Swearin’ is an indie pop quartet who have members living in Philadelphia and Brooklyn. They released an EP in 2011 and their self-titled debut album in 2012. The thing that you need to know about Swearin’ is that their frontwoman Allison Crutchfield is the twin sister of Katie Crutchfield, who is otherwise known as Waxahatchee. They grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and they used to play together in a band called P.S. Eliot. Now they both live in Brooklyn playing in different but similar bands.
Both Swearin’ and Waxahatchee will be playing at the fourth annual Hopscotch Music Festival. Both on Friday night. Thankfully, they’re not playing at the same time in different venues. I’d love to see them both. But at Hopscotch, as in life, you can’t get everything that you want. Still, though, it should be no problem to make both of those a high priority.
So it’s the Crutchfield twins on Friday night and the Deal twins on Saturday night.
It’s safe to say that both Waxahatchee and Swearin’ are reminiscent of the distortion-laden, crunchy, hooky stuff of the 1990s college radio scene that I spent so much time immersed in. The sweet, but not too sweet vocals on top of the distorted crunchy hooky guitars are something like a grittier That Dog. I’ll also say the same thing about Allison that I said about Katie. On the sweeter songs, her voice reminds me a bit of Lyn Heinemann from the fantastic and criminally unsung Vancouver duo Drawn Ship. To veer off topic for just a second, the Drawn Ship record Low Domestic needs to be in your collection. Make it happen!
Tonight’s song is the last song from the eponymous debut, and it’s probably my favorite.
“Movie Star” by Swearin’
I like how it gets right into it after a few clicks of the drum sticks. A really abrupt start with lots of fuzz and lots of crunch. Moments later, there’s a smooth bit, but it’s mostly about the crunchy bits. After the second reprise of the smooth bit, there’s the triumphant finale, which starts at 2:53 and builds to a head at 3:23. As they keep adding layer upon crunchy, distorted layer, it gets better and better, until it’s finally a magnificent, towering wall of sound. It’s brief, but it’s brilliant.
And this next bit seems almost excessively like something That Dog would have done:
You say that I remind you of a movie star
No one likes you when you’re as old as we are
And then the bit that closes the song:
You and me don’t earn much pay
But you and me got enough to get away
If we want to
Yeah. I know. It’s just that “you and I” doesn’t work as well, rhythmically. Let it go.
As far as Hopscotch goes, Swearin’ will be playing on the middle night of the three-night festival. 175 bands. 15 crammed into a radius of about half a mile in downtown Raleigh . Lots of fun. They’re set for Friday night (September 6) at 10:30 over at The Pour House. You can bet your legs that I’ll be there. Later that night, Waxahatchee plays at Midnight over at the Kennedy Theater. You can bet your arms that I’ll be there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the twins have something worked out for them to play together during one of the Saturday “day party” events.
You can buy Swearin’ from the Swearin’ bandcamp page.
Stay tuned through the end of August for plenty more about the bands who will be playing Hopscotch.
Tickets are still available here. Please note that the price quoted is the actual price. All taxes and “convenience fees” are built into the price of the pass.
Check out the (mostly accurate) alphabetical line-up here, and the schedule here. Keep in mind that the free “day party” stuff is almost as much fun than the stuff that you need tickets for. The day party bands and schedules won’t be announced until a few days before the festival, but there’s plenty of stuff to do.