Posts Tagged ‘Out in the Storm’

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Out in the Storm, Katie Crutchfield’s fourth album as Waxahatchee and the follow-up to her Merge debut Ivy Tripp, is the blazing result of a woman reawakened. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date, Out in the Storm is a self-reflective anchor in the story of both her song writing and her life. Katie Crutchfield’s southern roots are undeniable. The name of her solo musical project Waxahatchee comes from a creek not far from her childhood home in Alabama and seems to represent both where she came from and where she’s going.

The album was tracked at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia with John Agnello, a producer, recording engineer, and mixer known for working with some of the most iconic musicians of the last 25 years, including Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Agnello and Crutchfield worked together for most of December 2016, along with the band: sister Allison Crutchfield on keyboards and percussion, Katherine Simonetti on bass, and Ashley Arnwine on drums; Katie Harkin, touring guitarist with Sleater-Kinney, also contributed lead guitar.

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At Agnello’s suggestion, the group recorded most of the music live to enhance their unity in a way that gives the album a fuller sound compared to past releases, resulting in one of Waxahatchee’s most guitar-driven releases to date.

Katie Crutchfield: vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, additional percussion
Katie Harkin: vocals, guitars, keyboards, piano, additional percussion
Allison Crutchfield: keyboards, additional percussion
Ashley Arnwine: drums
Katherine Simonetti: bass
Joey Doubek: additional percussion

All songs written by Katie Crutchfield 

“Out In The Storm” – Released July 14, 2017

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 .

When Katie Crutchfield released her last record as Waxahatchee, 2015’s Ivy Tripp, she called the album a gas and her release before that, 2013’s Cerulean Salt, a solid. But her fourth full-length, Out in the Storm, may not symbolize a physical state of matter, but it reveals Crutchfield as a scientific element in her own right—explosive, volatile and uncontrollable. At moments where Crutchfield used to put herself down, like on Ivy Tripp’s “Less Than,” she now talks back, standing up for herself, even to herself. She allows herself to get angry or frustrated, such as on “Never Wrong,” the record’s purely rock ‘n’ roll opening track. And she indignantly removes herself from a noxious relationship and asserts her independence on tracks like “8 Ball” and “Brass Beam,” but later portrays the vulnerability and weakness that unavoidably merge with that withdrawal

After the release of 2015’s excellent Ivy Tripp, Katie Crutchfield, a.k.a. Waxahatchee, suggested her next album would revisit the quiet minimalism of her debut, American Weekend. What she produced instead was her loudest, angriest, and—most importantly—best album to date. Out In The Storm is a scathingly candid post-mortem of a bad relationship that isn’t the slog such a description might suggest. The album opens with the catchy, Superchunk-esque guitar rocker “Never Been Wrong” and keeps its hooks in for the nine following tracks. (Credit producer John Agnello for some of that, as his discography goes deep with some of the best guitar-rock bands of the past two decades.) This being Waxahatchee, Out In The Storm still offers plenty of quieter moments, like the slow burn of “Recite Remorse,” the acoustic “A Little More,” and somber album closer “Fade.” The album marks a high point for Crutchfield, who turned a soul-destroying time of her life into one of 2017’s best releases.

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Katie Crutchfield should be exhausted. Since 2012’s American Weekend LP, the debut record from Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee moniker, the musician has toured regularly and recorded three additional Waxahatchee records, most recently the forthcoming Out in the Storm (released on July 14th). Along with her twin sister, Allison, the Crutchfields have released some of the most emotionally honest, uncannily catchy pop music over the past handful of years. Included in the set is “Silver,” the debut single off Out in the Storm, The song, builds upon the Waxahatchee mold of songwriting, mixing Katie’s evocative, articulate lyrics, with a guitar muscle visible on 2015’s Ivy Tripp.

Katie Crutchfield said that Out in the Storm was recorded in the midst and aftermath of a break-up, though the record can not be considered a traditional break-up record. Crutchfield’s lyrics on “Silver” hint at this emotional backdrop (“I went out in the storm// I felt the house burning// the kiss on my lips starts to feel unfamiliar”) though her focus on the track seems more rooted in issues of self-discovery, as she sings “a part of me rots// my skin all turns silver.” Crutchfield may be newly transformed, but “Silver” retains the clarity and spirit which has characterized her best work.

Waxahatchee performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded July 24, 2017.

Songs: Recite Remorse Silver Hear You Never Been Wrong

Katie Crutchfield is nervous. It’s a few weeks before the release of her new album, “Out in the Storm”, and the 28-year-old singer-songwriter — known for her deeply personal, candid work — is only beginning to come to terms with the fact that she’ll soon be sharing with the world the most unflinching and detailed record she’s ever made. As she puts it in the lead track, “Never Been Wrong,” “Everyone will hear me complain/Everyone will pity my pain.”

Over the past decade or so Crutchfield has played in a variety of upstart DIY bands that blend folkie intimacy with cascading electric guitars, often sharing the stage with her twin sister, Allison. Out in the Storm is her fourth release as Waxahatchee, and her second for the indie mainstay Merge Records. She’s long been celebrated for the emotional directness of her songwriting, which places a magnifying glass on her own flawed tendencies and relatable shortcomings. But Crutchfield has never put out a record quite so raw as her latest, which chronicles the dissolution of her long-term relationship in painful detail.

“I can’t believe people are going to hear this,” says Crutchfield, calling from her home in Philadelphia. “Every day I wake up, as we get closer and closer to putting the record out, and I’m like, ‘This is the best thing I’ve done.’ And then the next day, I’m like, ‘I can’t put this record out.’ ”

Waxahatchee’s music organizes conflicting emotions into something resembling clear-minded self-awareness. The first Waxahatchee album, 2012’s American Weekend, was a stark collection of acoustic songs that Crutchfield recorded in her family’s home in Alabama. “I don’t care if I’m too young to be unhappy,” she sang on “Grass Stain,” after promising to drink her way to happiness. She explored the self-destructive tendencies of twentysomethings stuck in slow-motion memories, establishing herself as indie rock’s sharpest self-scrutinizer in the process.

The pain of Out in the Storm feels as fresh as a newly skinned knee, but it took some time for Crutchfield to write songs she felt comfortable sharing with others. “I really tried to not write when I was in the middle of all this craziness at the end of that relationship, because when I did try to write while stuff was still going on, I was in such a state. I hadn’t fully processed a lot of things,” she says. The first songs Crutchfield came up with sounded like they were written by an “angsty fifteen-year-old girl.” They were “too earnest,” she says, “to the point where I felt uncomfortable putting them out in the world.”

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In fact, there are still moments on the finished album (“Brass Beam,” parts of “No Question”) that give Crutchfield concern “It’s just like, oof, there it is,” she says. That unadulterated openness is what resonates profoundly with an internet-raised generation eager to admit to “feeling all the feels,” and a growing fanbase that includes admirers like Sleater-Kinney, Lena Dunham, and Kurt Vile.

For Out in the Storm, her first full-length recorded with an outsider producer, Crutchfield reached out to John Agnello, who’s worked with artists like Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. “There’s a real backstory to these lyrics, and that might be why this record has such an edge to it,” says Agnello. “Katie was really motivated to go in a certain direction, and the talent and energy from her and her band was just incredible.”.

“All the things I learned from the American Weekend era have been thoroughly applied to my life now,” she says. “This record’s more about gracefully ending a relationship.” On “Sparks Fly,” Crutchfield needs only three words to sum up both the premise and the promise of her new LP: “A disaster, dignified.”

Releases July 14th, 2017

Katie Crutchfield: vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, additional percussion
Katie Harkin: vocals, guitars, keyboards, piano, additional percussion
Allison Crutchfield: keyboards, additional percussion
Ashley Arnwine: drums
Katherine Simonetti: bass
Joey Doubek: additional percussion

All songs written by Katie Crutchfield