Katie Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee project has grown from the home recordings of a promising young singer/songwriter to the full-bodied sound we hear on Ivy Tripp. Over a river of fuzz and organ drone, Crutchfield sings more warmly and confidently than ever on opener “Breathless.” Lyrically she can be oblique on songs like “Poison” (“Your birthday party tongue dripping/You'll summarize/Travel the world ivy tripping”), but the scenes she paints are evocative nonetheless. She pushes her sound further into brightly hued Pavement-style indie rock on tracks like “Under a Rock” and ’80s college rock on “The Dirt” while expanding it with a simple electronic beat and catchy backup vocals on “La Loose.” But some of the most stirring moments on Ivy Tripp are its sparest, as she turns staring at the ceiling midday and turning over love and life choices into Ivy Tripp’s best track, “Stale By Noon,” singing over a simple organ lick. I wasn’t sold when I heard her last album, Cerulean Salt, but Ivy Tripp feels whittled down to perfection. It’s an impressive songwriting showcase for Crutchfield and a significant leap forward.
Best Coast – “Heaven Sent” video
Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino looks fetching in a rose crown and lace dress in the video she co-directed with Lana Kim for “Heaven Sent,” off the band’s upcoming California Nights, due May 4 on Harvest. Definitely channeling some Paisley Underground vibes with this look and song, like The Bangles filtered through Ride’s amps. The band’s spring/summer tour will hit L.A.’s Wiltern June 27. Watch below via Ray-Ban’s Never Hide Noise.
LA Font – “Whisperer”
On their latest track, Los Angeles power-pop band LA Font sink their teeth into a supple groove before unleashing whirlwind guitars at the song’s climax. You might need a cigarette. It’s on their upcoming Hangtime Vol. 1 EP, which is due April 28, just after the band plays in-store at Amoeba Hollywood April 23, as part of the Converse Rubber Tracks series. Hear it below via Stereogum.
Just before the band starts its tour in support of the album—and now without longtime guitarist and producer Chris Walla—the band could’ve been unsure of its footing. But they pretty much crushed it, starting with the album’s thumping opener “No Room in Frame.” “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” saw the band pick up the energy while still employing moody guitarwork and ghostly effects to good measure.
Ben Gibbard paused a moment to introduce new band members Dave Depper and Zac Rae (both on keys and guitars) before launching into the three-guitar “Little Wanderer.” It’s easy to forget what a great guitar band Death Cab can be, and honestly, the guitars threatened to overtake Gibbard’s star power on that song. But the song’s catchy chorus brings it all back, and Gibbard still stood center-stage on “Black Sun,” shaking his head through the song’s biting lyrics amid dusty organ and languid guitarwork.
Death Cab at times could be thought of as more of a solid and enjoyable band than a dynamic one, but they’ve seemingly sought to incorporate more variety to their introverted indie-pop on recent releases as their audience has grown, and live, their skill at juggling different sounds is even more pronounced. On the cowboyish “El Dorado,” Gibbard’s voice rang clearly over a sturdy gallop and wallowing guitars, while “Everything’s a Ceiling” is closer to an ’80s prom ballad and had the crowd clapping along to its stuttering beat and glowing synths.
Like those recent Led Zeppelin reissues, Sticky Fingers will come in a variety of LP and CD editions, Rolling Stone reports. The deluxe edition will include a version of “Brown Sugar” with Eric Clapton, unreleased versions of “Bitch,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and “Dead Flowers,” and an acoustic take of “Wild Horses,” plus five live tracks from a performance at London’s Roundhouse in 1971, including “Honky Tonk Women” and “Midnight Rambler.”
The super deluxe edition will include all that and Get Yer Leeds Lungs Out!, a 13-track disc of the band’s March 1971 performance in Leeds, plus a 120-page book with new liner notes, previously unpublished photos, a print and postcard set and a cover that updates the original iconic album image with a real working zipper.
The band’s tour starts with a May 24 show at San Diego’s Petco Park. Watch a trailer for the tour below:
“Death With Dignity” opens Carrie & Lowell as a touching elegy to Sufjan Stevens’ mother, yet it also could describe his relationship to his own music. “I don’t know where to begin,” he sings, and “I’ve got nothing to prove” over a familiar bed of bluegrass-inspired folk. Stevens was like the A-plus student of indie pop, turning out album after album of perfectly manicured orchestral folk-pop, but I felt like he lost his way a bit with The BQE, an album and project that felt unwieldy, as well the hectic electro-folk of The Age of Adz. Carrie & Lowell, by comparison, is one of his most stripped-down albums to date. That’s not to say it doesn’t have his trademark fixation on detail— songs shift halfway through, like “Should Have Known Better’s” turn into stuttering, laptoppy acoustics and choral touches, or “Drawn to the Blood’s” extended string finale; “you checked your text while I masturbated,” he sings casually, telling a girl she looks like Poseidon in the sexually turbulent “All of Me Wants All of You.” Lyrically and musically, Stevens remains a curious tinkerer, but Carrie & Lowell never feels busy in the slightest. It’s an intensely focused work, one that places Stevens’ voice and songcraft over bells and whistles. Whereas locations and history seemed to hold Stevens’ interest in the past, here he’s death-obsessed (and still spiritual as ever). “Fourth of July” feels romantically morbid and carries the happy refrain “we’re all gonna die,” and on “The Only Thing,” he sounds stricken with grief to the point of barely being able to keep going on. Stevens’ way with language, drawing on mythology and Christian imagery, and ascendant voice keeps the songs from wallowing too deeply, even as they describe an immense sense of loss, allowing those moments when he does break—“No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross’” “Fuck me, I’m falling apart”—to land all the more effectively. Without the filter of a state’s history or the heavy religiosity of Seven Swans, Carrie & Lowell finds Stevens turning his studious eye inward to fully explore his own grief, and the results are never short of breathtaking.