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Solo expansion

Waxahatchee’s sound has progressed far beyond the roots as a bedroom project

Waxahatchee finds a muscular and tuneful drive on her latest material, without sacrificing honesty. Photo credit: Facebook

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How long is it reasonable for a one-person band to stay a one-person band? Is there a threshold an artist reaches where they've had enough of their albums being described as "homespun," and so decide to take the all-important step of getting the band together? Folks like Iron and Wine, the Love Language, and even Prince, initially caught attention with albums where they were solely responsible for writing and performing all of the songs. This desire -- or, perhaps, necessity -- to work alone would eventually inspire a whole subgenre called bedroom pop (which was, of course, helped along by increasingly accessible home recording technology). Those aforementioned artists, though, went on to greater success by enlisting other musicians to come aboard and create a livelier, more fleshed-out sound.

Waxahatchee went through such a transition in the past couple of years. Katie Crutchfield started Waxahatchee as a solo project, recording her songs at home, in the aftermath of a breakup -- that most fertile ground of crucial art. Beginning in 2012, Crutchfield released a triptych of critically lauded albums, leaning heavily on confessional songwriting and that particular type of intimacy that can only be accessed via the direct line home recording, where you really do feel like you and the musician are communing together. Steadily, though, Waxahatchee began to shape up and stretch out into a full-fledged band, with each album gaining more confidence to test the limits of sonic possibilities.

This is not to say that Waxahatchee has tumbled headlong into quadrophonic experimentation, but 2017's Out in the Storm LP represents a step forward for Crutchfield as both singer-songwriter and bandleader. The Waxahatchee of the present is catchy, feisty indie rock, incorporating a whole new repertoire of tuneful tricks, while sacrificing none of the honesty that transfixed fans of her earlier work. There's still plenty of swooning to be found at the heart of Waxahatchee, but it's accompanied by a fuzzy, muscular drive that practically begs to be shot back in time for inclusion on so many high school mix tapes. Solo Waxahatchee was intoxicating, but full-band Waxahatchee is a force to be reckoned with.

WAXAHATCHEE, w/ Donny Boon, 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, Fawcett Hall at Alma Mater, 1322 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, $16-$18, 253.302.3926,


Rhythm and Rye is spending the last week of February celebrating Black History Month, highlighting the effect that black artists had on this country's music. Next Thursday, the focus is on soul, funk and disco. Soul and funk are closely linked, to many, as stemming from black musicians, but little is made of the way that disco started as an outlet for the poor, LGBT, and people of color. Jazz-fusion outfit MonkFlower (whose drummer, Harrison Hannon, is responsible for these shows) will be performing, along with fellow funk and jazz purveyors Hotcabi. Expect some guests to join the fray and imbue this night with a surplus of hot licks and four-on-the-floor rhythms. Later in the week, Rhythm and Rye will be shining a light on jazz, rock, blues, hip-hop, and the black women that made an impact in American music.

MONKFLOWER, w/ Hotcabi, 9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, Rhythm and Rye, 311 Capitol Way N., Olympia, $5, 360.705.0760

For something a little more straightforward, check out the exuberant punk of Boss' Daughter. Mixing power-pop with more scrappy, fidgety punk, this Reno, Nevada, three-piece evokes the underground indie scene of Washington state, circa the late ‘80s. Something about Boss' Daughter feels absolutely in time with both the past and the future, evoking scenes of times past, and the revival that has become more commonplace. Nostalgic or contemporary, Boss' Daughter is positively bustling with the type of energy that should carry you on through the end of the night.

BOSS' DAUGHTER, w/ Hilltop Rats, Burn Burn Burn, 8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 18, The Valley, 1206 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma, $5, 253.248.4265

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