Posts Tagged ‘Waxahatchee’

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.

It isn’t like Katie Crutchfield to slow down. For the past 15 years, the 31-year-old artist has been a member of four different bands, starting with the Ackleys when she was still in high school. The moment one project ended, Crutchfield always seemed hard at work beginning a new one, churning out an endless quality of music with bands like Bad Banana, P.S. Eliot, and Great Thunder.

In 2017, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfeld quite literally blew the music world away. Her record Out in the Storm, one of the best albums of that year, displayed a whole new side of the singer. Gone were the fortified bedroom pop of 2015’s Ivy Tripp, the rock-tinged freak-folk musings of her 2013 stunner Cerulean Salt and the brainy lo-fi recordings of her 2012 debut American Weekend. Out in the Storm sounds like its title suggests: loud, windy, chaotic and emotionally intense—a tried-and-true breakup album and a throwback to Crutchfield’s punk roots. While she was already beloved among indie circles, that release took her to the next level—new fans, considerable press buzz, a massive tour starring her and her twin sister Allison.

But 2018 was different. Crutchfield had spent years trying to quit drinking, but after a raucous European tour with Waxahatchee, she decided to commit to the decision. “I was telling everyone around me, ‘I’m just gonna take a break,’” she says “Then in my head, I was like, ‘I am done.’”. “For a while, I completely didn’t recognize myself,” she continues. “When you’re in kind of a bad way on tour, there’s just nothing worse than going on stage.”

The decision was part of a larger plan to slow down in general. Where she used to rush to process her feelings through songwriting, Crutchfield now found herself pausing to take care of herself first, to use therapy to work through her emotions before considering them as material for her songs.

 

Crutchfield’s fifth album as Waxahatchee, is the result of Crutchfield taking that time to breathe. It’s an album about seeking security in relationships, whether they’re romantic or platonic. Throughout, there’s a beautiful simplicity to Crutchfield’s writing. “When you see me, I’m honey on a spoon,” she sings on “Can’t Do Much,” a folky love song built on big, strummed guitar. There are also moments of self-doubt and weakness, the kind that cuts right to the big questions that hang over relationships like storm clouds. “We can try to let the stillness be,” she states cautiously on “The Eye,” “But if I spin off, will you rescue me?”

I feel like in the past I’ve been like, ‘You’re doing this and you’re doing that,’ like—pointing the finger,” Crutchfield says, jabbing the air. “At times, that’s been important and good for me to do. But with this record, I’m really pointing the finger at myself, and loving my people unconditionally.

In the past, the music Crutchfield made as Waxahatchee was defined by a kind of jagged quality—her soft vocals offsetting a crunchy, wall-of-sound indie rock (“chaotic and claustrophobic,” is how she describes her last full-length, Out in the Storm). But there’s a startling clarity on Saint Cloud, which traffics in a minimalist, Americana sound that makes Crutchfield’s voice sound naked in comparison to her previous work. “[My producer] Brad Cook was like, ‘We follow your voice,’” Crutchfield says. “He would help me build songs around the way that I was strumming, the way that I was singing. That was the first time a producer had done that. In the past people were either not paying attention or trying to shape it.”

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That clarity is also the sound of Crutchfield settling into a genre she admits, to some extent, she’s been fighting her whole career: country music. Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, Crutchfield was raised on artists like Emmylou Harris and Loretta Lynn, and she emulated them as a child. But when she discovered punk as a teenager, she rejected country in a fit of textbook rebellion.

“I began to fight with those tendencies, and I think that resulted in some really cool music on my early records—fighting with my more traditional sounding voice or saccharine melodies,” she says. “But I’m kind of reaching this point where I’m like, no, this is a really big part of who I am. And it’s always been a part of the way I tell stories and the people who influenced my storytelling. It’s almost like this weird self-acceptance.” The way Dolly Parton wrote about frustrating relationships—what Crutchfield calls her “fun, jaunty” approach to them—influenced the song “Hell.” Borrowing some of Parton’s over-the-top intensity from songs like “Jolene,” Crutchfield sings: “I hover above like a deity, but you don’t worship me.” “I wanted to write a song that’s a little bit psycho,” Crutchfield says. “Everybody feels that way sometimes.”

Nostalgia for the music she grew up with soon became a kind of general nostalgia for the South. A Philadelphia resident for nearly eight years, Crutchfield decided she was going to move back to Alabama and buy a house. “Then I got to Birmingham and realized there were a million reasons why I left,” she says. She ended up settling in Kansas City after spending long stretches of time there with resident and boyfriend Kevin Morby. “I live such a relaxed life right now,” she says. “We have a sauna at our house,” she says, laughing.

Talking about Saint Cloud, it’s clear Crutchfield has completely retooled her relationship with music and touring. “In the past I’ve been a pusher, just kind of rushing and compromising a lot just to get it done,” she says. “I forced myself to slow down.”

Every time you make a record, you have a vision, but it’s a bit of a crapshoot how it’s actually going to turn out,” she says. “You just get on the bus and hope it gets you to your destination. And I’ve never hit the bullseye more than I did with this.”

Saint Cloud, Crutchfield’s fifth album under the Waxahatchee alias out Friday, March 27th on Merge Records

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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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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.

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