New Sounds: Speedy Ortiz bid farewell to guitarist Devin McKnight with unveiling of ‘Screen Gem’


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Speedy Ortiz have released a new-to-us song to commemorate the departure of longtime guitarist Devin McKnight. Recovered from a 2015 recording session, “Screen Gem” is the latest in a series of outtakes and b-sides the Massachusetts guitar-rock band has unveiled since that year’s release of sophomore album Foil Deer.

“Screen Gem” is a fuzzed-out and fidgety rock ballad that marks the band’s last unreleased track to feature McKnight on guitar. And while McKnight’s departure marks a turning point for the group, Speedy Ortiz songwriter and guitarist/vocalist Sadie Dupuis used to it to take a moment and acknowledge his involvement and impact.

“If you’ve been lucky enough to play in a band with Devin McKnight, you know you’re a better musician for it,” Dupuis writes in a statement posted online. “And since I’ve spent so much of my songwriting life actively attempting to rip off Devin’s guitar playing (sorry Dev), I feel very lucky for the years we got to have him in Speedy Ortiz. Sadly for us those years have come to an end.”

Dupuis went on to mention that, at McKnight’s request, all proceeds from “Screen Gem” will go to CLOSERikers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the criminal justice system in New York City by closing Rikers Island prison. McKnight is leaving Speedy Ortiz to focus on fronting a new project called Maneka.

Listen to “Screen Gem” and read Dupuis’ full statement below.

Featured Speedy Ortiz photo by Shervin Lainez.