Prior to launching Betsy Ross in late 2013, singer/guitarist Charity Crowe logged time as a solo artist, though she quickly learned her aggressive approach was a poor fit for the assorted coffeehouses where she typically found herself performing.

Prior to launching Betsy Ross in late 2013, singer/guitarist Charity Crowe logged time as a solo artist, though she quickly learned her aggressive approach was a poor fit for the assorted coffeehouses where she typically found herself performing.

“It’s kind of hard to relax and drink coffee with someone yelling that loud,” said Crowe, seated alongside brother and band bassist Schuyler in a downtown coffee shop for an early February interview. “And I had gotten to a point where I was sick of playing solo shows and wanted to get in a band again.”

Initially, the trio, which also includes drummer David Wegner, bonded over a shared love of groups like Modest Mouse, the National and “every band Jack White has ever been a part of,” according to Crowe, and these influences bled heavily into the crew’s admittedly lo-fi March 2014 debut.

“After we released that first demo Cringe came out with an article that said we were a frenetic Modest Mouse, which I’m pretty sure [site founder] Joel [Treadway] meant to be an insult,” Crowe said, and laughed. “But we took it as a compliment because we love Modest Mouse, and if we were doing anything remotely in that realm we were totally cool with it.”

On the band’s new, self-titled EP, which surfaced in late January, the musicians finally come into their own, bashing through four jittery, raw-nerve rock cuts that hinge on Crowe’s forceful vocals, which hit with crash-test impact even in those moments her words exhibit vulnerability.

“I don’t know where I fit,” she sings on “Jean,” though her chest-out delivery suggests the world will be compelled to conform to her rather than the other way around.

The singer attributes this growth, in part, to the bandmates’ increased familiarity with one another.

“A lot of it came from people realizing … this is our thing and not just my thing,” said Crowe, who was introduced to music via her mother (“If she was cooking or cleaning or anywhere around the house there was music playing and she was singing,” she said) and started playing guitar at 13 as a means to exorcise the songs that had filled her mind since childhood. “Everyone is working on it, and everyone wants to put in a piece of themselves into [the music]. We’re all in on this.”

Photo by Meghan Ralston