Allison Crutchfield’s debut album, “Tourist in This Town,” was written as the singer-songwriter dealt with the breakup of her punk band Swearin’ and the end of a relationship with bandmate Kyle Gilbride.
In addition to the life changes, the album spotlights a musical evolution, as Crutchfield adds a pop and new wave sheen to the indie rock of her earlier work.
amNewYork spoke with Crutchfield.
After so many years in bands, why did you decide to make a solo album?
I did a solo EP a few years ago. It was kind of an experiment in doing something purely for myself. Swearin’ was a very democratic band. There were three songwriters in the band, and the dynamic was a little tricky and difficult to navigate. ... [The album] was an experiment in pure self-indulgence in a lot of ways.
Where does the album title come from?
It’s from a lyric in one of the songs, “Expatriate.” The lyric is about feeling like I was gone [on tour] all the time. I would come back to a familiar place and back home, but feel out of touch with everybody. I’d have to play lightning-speed catch up with friends before I left again. I’d meet up with the person I shared so much with, but felt like he was a stranger. He was changing so much and I was changing so much. Those two feelings intertwined nicely, but also in a way that was very painful. Those two themes thread the record together in a lot of ways, feeling really bizarre in a new city every day and also processing these really heavy breakup feelings.
How did the album’s pop and new wave feel come about?
I always really loved pop music. It’s kind of embarrassing at times because I can’t really get into music that doesn’t have some pop sensibility. ... I was trying to write this really personal breakup record, but also write a pop record. The new wave-y aspect comes from producer Jeff Zeigler, who has this really incredible collection of analog synthesizers. ... It has an ’80s sound because we’re using ’80s synthesizers.
You’ve been performing a lot with your twin sister, Katie, in her band Waxahatchee and your band together P.S. Eliot. What have you learned from her?
We both sort of build each other up in a way that is unmatched in anyone else I ever collaborated with or have been close with. I learned self-confidence from her. I also learned so much about songwriting. She’s one of my very favorite songwriters. We’re the first people to hear each other’s music still. In a lot of ways, I learned how to be a songwriter from her. She really did it first, and she encouraged me to start writing and start playing guitar.