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Ivy Tripp

A rising songwriter rages with blazing focus, strong melodies

Mac McCaughan and Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 19: Musicians Mac McCaughan and Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee perform during the 2015 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Auditorium Shores on March 19, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW)

Michael Loccisano/Getty

Two years ago, Waxahatchee's bracingly intense Cerulean Salt made punk singer-guitarist Katie Crutchfield an indie star. Now she is terrified of slowing down. "I can be a ray of light," she sings on "Stale by Noon," "but you are always in my head." It's one of many songs where Crutchfield loses patience with herself or others: "I left you out like a carton of milk," she admits on the breakup jam "Air," frustrated by her own listless ways. Aimlessness can be a rite of passage for twentysomethings, and Crutchfield shines brightest when she transforms that fear into frenetic pop joy — bursting to "shout it from the rooftop/Then hide in the basement and cheer."

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