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Waxahatchee soars Out of the Storm 

Katie Crutchfield returns to New Orleans Aug. 7

click to enlarge waxahatchee2_jesseriggins.jpg

Photo by Jesse Riggins

Update: This show has been canceled.

Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield is no stranger to New Orleans audiences, having played a handful of concerts here over the past three years: two headlining appearances and two opening slots in support of tours by Superchunk and The New Pornographers. This show — which comes three months after the New Pornos gig, and three weeks after the release of her fourth album Out in the Storm (Merge) — still might feel like an introduction. Such is the leap the band takes on this new LP, a deliverance of Crutchfield's desolate folk distress calls in the game pursuit of wider-reaching, crowd-pleasing indie rock. In that regard, even for those who found comfort in her generous discomfort, it's hard to call Storm anything but a success. The Alabama singer/songwriter is still in the breaking-hearts business, but that no longer applies to her own. Fists clenched and eyes dried, she steers each of these 10 tracks toward the highest possible peaks, avoiding the siren-song valleys that threatened to envelop her previous work, however lovely and inviting they may be. There's nary a weeper here, no room for one on two tight, throttling sides propelled by forward momentum: "Never Been Wrong" and "Brass Beam" leading off each with electric-guitar roars and audible sneers; "Sparks Fly" and "Fade" tying them up with steely, self-aware resolve. It's no accident that "A Little More," the lone tender ballad, gets immediately answered by "No Question," a course-correcting chainsaw. "You wanna brand my losing streak / You wanna be the 8 ball," she sings early on, then launches into another song ("Silver") uplifted by a wordless, cooing chorus. Never mind eight balls, the sequence suggests, when you're the one holding the stick. Palehound and Outer Spaces open. Tickets $15.


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