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Swearin' keeps profanity and competitiveness to a minimum (mostly)

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May 15, 2014|By Andy Downing | RedEye special contributor

Allison Crutchfield, singer/guitarist for fuzz-loving indie rock quartet Swearin’, isn’t afraid to give voice to unpopular opinions.

“I was talking about [NBC’s acclaimed drama ‘Friday Night Lights’] recently and I was like, ‘Wow, I really prefer [Matt] Saracen to [Tim] Riggins,” said Crutchfield, 25, by phone from her home in New York. “It’s funny that’s such an unpopular opinion because [Saracen] is so clearly the better person.”

Oddly enough, the band’s latest album, “Surfing Strange,” has at least a few characteristics in common with Julie Taylor’s on again/off again boyfriend. (Side note: If you’ve never seen “Friday Night Lights,” do something about that immediately.) The record combines youthful energy with growing world-weariness, reflected in lyrics that dwell on subjects like regret, the sting of heartache and, on “Dust in the Gold Sack,” various “grudges unrequited.” It also includes the occasional musical outburst, which, as it turns out, isn’t entirely unheard of from the singer.

Considering the band name, I was wondering if you could recall the last time you cursed somebody out?

Ooh. It’s probably been awhile. I feel like I used to curse people out a lot more than I do now. I’m sure it was at a show when someone was doing something that bothered me. That was probably the last time it happened. And there was probably a lot of alcohol involved [Laughs].

The first time you were all in the same room together was actually at the first band rehearsal. At what point did you know these were people you were going to be able to get along with and make music with?

Personally, we clicked right off the bat. Musically it took a couple practices before I was like, “This is definitely going to work.” With bands I’ve been in in the past, you sit down at that first practice and it either clicks or it doesn’t … and then you don’t do the band. With Swearin’ we clicked well as people, but it was a little rocky [musically] when we first started, which was a new experience for me for sure.

Did you consider walking away at that point? Or did you like everyone so much you wanted to give it more time to develop?

Oh, it was never the type of thing where I was like, “This isn’t working. I’m done.” But it wasn’t as natural initially as it was with other bands, and that might have been because this was one of the first bands I did without my sister [Waxahatchee singer/songwriter Katie Crutchfield], so maybe I was a little self-conscious. But I always knew it was something I wanted to keep doing because I loved making music with these people so much.

You mentioned this being one of the first bands you’ve been in without your sister. Was there a sense you needed to branch out and establish your own musical identity?

Absolutely. We were in [now-defunct band] P.S. Eliot together for a long time and … it got to the point where we felt we had done everything we wanted to do. I was starting to write songs when the idea started developing that we were going to stop being in that band together, so I think we just naturally went in different directions.

Outside of music, is there any sense of sibling rivalry between you and Katie? Are you insanely competitive playing flip cup or anything?

[Laughs] It’s funny because she and I are not competitive [people]. We both hate sports. If people are going to be playing games we’re both like, “No,” and we’ll kind of both sit on the sidelines or go for a walk. We both, in most areas of our lives, are repelled by situations where there are competitive aspects. But we have sibling rivalry just as much as anyone else does, just in an unspoken sort of way. It’s not like there’s one specific thing, I guess.

You grew up listening to musicals. Do you still hope to write one someday?

I absolutely do. It’s a long-term dream to write a musical, so hopefully that will happen. It’s intimidating to me because it’s a totally different world. I’ve given a little bit [of thought to the plot]. I’d probably like to collaborate with another person. My sister talked about doing it someday, if we ever have enough time. Hopefully that will happen.

Could you give me a little preview of the plot?

I will just say it’s based on a dream I had, but I think that’s all the detail I can give away right now.

Swearin’, 7:30 p.m. May 29 at Empty Bottle, $10-$12

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