Out in the Storm, Katie Crutchfield’s fourth album as Waxahatchee and her second release with Merge, 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 songwriting and her life. As Crutchfield prepared for the release of her Merge debut Ivy Tripp, she found herself depleted emotionally and professionally amidst the dissolution of a noxious relationship. “Ivy Tripp doesn’t really have any resolution. It’s a lot of beating around the bush, and superficially trying to see my life clearly, but just barely scratching the surface. Out in the Storm digs into what I was going through without blinking. It’s a very honest record about a time in which I was not honest with myself.”
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. 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.
The follow up to Cayetana’s debut LP Nervous Like Me, New Kind of Normal, retains the pop sensibility and candid songwriting of its predecessor yet exhibits a clear growth in sonic diversity; to be released May 5th, 2017. The Philadelphia indie rock three-piece – comprised of Augusta Koch, Allegra Anka and Kelly Olsen – has been exploring the delicate interplay of mental illness and wellness, since they began releasing music in 2014, but never so gracefully and poignantly as on New Kind of Normal. “The record is about mental health…struggling with that and settling into a new kind of normal where you can finally recognize your own your destructive behaviors and accept love into your life.”
Proving themselves masters of self-actualization, Cayetana has formed their own record label – Plum Records – to release their second LP. “We want to empower people and show them that they don’t have to wait for something to happen. They can do it themselves;” Cayetana refused to compromise and hope to help other artists to do the same in the future. The recording collaboration of Koch’s barnyard studio in the Poconos and Matt Schimelfenig at Philly’s Miner Street Studios resulted in a diverse output of expertly crafted, hooky pop songs like “Mesa” coupled with sparse, dark, and deeply emotional synth-laden tracks like “World.” Musically, the record captures the quiet moments of crushing vulnerability and the hardened highs of personal strength as expertly as Koch’s lyrical craft.
From the group’s inception Cayetana has exemplified the beauty and spirit of perseverance and DIY. They prove on New Kind of Normal that growth takes self-responsibility, accepting the help of others, and resilience proving that the risk is worth the writhing. Evidently, there is a new kind of normal not only in the mind but also in music and Cayetana is determined to help us find it.
Snail Mail is the Baltimore based indie rock solo project of 17 year old, Lindsey Jordan. She released a six song EP titled, “Habit,” on DC punks Priests’ Sister Polygon Records in July of 2016. The record features a full band with Shawn Durham on drums and Ryan Vieira on bass.
In their “Best New Track” review for the EPs opening track “Thinning”, Pitchfork describes Jordan as possessing a voice that “sounds like it’s coming from a distance, perfect for a song with lines about wanting to lie face down on the floor for a whole year and the triumph of wasting time”.
In addition to her standout vocal abilities, Jordan is a classically trained guitarist of twelve years and experiments often with various guitar tunings and techniques in order to generate Snail Mail’s unique sound.