitar, to write, to record any loose ends that needed to happen to wrap up the album.” Following the release of FREE I.H., the mixtape that filled the interim and allowed Tudzin to express her raw feelings about the situation, the band was able to cut ties with the label, and that brought the momentum back. Tudzin began working on the songs that would eventually become Let Me Do One More, and the world is better off for it.

The title itself is an important part of the album. To quote the amazing Hanif Abdurraqib (who has written so many phenomenal works about music which you can check out here and here): “The outdoors are treacherous and in many ways untenable at the time of writing this, though I am trying for optimism. I love this album beyond its title, but I love its title for what it awakened in me. The memory of a different time, when touch was not at a premium. A time that might be slightly obsolete by the season you spin this record in. A time when I’d hear Let Me Do One More as a small and affectionate ode: let’s stay together a while. Let’s share something else. I’m not done yet.” Tudzin has even said that the album is about “asking the audience to let me do one more,” calling to mind the vulnerable situation artists put themselves in when taking the stage or releasing their art into the world. The idea that nothing is ever fully finished is rampant across the record, but particularly in the title.

There is so much to say about Let Me Do One More, but I think the best words do come from Hanif Abdurraqib. He focuses not only on the idea that nothing is ever fully finished as an artist, but also the importance of titles and the power of Sarah Tudzin as “a writer who takes their craft seriously, but refuses to take themselves seriously.” I can’t hope to compare to him at this stage in my career, but the joy I feel writing this review is the joy that is present (among other emotions) on this album. Songs like “Cheap Shoes” take me back to a time that I was alive for but never present for – that is to say, it reminds me of Warped Tour – and songs like “Protector” and “Growth” push me to the edges of emotional vulnerability as a listener like few other songs have recently.

All of this is to say: listen to the album (link below). While you do, read Tudzin’s lyrics and Abdurraqib’s works (one day I hope to be able to refer to him in the first person). Acknowledge the power of art and the permalife that art has once it is placed in the world. illuminati hotties are here to stay, and Let Me Do One More seems like less of a question (hey, can I do one more?) and more of a self-assured statement (I’m running out of time, but let me do one more). Sarah Tudzin knows we want to hear it.

Andrew Gardner Administrator
Obsessed with all things music. Currently finishing an MFA in Chicago. If you see me at a show, say hey!
Andrew Gardner Administrator
Obsessed with all things music. Currently finishing an MFA in Chicago. If you see me at a show, say hey!

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