It’d be a shame to let Waxahatchee’s latest album “Out in the Storm” pass you by.
Alabama indie rock wunderkind Katie Crutchfield is in her prime, a seasoned musician at 28, and she’s about to release her fourth album as Waxahatchee, her current excellent outfit named after a creek in her home state.
“Out in the Storm” is the first record the Philly-based Crutchfield (who writes every word and chord of her music) has recorded in a studio with a pro producer, John Agnello. The experience proved to be rewarding for a musician used to being in control.
“The collaborative process with someone I didn’t know personally well was really fulfilling,” Crutchfield told the Daily News. “Just getting in the room with another creative person that I didn’t have iron-clad social dynamics with right off the bat really proved to work well for me.”
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It’s easy to tell the partnership paid off — “Out in the Storm,” officially out Friday but available to stream early here, is Waxahatchee’s tightest record yet, with a fully fleshed-out sound that almost makes you feel like you’re in the room with the band.
Perhaps it’s because Agnello insisted the band play everything live in the studio, which at first freaked Crutchfield out.
“I was like no, we didn’t rehearse for this,” she said. “(But) we realized we’ve been doing this over and over together for months and we sounded great … a lot of the songs are the live band set up in a room. I think that makes a huge difference, the energy of that is really palpable on the record.”
Though the album’s lyrics are tethered to a breakup and are consistent with Crutchfield’s signature brand of raw, vulnerable honesty, neither the songwriting nor the recording process was too difficult for her this time around.
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“It came out with a lot of ease, I had a lot of melodies in the bank and the lyrics came out,” she said. “I knew what I wanted to write about.”
On Saturday, Waxahatchee will play the new songs in front of a New York crowd for the first time at Warsaw in Brooklyn. It’s no accident Crutchfield will play the second show of the tour in the first town she called home after leaving Birmingham.
“New York is such a perfect, special place to play music,” she said. “The most enthusiastic audiences are here.”
Backing her up on keyboards and percussion is her twin sister, Allison, who makes up the other half of the girls’ early cult pop punk group P.S. Eliot. Allison also has her own band that will open for the Europe dates on tour.
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Crutchfield admitted she prefers touring with her sister to touring without her.
“We’re best friends, we live together. We’re borderline codependent,” she said. “We fight and stuff because we’re sisters, but it definitely makes me feel more comfortable, more at ease for us to be on tour together than for me to be on tour and for her not to be there.”
A tour Crutchfield was set to take part in without Allison actually ended before it started in the early months of Trump’s presidency. Lena Dunham invited her to join a group of nine other talented women in six cities for a slew of dates that would raise money for young women’s arts education. Word of Crutchfield working with Dunham, just a bit of a lightning rod, did not sit well with some fans, and she issued a statement explaining her choice to partake (the cause and the other collaborators) before the tour was scrapped (Dunham canceled after a surgery for endometriosis).
“I see the criticism (of Lena) but I also think that she does a lot of good,” Crutchfield said. “I think a lot of people … they don’t always think critically and don’t always see people as human beings. My motives for doing it really had nothing to do with Lena.”
Crutchfield said raising money for causes by using her skills is the best way she knows how to fight Trump.
“My main way of participating in resistance efforts, you know, sorta post-Trump, is to … lend (my) skill set to try to earn money for those causes,” she said. “Really why I chose to do (the Lenny tour) is it’s a level of fund-raising I haven’t been able to contribute.”
Crutchfield could do just as well to keep making her music and being herself. She has two female-centric groups opening for her in Brooklyn on Saturday, and the rest of the tour across North America and Europe. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Trump supporter in the room.
Tickets for Waxahatchee’s Warsaw show are available here.
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