This past month or so seemed to be just bursting with possibilities in terms of new music. Not only was there that great debut from up-and-comer Courtney Barnett, but there were also new albums on the horizon from old indie stalwarts like that Mountain Goats album I just reviewed, as well as albums from Death Cab For Cutie, Modest Mouse, and Sufjan Stevens, which have all been so middling that I’m not sure anyone will go to the trouble of reviewing. And yeah, that’s right, I’m gonna go ahead and call that critically lauded Sufjan album a disappointment, since it’s hard for me to call it anything else when every time I listen to it all I can muster up in terms of a response is the constant feeling that it’s trying to lull me into a state of deep sleep/depression. So in that regard, I have to look at Waxahatchee’s Ivy Tripp as a nice surprise, since it manages to be not quite as good as the 2013 break-out Cerulean Salt, but comes pretty darn close.
The aforementioned Cerulean Salt was a remarkable little album I think because it managed to sound stripped-down and intimate, but with a nice ragged hint of lead singer/songwriter Katie Crutchfield’s punk-ish roots. Ivy Tripp, on the other hand is pretty much what you would want in a follow-up, since it has that same feeling of Crutchfield sitting in her bedroom and spouting off her random thoughts in a pleasant-but-never-pandering vocal register. I can’t say it’s a vastly more mature record, since Crutchfield is the exact same age as me, and I wouldn’t quite expect anyone my age to have the capacity to put out a “mature record”, but she definitely takes a couple crucial steps forward. There’s still a stomping, guitar-driven quality to these songs, but there’s also a good dose of keyboards and organs thrown in to give the album just a tiny bit more scope, and also the underlying sense that there’s a whole other world out there outside of your mid-20’s.
Also, due to the fact that basically every album I’ve enjoyed from this year has come from women with guitars, I’m starting to suspect that there might not be a single swinging dick on my top ten albums of the year. Which I’m completely fine with, it’s just, come on fellas, where is the rock?
Favorite Tracks: “Under A Rock”, “La Loose”, “The Dirt”