Posts filed under ‘Sharon Van Etten’
Sharon Van Etten is following her Jagjaguwar debut, “Tramp”, with a 2-CD deluxe edition of the record, featuring the entire original album along with demos for each of the 12 songs. The release is scheduled for November 13th and will include a previously unreleased demo, the acoustic “Tell Me”. The record includes an artistic self-portrait for cover art, and a breakdown of each song taken directly from Van Etten’s personal journal entries. The label has provided a YouTube video link to hear the new track. It’s a pretty song about relationship woes, “Tell me that I’m something that you just don’t love / Tell me that I’m somewhere you don’t want to go / Tell the I’m someplace you don’t want to know / Like the back of your hand / I don’t understand.” Note: Lyrics are unofficial. Image from record label. You can follow Van Etten at twitter. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Sharon Van Etten has a new video out for one of her prettiest songs, “Magic Chords”, from the album “Tramp”, which was released February 7 via Jagjaguwar. Video was directed by Rick Alverson. This video arrives just after SVE blew away a British audience on Later With Jools Holland. You can follow Sharon Van Etten at facebook. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Here’s a new track, “Serpents”, from Sharon Van Etten, whose record “Epic” was Their Bated Breath’s album of 2010. Last year she first released the intricate and passionate single, “Love More”. But this time around, the first single off her new record, “Tramp”, is decidedly more frenetic and rock and roll. Listen below. Her upcoming LP will be released on February 7th via Jagjaguwar Records. The label lists “Serpent” contributors as Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the National, The Walkmen’s Matt Barrick, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, and Doveman’s Thomas Bartlett. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Sharon Van Etten’s lush voice and delicate arrangement is the perfect vehicle for Glass Ghost’s brokenly beautiful “Like a Diamond”, a song the band released on 2009′s “Idol Omen”. The original version featured vocalist Eliot Krimsky’s silvery smooth falsetto. This new version is Van Etten, Krimsky on Wurlitzer, and Mike Johnson on drums. It comes as a free download, courtesy of the artists, and is available here at Other Music digital store. Watch and listen to the original “Like a Diamond” below. – David D. Robbins Jr.
Sharon Van Etten’s voice can silence a room. It’s loaded with so many natural intangibles. She has a clear-lined timbre, fragile as thread. Her emotive ebbs enchant with gentility, like the glacial beauty of poured honey. The last track, “Love More”, on her new seven-track record “Epic”, is the best song of 2010, so far. It opens with the buzzing resonation of a portable harmonium. Van Etten’s voice stretches across her dark dirge like a lullaby, transfixing with lyrics of conspicuous imagery and ambiguous meaning: “Chained, to the wall of our room / Yeah, you chained me like a dog in our room …” Immediately following that line is one of the prettiest vocal melodies you’ll hear; an extended note and fluttery pitch like a ghazal singer.
There’s something really beautiful going on here. The figurative language of the song circles around the often torturous nature of love, coming back full circle to verses of future promise, “She made me love, she made me love, love more …” It’s a song topically chilly and instrumentally warm. Its richly-layered harmonics blend into sliding fricatives, settling on a tone that’s somber, heartbreaking, and intimate as nakedness. There are delicate touches, like the rustle of sandblock, a light vocal reverb, deep resonating drum, beautiful delay-effected guitar moans, and Van Etten’s subtle word intonations.
The small details are Van Etten’s forte. She seems to relish in them, like the notion of love contained in the gentle touching of feet in “Much More Than That” from her 2009 debut album, “Because I Was In Love”: “My toe hit your toe lightly / Your toe met my heel right back / And I don’t think I need much more than that.” Her debut record was largely built on a soft folk foundation, layered harmonies, and light tambourine — allowing Van Etten to spread her vocal melodies like drops of watercolor on textured paper. But the new album sheds some of the singer-songwriter vulnerability and instead finds her with an actual band, a new sharpness, and higher volume. Her sincerity is still there. She’s as personal as ever. However, “Epic” begins with more of a bang than a whimper.
The album opener, “A Crime”, is a bitter reflection on loving too hard, beginning with a roughly strummed guitar and pointed vocals, utilizing Van Etten’s lower register skills. “Peace Signs” is downright explosive, showing a confident singer branching out and finding a different way to use her voice within an aggressive rock and roll structure, built on heavy drums and guitar: “I still dream when I think of you / In the calm of the night / And I don’t know what to do / Peace signs / When I wake up, I am already me / And I am not a afraid, I am something / Peace signs.”
The piano-rollicking ballad, “Save Yourself” (one of the strongest tracks on the record), is a song made for knocking back a half-bottle of Scotch at the local tavern. It lulls with a gracefully rolling chorus, floating vocal harmonies and Cat Power prowess. It’s a bittersweet song about selfishness in a relationship. But listening to Van Etten sing the word “reeling” feels like the whole beauty of world has unfolded into that hazily-tinged sensation one gets being drunk with a good friend: “You still make me smile / As much as I am reeling / It has been awhile … / Don’t you think I know, you’re only trying to save yourself? / Just like everyone else.”
“DsharpG” is the majestically moody companion piece to “Love More”. It’s a spiritual awakening, akin to the sounds of The Velvet Underground, with their spacious noise sprawl and loud drones. The song calls out with pulsing harmonium, stunning vocal scaling, and sparse drum thumps that fade into a musical disintegration of found sounds, inaudible whispers, and a brief faint chorus. “Don’t Do It” interestingly levels out the volume of the instruments with Van Etten’s voice. They get equal-billing so-to-speak, towering into a sound more loud than anything Van Etten has done to date. “One Day” is an elegant plaintive-waltz with a country-tinged chorus that is so open in its musical range one could imagine Loretta Lynn as well as Aimee Mann doing their own versions of the song. Van Etten wondered on “Because I Was In Love” if she’d be a better writer someday. Well, she’s always been a good songwriter, but now she’s broadened into a new range of sounds, which include rock, pop, avant-garde experimentation, and a country-strain of Americana. This is one of the best albums of the year.
Note: Van Etten is currently touring with songstress Marissa Nadler and can be heard in these cities: Sep. 9: Charlottesville, Va. at Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar; Sep. 12: Charlotte, N.C. at The Milestone; Sep. 13: Knoxville, Tenn. at The Pilot Light; Sep. 14: Atlanta, Ga. at 529. (The lyrics referenced in the review are unofficial.)
Their Bated Breath posted about the track “Keep Trying”, back in April, when the song first came out via net-label EardrumsPop. The label asked artists to do collaborations for “Between the Waves” — which became a 3-disc, 40-song affair featuring musicians you may not know, but may come to love. Sharon Van Etten and Marie-Claire Balabanian created this song through online collaboration. This is the first time they’ve played the song together live.
IT MADE ME LOVE: Sharon Van Etten has written one of the best songs I’ve heard in 2010. “Love More” (a new single) may seem simple at first listen, but its sorrowful elegance comes from a lot of intricate work. The song opens with the resonating drone of a portable harmonium reminiscent of the violin buzz in the Velvet Underground’s “Heroin”. The instrument sounds like an accordion. Then enters the best instrument of the bunch — Van Etten’s voice, which is part Appalachian lull, part songbird. She begins with a dark, strange and lonely line, “Chained, to the wall of a room / Yeah, you chained me like a dog …” — before transitioning into what can only be called the Van Etten yodel. It’s something she does in this song — extending the vocal note and alternating pitch. It’s a Middle Eastern technique and sound too, like those female singers one hears paired off with a sitar player. It’s so soft, so subtle and heartbreaking. (Listen to how she sings the word “doomed” or “love”.) Van Etten’s stretched notes and rich harmonies are the perfect companion to the harmonium — her voice playing across it like a slow bow sliding over violin strings. In a video taken by WXPN 88.5, located at the University of Pennsylvania, you can see how the drum work in the song is accomplished with a microphone inside a kick drum (that is actually played) — with a marching drum and floor tom sitting in front of it, in a row, serving as double resonators. It’s a warm, rich sound like a soft bass drum. There’s a sandblock if you listen closely, brass tambourines, and a beautiful guitar melody pushed through a delay effects unit.
“Then the day was night /
You were high / You were high /
When I was doomed /
And dying for … /
With no light / With no light /
Tied to my bed
I was younger then / I had nothing to spend
But time, on you
But it made me love, / It made me love, / It made me love more.”