Let’s face it – a lot of the underground, indie punk rock you love / hold dear / have a symbolic tattoo reflecting, was the result of a movement pioneered by Katie Crutchfield and her Waxahatchee project.
Your Grilpools, your Bullys, your Cayetanas – they would never have existed without the influence and the blazed trail of the acoustic punk-turned-full-blown punk that was Crutchfield and her introverted yet infinitely relatable collection of minor league hits.
Waxahatchee’s Australian tour (her first with an amped up band) kicks off today and so we’ve taken the time out to celebrate / direct you towards the exact reasons why you should be out there throwing goats at the emotional rawness of her music, or solidifying your relationship to the soundtrack of the gorgeous harmonies and melodies she’s been able to concoct, on this dazzling Australian tour.
1. She’s a pioneer
Seriously, ask 95% of the members of the Phil-wave movement and they’ll lay out the influence that Waxahatchee has had on them embracing their ability to not only forge an unconventional career based largely on the support of a community of fans (something that’s been strongly mirrored in the Melbourne punk community), but also the importance of investing your time and energy in those communities that support you, your music and your message. Passing on that wisdom to peers makes her somewhat of a punk rock oracle.
2. Have you even heard Ivy Tripp?!
Holy shit that record was insane. I remember hearing ‘Under A Rock’ on the radio for the first time on the radio while driving my car (apparently that’s still a thing), pulling over, and trying to write down as many lyrics as possible, so that I could Google it and find out what the song was when I got home. When I realised it was The Wax, I was all kinds of in love and totally thrilled by the direction she’d taken on her new record. And that was just a taste of the incredible diversity of sounds and textures splayed out across the album. Just contrast ‘La Loose’ next to ‘Poison’ to get a snapshot of what I mean.
3. She already went to all the effort to give us a taste of what we could expect last year
Were you lucky enough to see Crutchfield when she came out here solo mid last year? It was mesmerising. She stood there by herself, with an electric guitar barely plugged in, and totally captivated audiences on every single one of her appearances. Imagine what she can do with a full fucking band and a distortion pedal or seven?!
4. Waxahatchee is a lesson in a sustainable music career
Sure she’s famous to a degree. Sure she’s had excellent success for an indie / alt / punk artist. But you can tell by the way she’s approaching her career that Crutchfield isn’t hell bent on blowing her wad on the back of some immediate appreciation and accolades. She’s been around a few years now, and although her popularity has ramped up, the attitude and honesty she’s met her growing fanbase with has been genuinely heart-warming. It feels so much more in line with the attitudes of the DIY punk era rather than the self-indulgent “I rule”era of 90s indie rock, that it almost makes me want to go read Our Band Could Be Your Life again.
5. You’re probably going to fall in love / make a new best friend
Can’t you feel it? There’s a romantic undercurrent to everything Waxahatchee that just encourages emotional openness and acceptance. What better mindframe to be in to discover a new besty or a new lover? I can’t think of any. So rock up, grab the hand of the person next to you, grip on, and enjoy the emotional roller coaster together.
Waxahatchee plays Oxford Art Factory in Sydney February 17 and Howler in Melbourne February 18. Google the details for tickets.