Posts Tagged ‘Katie Crutchfield’

Bedouine, Waxahatchee, Hurray for the Riff

It feels like ages ago that Bedouine, Waxahatchee and Hurray for the Riff Raff toured together on a sort of indie triple bill (it was actually 2018). While the three acts make dramatically different music, they complemented each other well on this tour and share some influences as well — as evidenced by this belated cover of Big Star’s classic “Thirteen” (which is often more readily recognized by its opening lyric, “Can I walk you home from school?”) that found its origins during the tour, when Bedouine , Waxahatchee Katie Crutchfield and Riff Raff singer Alynda Segarra would sing it together onstage.

Big Star, of course, is arguably the greatest power-pop group of all time. Led by singer-songwriter Alex Chilton, they released just three albums in the early ‘70s, which were barely noticed at the time but their legend grew over the years — they were covered and feted by the Replacements, the Bangles, R.E.M., Teenage Fanclub and many more — until the group reformed in 1993.

Bedouine explains how their cover came together. “This all started in 2018 when I opened a three-bill tour for co-headliners Waxahatchee and Hurray for the Riff Raff,” she wrote. “We threw the idea around of doing a song together but weren’t sure what. I was backstage in Columbia, Missouri, when I realized it was the anniversary of Big Star’s ‘93 reunion show that had also taken place in Columbia.

I was fiddling around with the song in my dressing room when Katie and Alynda walked in. Suddenly I remembered there were 3 verses to split up. We played it as an homage that night and every night after. After the tour wrapped up, I think it was Kevin Morby that insisted we track and share it. Down the road, Katie wrote me that she would be in LA so I tracked the guitar and she came by to visit and put down her part. Down the road some more Alynda put down her part from New Orleans and sent it over the ether. Now we finally get to share it.

Kevin Morby Sundowner

Kevin Morby has announced his new album “Sundowner” with a video for a new song called “Campfire.” The album is due out October 16th via Dead Oceans Records. Check out the video for “Campfire,” which features Morby’s partner Katie Crutchfield (aka Waxahatchee), below.

Morby began working on Sundowner at home, using mostly a four-track Tascam 424 recorder. He then headed to Texas’ Sonic Ranch to record the album with producer Brad Cook. “I wrote the entire album wearing headphones, hunched over the 424, letting my voice and guitar pass through the machine, getting lost in the warmth of the tape as if another version of myself was living on the inside, singing back at me,” Morby said in a statement. “I was mesmerized by the magic of the four track not only as a recording device, but also an instrument, and considered it my song writing partner throughout the whole process.”

“In the winter of 2017 I moved back to my hometown of Kansas City from Los Angeles. The move was sudden and unforeseen, just as I was tying a bow on the writing process for what would become my 2019 album, Oh My God. I bought a Four Track Tascam model 424 off of an old friend to help me get to the finish line, but much to my surprise and excitement, this new piece of equipment in my all-but-bare home didn’t help complete one album but rather inspire another: Sundowner. The new collection of songs came quickly and effortlessly as I did my best not to resist or refine the songs, but instead let them take shape all on their own.”

Along with the album, Kevin Morby has announced a “virtual tour” on the Noon Chorus platform. Starting on September 10th, Morby will perform one album from his discography every Thursday, working in chronological order until he gets to an October 15th performance of Sundowner. Morby was set to tour the United States this spring in support of his 2019 LP Oh My God before the coronavirus pandemic effectively shut down the touring industry.

“Campfire” by Kevin Morby off ‘Sundowner’, out October 16 on Dead Oceans Records.

Burnished by nostalgia, “Can’t Do Much” beams an easy warmth, and it’s the easygoing brand-new single from Waxahatchee. The track is taken from her upcoming album “Saint Cloud”, Katie Crutchfield’s  due out on March 27th, you can pre-order coke-bottle-clear-vinyl, black-vinyl and CD versions of it from Merge Records

WAXAHATCHEE (aka Katie Crutchfield) is gearing up to release her highly anticipated new album Saint Cloud, album out March 27th worldwide. Critics are already hailing Saint Cloud as a career-defining album with Crutchfield’s songwriting front and center.

Previously released songs like “Fire” and “Lilacs” have set the stage for what fans can expect from this release, and this week, Crutchfield has released another track and video for, “Can’t Do Much,” which she says is the first song she wrote for the album. Waxahatchee tells us, “It’s meant to be an extremely unsentimental love song, a love song with a strong dose of reality.”

From the album Saint Cloud, out March 27th on Merge Records

Waxahatchee shares

Waxahatchee (aka Katie Crutchfield) has shared “Lilacs,” the latest single and video from her highly anticipated new album Saint Cloud, out March 27th worldwide. “Lilacs” received a Best New Track nod from Pitchfork who also announced Waxahatchee as part of their 2020 Pitchfork Festival line-up.

Of the song, Crutchfield says:

“Lilacs” was the last song I wrote for the record, and it’s mostly just about obsessive/negative thought patterns. It’s about backsliding into old behaviors that don’t serve you and sort of letting your worst self get the best of you. I think that when people are in that mindset, they can really try to turn the blame onto other people, so the song sort of plays out like a conflict you’d have with someone you love. It’s meant to capture that moment of heat that happens right when you realize you’re wrong or that your issue is more with yourself than with someone else—being flawed and fragile, but making progress inch by inch. The chorus serves as a sweet little resolve. I wanted it to feel like the light at the end of the tunnel and the reminder that it can always and often does get better.

Watch the previous glowing video for “Fire” which stars Katie and was co-directed by her and Andreina Byrne.

Saint Cloud is available for order on CD, standard LP in a single jacket, and coke bottle-clear Peak Vinyl housed in a gatefold jacket (both vinyl editions include a large full-color poster) in the Merge Records store,

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Not with a fizzle, but with a bang. Lyricist of Waxahatchee, Katie Crutchfield has taken this notion to heart with latest emotionally blazing track Fire. It is our first taste of her newest and fifth full-length album “Saint Cloud”, which will be released on the 27th of March via Merge Records.

Crutchfield’s inspiration is derived from her experiences and journey through life. This ties in well with the band’s name which was inspired by the Waxahatchee Creek, Crutchfield’s hometown in Alabama. Latest track ‘Fire’ captures the sun setting on the Mississippi River while Crutchfield drove from Memphis into West Memphis, AR.

The indie-folk track is a revisitation to stripped-back simplicity. Crutchfield perfectly describes it as a “personal pep talk”, as the album was written quickly following her choice to become sober. The vocals remain central throughout, with only a feather-light touching of keys, tapping drums and a shining strumming guitar. Crutchfield always has a knack for painting a picture with words, and her flair adds a sublime and luminous quality to the track. With lyrics such as “If I could love you unconditionally/ I could iron out the edges of the darkest sky”, and “It’s not as if we cry a river, call it rain/ West Memphis is on fire in the light of day.” Musically it’s a return to her roots such as her EP Great Thunder released in late 2018, and leaves any excessive instrumentals at the door.

From the album “Saint Cloud”, out March 27th on Merge Records

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With 2017’s Out In The Storm, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield topped herself yet again with a roaring collection of songs worthy of one of the best projects to come out of the last decade. She revisited some older songs for 2018’s lovely Great Thunder EP, and in March, Waxahatchee will release her fifth full-length album.

It’s called Saint Cloud, and Crutchfield wrote the songs after committing to getting sober. Naturally, Saint Cloud is a potent examination of the behavior that springs from addiction and what it can feel like to be truly in tune with yourself. Crutchfield recorded Saint Cloud at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX, and Long Pond in Stuyvesant, NY, and it was produced by Brad Cook .

Its lead single, “Fire,” is about straddling between borders — physically, the border between Tennessee and Arkansas (as Crutchfield explains below) but also emotionally. It’s groovy and intricately layered and warm, unlike anything Crutchfield has put out with this project before. “If I could love you unconditionally, I– / Could iron out the edges of the darkest sky,” she sings. “For some of us, it ain’t enough.”

Crutchfield returns to that physical border in the video for “Fire.” Here’s her statement about the song:

The idea and melody for ‘Fire’ was dreamt up while driving over the Mississippi River from Memphis into West Memphis, AR, sun reflecting off the water which literally made West Memphis glow. The song’s written by me, to myself. It’s about the internal dialogue of shame surrounding mistakes you’ve made in the past and how we spiral and beat ourselves up when we slip. It’s meant to be a bit of a personal pep talk. If I can love myself unconditionally, then I can move through the world a little easier. If I can accept that I only have a partial view of the universe, and that I can’t know everything or control much of anything, then I can breathe a little easier, take better care of myself, and be closer to my own truth.

Katie Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee project has varied in style since her first album under the handle, 2012’s American Weekend. On that record and her sophomore effort, Cerulean Salt, she leaned wholly into a soft, acoustic bent, focusing on lyrics rather than guitar hoopla and production. Then, she changed direction again on last year’s Out in the Storm, a punk-fueled indie-rock machine. But she toured Out in the Storm as if it were her older, softer material, and her live show proved to be a haunting and intimate affair because of that. For her most recent North American leg, Crutchfield toured with two artists who also released excellent debut full-lengths this year, Anna St. Louis and Night Shop. They each performed an opening set, then St. Louis and Night Shop’s Justin Sullivan stepped in to play bass and drums, respectively, serving as Crutchfield’s backing band.

It was a very cool display of musical collaboration and something that doesn’t happen too often on an indie stalwart’s headlining tour. The three artists played some of the louder tunes from Out in the Storm, like “8 Ball” and rocking album opener “Never Been Wrong.” But Crutchfield finished out the show alone, seated at the piano with sheet music laid out before her, or at the mic with a guitar, playing acoustic versions of Out in the Storm tracks or true-to-recording renditions of songs from her excellent 2018 EP Great Thunder, which features songs she wrote while fronting an experimental-folk project of the same name.

From the album Out in the Storm, out now on Merge Records.

Waxahatchee “Out In The Storm” is a rock record wrought in, wrapped up and cathartically released by a relationship that fell apart. In an album that leans on the heavily riffed indie-rock of the ’90s, “Never Been Wrong” is the headbanger, with fists clenched tight and hearts wide. But it’s just like Katie Crutchfield, in the throes of crushing pain, to drop the song out and take a moment — to underscore the moment.

“And everyone,” she harmonizes a cappella, “will hear me complain / And everyone will pity my pain” — as we yell and whisper along.

Out In The Storm comes out July 14th on Merge Records .

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On September 7th, Katie Crutchfield’s ever-shifting musical project Waxahatchee returns with the Great Thunder EP. Featuring a collection of songs written with now-dormant experimental recording group Great Thunder while Crutchfield was also writing the Waxahatchee albums Cerulean Salt and Ivy Tripp, the original recordings have mostly faded into obscurity. Unearthing and reimagining them with producer Brad Cook at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Wisconsin was a cathartic experience, she says.

Crutchfield shares Great Thunder’s release details as well as a music video for the solemn “Chapel of Pines,” directed by Christopher Good and starring Crutchfield and Kevin Morby. Watch and share, then pre-order Great Thunder on CD, 12-inch EP, and limited-edition opaque yellow Peak Vinyl in the Merge Records store .

On the heels of last year’s critically acclaimed Out in the Storm, Crutchfield found herself looking to take a sharp turn away from the more rock-oriented influences of her recent records towards her more folk and country roots. “I would say that it is a complete 180 from the last record: super stripped-down, quiet, and with me performing solo, it’s a throwback to how I started,” writes Crutchfield. “Overall, the EP is a warm, kind of vibey recording.”

Crutchfield will take Waxahatchee out on the road solo for the remainder of the year, first at headlining shows in September before linking up with Courtney Barnett through October.

Waxahatchee, 'Out in the Storm'

In the years I’ve been a watcher and a huge Katie Crutchfield fan, I always thought there was something intrinsically melancholy about her indie-pop tunes, but damn, the joy in this music, not a moment of it forced, the way “I went out in the storm and I’m never turning back” dissolves into falsetto oooos and delirious guitar frills. From “Silver” to “8-Ball,” her melodic finesse glistens like never before. (If you play this album back to back with Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage, you really hear how much Lindsey Buckingham has seeped into her guitar, and Lindsey never did anyone’s guitar anything but good.) The clincher: “Sparks Fly,” with a vocal assist from her twin sister Alison Crutchfield, whose Tourist in This Town album is on the same level and another must listen.

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American Weekend, was the 2012 debut album from Katie Crutchfield’s solo Waxahatchee project. Despite being the most rudimentary of her four LP-strong discography, American Weekend is the one I find myself returning to, especially when I feel lonely – not because it offers comfort, but because it offers solidarity, which I suppose is comfort of a different sort. It’s a particularly helpful album to listen to in January, because while it’s an appropriate conduit for the sentiments commonly felt throughout the month, its summery feel is also a distraction from the physical realities of shit weather and central heating. Despite its outdoorsy warmth, however,American Weekend is intimate too.

Take the record’s opener “Catfish”: the recording is fuzzy, the guitar-playing is delicate, the vocal almost a whisper, the poetry of the lyrics recited as if it were the only time they’d ever been said aloud. The song functions as a series of snapshots, of moments captured, brought together abstractly. It remembers better times – closeness, conversation, “Getting high in Portland, Oregon” – and it sets the tone for the entire album. The final two lines on “Catfish” are thus: “It’ll look just like heaven when I get up and leave / You’re a ghost and I can’t breathe.” American Weekend is a set of songs about transience, other people, and the way we process both. To use Crutchfield’s own phrasing: the past, and the figures in it, often resemble a type of heaven once we’ve left them behind.

The tracks on American Weekend often feel like they’re located in the time you spend reflecting on something once it’s happened, when it exists only in your memory. The record’s final track “Noccalula” forms a companion piece to “Catfish”, capturing the simple, painful truth of the passage of time in a rare, plain way: “You’ve got a husband now / I have Waxahatchee Creek / And you used to come here with me,” Crutchfield sings, an entire past contained in the longer breath she takes before the third line.

Crutchfield’s lyrics on American Weekend are as emotionally dense as they had been for P.S. Eliot, one of the bands she played in with her sister Allison before starting Waxahatchee. The dramatic scene Crutchfield paints on “Noccalula” – of a sole woman standing against the vastness of nature, left to herself by the players of her past – is one instance of her ability to cram so much impact into only a few words. Later on the song, she notes more abandonment (“Allison’s only calling me when her life’s falling apart,” she sings of her sister). Indeed, loneliness (and aloneness, because they’re not the same thing) feel like the default setting for American Weekend, making for an absorbing sonic environment. There is no way to listen to “Bathtub,” for example, without feeling like you too are naked and alone, exposed to sun streaming onto your body through a window cracked open 45 degrees, your skin slick with water and your own dirt.

And even the one track that reads as a sweet, present ode to companionship, “Be Good,” is crisp at its edges with sadness. On the surface, it’s a breezy disavowal of Anything Too Serious, all sunny chords, smitten late night phone calls: “You don’t wanna be my boyfriend / And I don’t wanna be your girl,” the lyrics attest. Maybe it’s just me and my own projections, but Crutchfield’s refusal of a real relationship, one outside of the non-committal “world” she and her subject have built for themselves, isn’t that persuasive, but it is one I know by heart. One section reveals her reservations:

Sometimes it’s simpler to allow a good thing to remain a good thing, crystallised in time, a perfect season to look back at – that’s what Crutchfield decides for the romance on “Be Good.” One phrase quoted above, however, stands out. “I’ll disappear.” For me it brings to mind the ways in which some relationships drain you, wringing out your essential self until you have managed to squeeze into a mould of what someone else wants. Katie Crutchfield can see it coming on “Be Good,” so she avoids it, choosing instead to retain herself, even if it means inhabiting loneliness from time to time.