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The Crutchfield sisters covered Sleater-Kinney and here’s video proof

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Katie and Allison Crutchfield of Waxahatchee | Photo by Scott Troyan | scotttroyan.com

Katie (Waxahatchee) and Allison Crutchfield paired up for a jam session at last weekend’s Vulture Festival, and video has surfaced of one of the jams going beyond the sister’s discography. The duo covered Sleater-Kinney’s “Modern Girl,” off the 2005 album The Woods. The only thing not perfect about this all of this that the video cuts off before we get a chance to witness the entire song. Continue reading →

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The Crutchfield sisters turn back the clock with Waxahatchee’s Early Recordings and P.S. Eliot’s 2007-2011

Waxahatchee
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | http://jeremy-zim.com/

On June 17th, Alabaman-turned-Philadelphian Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee will open up the time capsule and reissue the first songs she ever wrote for the project as a limited-edition cassette aptly titled Early Recordings. Also available digitally, the reissue’s artist proceeds will benefit DIY PHL’s First Time’s The Charm, an event that promotes diversity and inclusion of all kinds within the music community. Continue reading →

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20 albums you shouldn’t overlook in 2018

Some of our unsung favorite albums of 2018

Fun fact: in a total coincidence of timing, The Key released our best albums of the year list on the same morning that NPR Music, The Guardian, and Paste rolled out their respective lists. Most other major and minor music publications followed suit in the week that followed, social media was aflurry with immense list excitement as much as total list fatigue.

The best hot take I saw in the fray came from Boston journalist Nina Corcoran (a writer for NPR Music, and Pitchfork, among others), who simply Tweeted: “The 50 Best Albums of 2018 That Didn’t Have a PR Machine Churning Behind Them.”

It’s frustrating, but true. It’s daunting when you’re reading about mostly the same albums in a slightly different order, and it begs some consideration. Like I’ve said in the past: while there is power in consensus, how does that consensus get there? Through mass recognition, through large teams of music journalists with widely eclectic tastes finding 15 or 50 or 500 albums (seriously tho, I’d love to see a top 500 list in haiku form) that they can all agree are great. And that happens when artists and their labels have the resources to seriously and steadily push those records to said journalists.

So what’s to become of a release by Philly rapper Ivy Sole, who self-released and self-promoted her outstanding 2018 outing Overgrown? Or one by Columbus psych/folk/punk collective Saintseneca, which did have label support on their beautiful Pillar of Na, easily the best record of their career, but the “campaign” behind it was limited?

My favorite lists, by comparison, are like the one you’re about to read — not driven by consensus, not presented in a ranked order. Not fostering a frustrating sense of competitiveness in an already-frustrating music scene. One that merely collects records that our team is tremendously excited about, and thinks you should make a point to spend some time with. Continue reading →

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Swearin’ brought Fall into the Sun home to Philly for their record release show

Swearin | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

While Swearin’ was playing the basement of the First Unitarian Church last Wednesday night, there was a square dance going on upstairs. Although the separate worlds that so often exist within that same building no longer phase anyone, on this particular occasion it seemed like a timely reminder of how singular the music community in Philadelphia is; how it ebbs and flows as time passes, changes happening so subtly you don’t notice them until suddenly, a once-beloved band is sorely missed. And on Wednesday night, Philly’s music scene got one of its missing pieces back. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Swearin’ returns to Philly for an Everybody Hits gig

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Swearin’ | photo by Ali Donahue | courtesy of the artist

A quick note about Swearin’, the revived indie rock four-piece fronted by songwriters Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride. Firstly, their show in the basement of the First Unitarian Church last night smoked. Sarah Hojsak will have a full report on the proceedings tomorrow, so I won’t steal her thunder, but I will add that if you missed the gig — fear not! Swearin’ just announced a return to their hometown on Saturday, December 8th, when they’ll headline everybody hits, alongside Skeleton Key fave Dark Thoughts. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at noon, more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Continue reading →

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Swearin’s Kyle Gilbride takes the lead on Fall into the Sun closer “Future Hell”

Swearin
Swearin’ | photo by Alexander Rotondo | courtesy of the artist

The first Swearin’ record in five years, Fall into the Sun, comes out in just one month, and ahead of the release date the band has shared “Future Hell,” the album’s third single and closing track. While the new record, much like Swearin’s previous material, has both Allison Crutchfield and Kyle Gilbride sharing songwriting duties and trading off on vocals, this is the first new song we’ve heard that’s lead by Gilbride. Continue reading →

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Swearin’ shares a second single from Fall into the Sun, “Untitled (LA)”

Swearin
Swearin’ | photo by Alexander Rotondo | courtesy of the artist

2018 marks a new era for Swearin’, the beloved Philly band that parted ways a few years back before reuniting earlier this year. Not only will their forthcoming album Fall into the Sun be the band’s first release in five years, but it marks a growth in songwriting and a dive into introspective territory, tackling head-on the challenges and changes the band members have faced since they last made music together. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Swearin’ at the First Unitarian Church

Swearin
Swearin’ | photo by Ali Donahue | courtesy of the artist

One of the best Philly bands there ever was will return home to the basement of the First Unitarian Church this fall. Local punk/DIY scene favorites Swearin’ rose to acclaim before breaking up in 2015, and for a while it seemed like the band was done for good. But last fall, news broke of their unexpected reunion, and they opened a few shows on Superchunk’s recent tour, including a stop at Union Transfer in April. As vocalist/guitarist Kyle Gilbride wrote in a press release, “Sometimes a band takes on a life of its own, and it seems this one came back to us when it was ready, and in its new form, to stay for the foreseeable future.” Continue reading →

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Swearin’ is back, baby, newly signed to Merge Records

Swearin
Swearin’ | photo by Ali Donahue | courtesy of the artist

When a reunited Swearin‘ opened for Superchunk at Union Transfer earlier this month, not only did they sound totally asskicking in that proverbial haven’t-missed-a-beat kind of way, they also debuted two new songs during their set, giving fans hope that getting back together was not just a one-off novelty for the tour.

Today, we are happy to report that the Philly-formed band has joined the roster of Merge Records, a move that totally makes sense — singer-guitarist Allison Crutchfield released her solo record on Merge in 2017, and her sister Katie’s band Waxahatchee (which she also plays in) has called Merge home since 2015.

The band is comprised of Crutchfield as well as fellow singer-guitarist Kyle Gilbride, longtime drummer Jeff Bolt, and new bassist Amanda Bartley. Continue reading →

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We’re All In This Together: Waxahatchee and Hurray for the Riff Raff play an empowering set at Union Transfer

Waxahatchee | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Co-headlining shows can be a tricky business. For the audience, it adds an air of mystery and unpredictability — who will go on first? How long will each set be? A good deal of planning has to go into it on the artists’ end, too — how do they settle it? Perhaps a coin toss?

For Waxahatchee and Hurray for the Riff Raff, though, none of these questions seemed to be an issue. Some quick sleuthing seems to indicate that the two headliners, currently on tour together, have been alternating the order they play each night. That way everything’s perfectly fair and amicable — as the stage backdrop that framed the powerhouse acts read, “We’re All in This Together.”

This worked out just fine for last night’s Union Transfer audience, who was equally excited to welcome back hometown hero Waxahatchee and XPN Fest alum Hurray for the Riff Raff. Continue reading →