I write this coming out of a bad illness (that I’m still not even sure what it was), and finally able to finish this Weekly Featured Artist piece up just a few days later than intended. I think one of the most important things we find in music is the way it resonates with our nervous system, in a manner that it can even be helpful in healing during some of the worst moments of our lives. That said, this is an artist that, to me, falls nicely into that umbrella of healing music. It is my pleasure to present Infinity Crush as this week’s Weekly Featured Artist!
Began in the Maryland-based bedroom of Caroline White in 2013, Infinity Crush had written a myriad of EPs, including Stumble Pretty and Sometimes Even In My Dreams I Am. Building up plenty of buzz and somber feelings amongst all who would hear her music, White would eventually release her first studio full-length as Infinity Crush – 2016’s Warmth Equation. Putting blistering heartache, raw emotion, and sentimental life experiences that endure within her life up to this point behind angelic vocal melodies, calming guitar accompaniment, haunting effects, and an overall indie, trance-inducing atmosphere amongst the instruments, it was no surprise that Caroline’s work would catch on quickly and widely. Opening on a note as inviting and ethereal as “drowning here with all my friends” (even if that’s not exactly the most inviting of song titles), the album flows mystically into some vivid indie magic with tracks such as “whisper”, “lilacs”, “spoiled”, and the closer, “heaven”.
Each track tells a story, while perhaps not completely detailed to all the specifics, of loss and grieving. The perspectives expressed match a visceral and personal message from writer to listener, but in just enough of an artistic fashion to make this like a meditation of processing one’s own relationship with these experiences. Caroline has expressed a love for poetry by way of sharing poems over her Instagram and Twitter profiles, but what she has done with Warmth Equation is like a poem, or a series of poems, you can tangibly absorb and be enlightened by. For being her first full-length, this album makes for quite the hard-hitting listening experience, as summarized in the Joy Void notes of the release:
‘Warmth Equation is a collection of twelve short songs that work toward interpreting loss and grief through different lenses. It tries to take a realistic, all-encompassing perspective of grief, a view that includes the expected feelings of overwhelming devastation, but also moments of happiness or love or sexuality.‘
Infinity Crush‘s prowess would of course not halt at Warmth Equation. 2019 would see the release of Virtual Heaven, a 13-track wonderland of romanticizations and fantasies formulated by the mind of one heavily invested in her studies of poetry and (when possible) writing up new music in her new hometown in North Carolina. An audible portal taking the listener from this side of the universe to one completely handcrafted by Caroline herself, this was actually my personal introduction to the artist. I first heard her performing music from it during a tour Infinity Crush would embark on supporting Nicole Dollanganger in August of 2019, which went in tandem of the album’s release.
While I have seen photos and performances where Caroline has been joined by a full band, much of her performances up to current date, and at this time of first discovering her, were done completely solo. Needless to say, the way she was able to so vividly capture and project the essence of her work live with nothing but her voice and guitar was quite impressive. Many have taken the stage in a similar fashion and proven to be unbelievably great songwriters, but the way Infinity Crush resonates with a room full of people who stay completely silent in awe of her hypnotic combination of smooth, lulling vocals and catchy guitar compositions – she’s sure to spellbind and win your heart over within the first song or two.
Caroline cites acts such as Alex G and Elvis Depressedly to be among her influences, or at least so in earlier releases. While I certainly have seen the electricity within each act’s live performance – I still sense a unique energy about Caroline’s presence. Her act may show its share of inspiration from either artist, but nonetheless sticks out nicely on its own as well.
Virtual Heaven plays out like a painting. It takes us into the mind of Caroline White and reminds us of what it is to be a human being experiencing, or yearning to experience, life in its purest forms. Given Caroline’s life during the time of writing the album, it makes sense this sort of dreamscape, taking one’s mind and soul out of their physical surroundings and sending it somewhere else, much more pleasant and full of wonder, might take the forefront. I’ve had many a pleasant drives on the countryside, on my way to a less-than-amazing job those mornings, playing back “haze”, “pink moon”, “lunar pull”, and plenty more tracks just to keep my mind at ease in preparation for a long day. For those looking for any sort of mentally-stabilizing element that comes in the form of audio, look no further than Virtual Heaven.
As with many other artists, 2020 was quite a year to navigate. Beyond the challenges of the pandemic, lockdown, and everything that would come thereafter, adjusting to a proverbial ‘new normal‘, a myriad of changes would take place; despite their implications in one way or another, many of these changes would also present new opportunities. As such, it wouldn’t be until March of this year that the world would get a new release from Infinity Crush. Even with four years and a separation from her label being between Virtual Heaven and this release, Caroline never missed a beat.
March 2023 would see the release of none other than sestinas, both a 9-track return to form and somehow, also, a newly cut path for the artist. Crafted with hints of shoegaze, folk, and bluegrass, and an overall indie Western feel – the album carries on the magic of Caroline’s songwriting prowess and has already found wide acclaim from fans new and old. Featuring tracks like “demolition derby”, “hymn”, and “too far” as personal favorites (especially so on the latter; I’m a sucker for slide steel guitar), a familiar bliss appears throughout the album that gives me hints of Feist, Joni Mitchell, and like a more Western-style Cranberries. The album also features collaborations on production from Max Gowen, Travis Harrington, and Jonathan Crews on the aforementioned slide steel guitar.
If there’s one thing Infinity Crush‘s music, from the very beginning even to now, has always been a strong reflection of, it’s a strong DIY work ethic. Even with all the production work and studio sessions visited across her full-lengths, Caroline adheres strongly to a bedroom-style recording and writing for most, if not all of her songs. She has largely done a lot of promotion for herself in these last four years, and even before that, exhibited a work ethic and authenticity as an artist that reflected someone who is truly sincere about what they pen down. This is fairly easy to detect from her lyricism, as honest and raw as it tends to be, but the more I’ve followed Caroline, the more my appreciation has only grown for how real she seems to be, even if her music is mystifying and (in some cases) built upon fantasy.
Fun fact: I’m just now learning, as I write these final thoughts – Caroline was briefly a member of Maryland-based band Teen Suicide, providing viola and backing vocals between 2012 and 2013. She also provided similar duties to Julia Brown from 2013 to 2014. Given both have become fairly prominent names over the years, it feels surprising to not have known this sooner. However, it makes me all the more proud to have seen Caroline cut her own path and go the route she has with her solo music.
At any rate, as mentioned in a previous paragraph – the embodiment of a DIY attitude and not being afraid to express one’s truest self is a theme of sorts amongst most of my WFAs up to this point, or at least certainly over the last few I’ve done. Infinity Crush is of no exception to that mantra, but to me, her uniqueness as an expressionist, a true poet of her own regard, is a consistent factor that keeps me coming back each and every time. As much as she knows how to hurt, she knows how to love and how to feel – and even if that’s some of the more simple points by which to connect with other human beings on, sometimes it’s nice to have such an angelic voice speak for you on what you feel. Especially when you yourself struggle to find the words.
Infinity Crush, or Caroline White, plays out a little more sparsely these days, but that only makes the live shows she does all the more special. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? One thing’s for sure, you will find no absence of love, passion, poetry, and honest expression amongst any place in her discography you delve into. Be sure to follow Infinity Crush, and infinitely fall in love with her music, at her Bandcamp, Instagram, and Twitter!