Out in the Storm,Katie Crutchfield’ s fourth album as Waxahatchee and her second release with Merge, is the blazing result of a woman reawakened. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date, Out in the Storm is a self-reflective anchor in the story of both her songwriting and her life. As Crutchfield prepared for the release of her Merge debut Ivy Tripp, she found herself depleted emotionally and professionally amidst the dissolution of a noxious relationship. “ Ivy Tripp doesn’ t really have any resolution. It’ s a lot of beating around the bush, and superficially trying to see my life clearly, but just barely scratching the surface. Out in the Storm digs into what I was going through without blinking. It’s a very honest record about a time in which I was not honest with myself.” After much self-examination, Crutchfield found renewed energy and support from her bandmates. With these strong women surrounding her, she found the strength, clarity, and poise to overcome the emotionally taxing Ivy Tripptour in an explorative space that would result in Out in the Storm.
The album was tracked at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia with John Agnello, a producer, recording engineer, and mixer known for working with some of the most iconic musicians of the last 25 years, including Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. For Agnello, it was Crutchfield’ s voice that drew him in. “ The first demo song I heard was ‘ Fade’ .The melodies, the way she sings it, the way she turns the melody, and the way she goes note to note is literally beautiful. Singers—you either have it or you don’ t. She has it.”
Agnello and Crutchfield worked together for most of December 2016, along with the band: sister Allison Crutchfield on keyboards and percussion, Katherine Simonetti on bass, and Ashley Arnwine on drums; Katie Harkin, touring guitarist with Sleater-Kinney, also contributed lead guitar. At Agnello’ s suggestion, the group recorded most of the music live to enhance their unity in a way that gives the album a fuller sound compared to past releases, resulting in one of Waxahatchee’ s most guitar-driven releases to date.