1. Wynonna and Waxahatchee: “Other Side”
An unexpected delight from a West Philly-connected artist.
When Katie Crutchfield, the indie songwriter who performs as Waxahatchee, was living in West Philadelphia during a three-album stretch that capped with Out in the Storm in 2017, the Alabama-born singer was beginning to embrace her Southern roots.
The influence of Americana artists like Lucinda Williams was more pronounced on Waxahatchee’s superb 2020 release St. Cloud. And now Crutchfield, who now lives in Kansas City, has deepened those connections through a friendship with Wynonna Judd, the bona fide country star who has been in the news after her mother Naomi’s death.
The women wrote “Other Side” with Judd’s husband, Cactus Moser. The song plays like a statement of faith, that if you work hard enough for it, spiritual sustenance is out there to be found: “If we move our way against the tide,” Judd and Crutchfield sing together. “There’s something on the other side.”
In a news release, Crutchfield said: “Sharing space with [Wynonna] to create something was really nothing but a joy and an honor.” Judd said: “In the midst of everything that has happened, I said that I would continue to sing. So, here I am. I met Katie Crutchfield last year and we connected immediately …. I’m thankful for the opportunity to sing with the next generation of greatness.”
The “Other Side” video shows the vocalist doing what singers actually do in the studio: Looking at their phones so they don’t mess up the lyrics. The Judds’ Reunion Tour will go on, with Wynonna joined by guests like Brandi Carlile and Faith Hill.
2. ‘Prince and The Revolution: Live’
There’s a new, irresistible box set.
The repackaging of Prince continues. And who can resist? On Friday, a box set will be released from a 1985 concert at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y., of Prince and his band at the height of their powers.
It’s not previously unseen: The show was telecast outside the U.S. at the time and was included in a 2017 deluxe Purple Rain reissue. Still, it’s a cause to marvel at and explore its creator’s greatness. There’s a new The Story of Prince and the Revolution: Live podcast, and PBS will air the Syracuse show June 4 on WHYY-TV.
And look out for more. Move over, Van Gogh. Prince: The Immersive Experience debuts in Chicago this month. Sirius/XM is relaunching a Prince channel in June. And Nick Hornby’s intriguing sounding Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius is due in November.
3. Alex G: “Blessing”
I’m into this creepy and beautiful new song.
Last month, Havertown-raised indie songwriter par excellence Alex Giannascoli put out a collection of new music under the radar: a haunting and typically inventive score to director Jane Schoenbrun’s horror film We’re All Going To The World’s Fair.
But that’s just the beginning of what looks like will be a busy 2022 for Giannascoli.
“Blessing” is a brand new song from the prolific DIY artist. It’s full of sometimes creepy, sometimes beautiful shape-shifting surprises. “Every day is a blessing,” he whispers, sounding like he means it. He plays Asbury Park June 3, and will finish off a U.S. tour at Union Transfer on Nov. 18 and 19.
4. Creem Circus: “Those Shoes”
A new single and a can’t-miss show from the Philly band.
This Philly band is fronted by Chris DiPinto, the guitar-builder to the stars who’s made them for Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs. He sold two to Adam Sandler out of his DiPinto Guitars shop in Fishtown during the filming of Hustle.
Creem Circus, which is named after two 1970s rock magazines, are self-described as “your favorite band’s favorite band. We play hard, glitter, tandem lead, platform powered rock and roll. … We shop in the women’s department and our amps are ALWAYS stacked.”
And their shows are always a blast. On Friday at Orlieb’s in Northern Liberties, they celebrate the release of a new animated video for “Those Shoes,” with Foxycontin, Prof. Fuzz 63, and the Koosmans.
5. Angel Olsen: ‘Through the Fires’
A new album filled with optimism and grief.
This fraught, lovely song — in which Olson is accompanied by piano, drums and strings — is the centerpiece of Big Time, the sixth album by the singer based in Asheville, N.C.
The songs on the album, which comes out Friday and was coproduced by Jonathan Wilson, are filled with optimism and grief. They were written while Olsen was coming out as queer, and also while both of her parents died within weeks of one another.
Big Time, a companion film directed by Kimberly Stuckwisch, will be shown on June 2 on the Amazon Music channel on Twitch and the Amazon Music app. Olsen plays the Skyline Stage at the Mann Center on the Wild Hearts tour with Sharon Van Etten and Julien Baker on Aug. 19.