Skip to content

Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield Talks Tragic Women and Twee Pop

Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield

After four years grinding out hooky punk songs as P.S. Eliot, Birmingham, Alabama-born twin sisters Allison and Katie Crutchfield went their separate ways at the end of 2011, both because they felt they’d accomplished all they could with their collaboration and each had burgeoning side projects on the go. Allison’s endeavors took the punishing form of ’90s-indebted indie foursome Swearin’, but Katie’s efforts have been more staid and introspective. As Waxahatchee, Crutchfield, 23, crafts winsome folk-pop tunes that delve into life’s more melancholic moments. Crutchfield took some time in advance of the March 5 release of her second full-length, Cerulean Salt (Don Giovanni), to talk to SPIN about her favorite things.

“My friends Sourpatch are one of my favorite bands making music right now. They’re from San Jose, California, and they just made a record called Stagger & Fade that I think is so good. They pull from traditional twee pop places, but transcend the confines of the pop community. All four of the members of the bands write songs and all of them write great songs, which is cool.”

Bill Fox
“I love Bill Fox. He was in this power-pop band called the Mice in the ’80s and they were really influential to Guided by Voices. They broke up and he didn’t make music for like, 10 years. Then all of a sudden he put out two solo albums and I think he was sort of influenced by Guided by Voices’ home-recording [style], which is really cool. Only recently in the last year or two has he started to put out records again. Not all of my records have been home-recorded, but I’ve never recorded anything in a studio, and my new record I made in my house with my roommate. I guess I appreciate wanting to do that versus the more traditional studio setting. And the warm tape sound [Fox] gets on his records is really great.”

The Way of the Vaselines
“Right now one of my all time favorite records that I’ve been pulling from a lot is this compilation [the Vaselines] put out called The Way of the Vaselines. It transcends genre and that’s something that I’m always trying to do too as a songwriter. [The album] transcends twee and that’s really beautiful and cool.”

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
“The best book I read this year is The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, which I had never read before. Part of the reason I was drawn to it is because she’s from the South and she wrote it when she was 23 and I read it when I was 23. It’s just brilliant, and combined with some of the parallels it has to my life it definitely became one of my favorites.”

Francesca Woodman
“I discovered Francesca Woodman this year. I don’t know that she’s been inspirational to what I do, but I feel like I changed after I discovered her. She’s a photographer from the ’70s. I think she went to RISD in the ’70s. She takes raw, emotional photographs and never really got appreciated. It’s a classic story of a great artist who never got attention for that and then eventually killed herself. She’s [since] been influential for a lot of photographers. She was this person who had this creativity — this frustrating energy — and couldn’t handle it anymore. She was brilliant. You look at catalogs and even fashion [photography] — we live in a post-Francesca Woodman society.”

Anne Sexton
“I love a lot of poetry, but I really love Anne Sexton. I actually was in a band for about five minutes and all the lyrics I wrote for [the band] were based on different Anne Sexton poems. I feel like all I’m doing is talking about brilliant female artists who eventually killed themselves. [Sexton committed suicide in 1974.] I don’t know if that’s a running theme in my life. She lived with a lot of frustration, and I think part of it was the time period, but she articulated a lot of that frustration. It was really moving.”