Katie Crutchfield’s fourth album as Waxahatchee, Out in the Storm, is out now. It’s a gorgeous piece of work featuring her sister Allison, Katie Harkin (Sleater-Kinney, Flock of Dimes) and Dinosaur Jr./Sonic Youth producer John Agnello.
“A running theme on the album is accepting your own imperfections that you’ve been trying really hard to hide,” Crutchfield says in a release. “Being straightforward has always been more natural for me, and it was incredibly cathartic. It reminded me of being a teenager again, how I wrote songs then, and how huge that felt. It’s like that moment you walk away from a fight and you realize all of the things you should have said. This record is me saying all of that out loud alone as a personal practice. It’s sad and it’s angry, and I think being both at the same time proved to be a powerful motivation for me.”
That straightforwardness runs throughout the record, from opener “Never Been Wrong” (“I spent all my time learning how to defeat/You at your own game, it’s embarrassing”) to the delicate, almost ethereal “Recite Remorse” (“I always gravitate towards/Those who are unimpressed) to the quietly triumphant “Fade” (“You interrupt, you yell in my face/But you finally hear me say/That I’ll walk, I’m walking away”).
Crutchfield gave us a glimpse into the music that shaped her, and her new record, below:
Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Lucinda was always somebody that people would try to push on me. Sometimes when people do that, I feel like I automatically shut down. But I finally sat down with this record — I guess at this point, like two or three years ago. And it just really, really deeply affected me. It’s like country, but it’s also pop and her lyrics are just brilliant, and the melodies are so simple and so good. Her voice is one of the most recognizable, distinct voices.
I grew up in Alabama and country music has always been really important to me and felt very much deeply etched in the base layer of my soul. Someone like Lucinda, I think, also translates to alternative and speaks to a lot of different kinds of people — not just country music people. I felt very much like it was made for me or something. I really connected with it.
It’s funny, because at this point, I’ve covered three songs on this record. The one that I would like to underline that was deeply influential on my new record is the song ‘Greenville.’ It’s basically just about being brutally honest about a relationship that’s over, like sort of highlighting all of the things about it that in a very no-filter kind of way were problematic.
The Velvet Underground and Nico, The Velvet Underground and Nico
My sister and I were first getting into underground music in general when we were young teens and starting to play music. We stumbled across that record because I think a band that we liked talked about the Velvet Underground — and we were also deeply into Andy Warhol and The Factory.
I think that we just really connected with it because of the melodies and simplicity of it. We were playing music at the time that was super stripped-down. It was just drums and guitars, and we were sort of learning. There was something about that minimalism that just really spoke to us. We would try to cover those songs a lot.
Guided by Voices, Alien Lanes
One reason why I love talking about other music in interviews is because when I was younger, I would love to read interviews by my favorite bands. That’s how I discovered a lot of music. Bands that I loved talking about other bands. It was probably the Strokes talking about Guided by Voices.
I found a CD by Guided by Voices [at a record store in town] and that became a huge one for us — and specifically that album. The way it’s recorded, obviously, was really influential, too.
We went through this phase of loving ’60s British Invasion music. We would cover The Kinks and bands like that a lot. Having this band that’s rough around the edges in the ’90s — that still had those kinds of melodies and those types of vocals — that was just huge for us. Because we also loved punk, and loved heavier and weirder music, too.
Joni Mitchell, Blue
That record is one of the greatest records of all time. I think the reason that I put it down is because of the lyrics. The way that she writes is just … it’s really, really influenced the way that I approach writing lyrics. It’s so raw and emotional and autobiographical, and just cloaked in all of this experience. It’s very rich and beautiful.
Bill Fox, Shelter from the Smoke
His story is so interesting. He has gone through the motions of the music industry — almost broke through and then didn’t. And then didn’t want to. He just has a really incredible story and he’s so talented, and has been such a huge influence on so many important songwriters, I think. He’s just very elusive and I think that record is just through and through such a beautiful folk album. I go back to it all the time. It’s definitely an album that I put on to calm me down.