Waxahatchee's new release (and Merge debut), Ivy Tripp
, begins with a buzz on "Breathless" that extends through the opening track's wistful agony - which is instrumentally like descending a pedal steel staircase one giant step at a time to explain a doomed relationship's trajectory. It's an emotional manipulation, an old songwriter's trick, really, but that harsh buzz gets snapped off like you've hit the off button on an alarm to launch into the accusatory rocking lash-out of "Under a Rock." This is when the full force of a full-band Waxahatchee floors you if you've been a fan of quieter early offerings like 2013's critically heralded Cerulean Salt.
The album pushes into punk territory while still maintaining the softer allure that comes almost exclusively from Katie Crutchfield's gorgeous vocalizing that can be underplayed for persuasive pop like "La Loose" and intently brought to focus like on "Stale By Noon" or "<." It's a gem in what's been a lackluster year for new music and will surely top year-end lists, and the insane thing is that on Thursday, April 16 (that's tonight), just a little over a week after the album dropped, you can catch Waxahatchee in Florida, just shy of a couple hours north in Gainesville. (RSVP!)
Doors are at 9 p.m. tonight at the Wooly in Gainesville, so you'd need to get outta town by early evening if you want to catch the openers (three opening bands, including Orlando's Wet Nurse!). Tickets are $12-$15, so carpool to keep costs down.