Posts Tagged ‘Sharon Van Etten’

Sharon Van Etten contemplates life and love and the accompanying kaleidoscope of emotions.” Throughout her discography, consisting of six sublime studio albums, the singer/songwriter has consistently merged the dark and the dazzling, proving herself to be one of the best lyricists of the 2010s.

This Spring Sharon Van Etten released “We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong“, her sixth and most instrumentally diverse record in a storied 13-year career. Before releasing her debut, “Because I Was in Love“, in 2009, and forging a blueprint of heavy, sometimes sparse, emotional upheavals, Van Etten worked as a publicist for Ba Da Bing Records and sold handmade, self-released CDs. Now, a half-dozen LPs and more than a decade later, Van Etten has never been side-lined by formulaic exhaustion each of her projects tap into similar emotional headspaces, but never flirt with redundancy. She’s enigmatic and self-aware; graceful and humorous understanding of what weight a song can hold, what reactions restraint can provoke.

Van Etten’s journey to where she is now has been a slow burn, as she’s patiently amassed a discography that’s always remaking itself sonically. Each record has built an empire out of the one predating it, and Van Etten’s work has become a cornerstone in indie rock through consistency, experimentation and brilliance—and her collaborations with Josh Homme, Norah Jones and Angel Olsen, among others, showcase her adaptability, how she can so comfortably fit into any song with anyone. (She’s even linking up with Julien Baker and reuniting with Olsen for the powerhouse Wild Hearts Tour this summer.)

As the Brooklyn singer/songwriter celebrates “We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong“, another triumphant document of romance, pitfalls and joys, in a discography patented by it, is highlighting each project’s acclaim. Below we look at all six Sharon Van Etten albums, which range from gentle acts of anti-romantic balladry to powerful declarations of hard-earned healing.

Because I Was in Love (2009)

Van Etten’s debut chronicles the balance between disaster and joy in love, exploring the improbability of easy, happy endings. It’s not as instrumentally rich as her subsequent records, but there’s a raw power that beautifully upends our perceptions of the bounds a singer/songwriter project has to abide by. The place of intimacy from which Van Etten has worked is always palpable and addicting, and “Because I Was in Love” exists as proof.

Sharon Van Etten’s first recordings are among her most delicate. “Consolation Prize,” the second song on her debut “Because I Was In Love” is a spare and beautiful venture in plucking. The narrator of this tune doesn’t want to be someone’s last choice, or even their second. “The moral of the story / is don’t walk away again,” Van Etten warns. “No, I’ll never be your consolation prize.”

“For You” is still a standout in her catalogue, with that intoxicating “I was running home to you / I was hoping that you knew” melody; “I Wish I Knew” remains her most triumphant opener, as she immediately leans into the vulnerable song writing she’s made her blueprint. “I wish I knew what to do with you,” she sings on the track, capturing the gist of the entire record: a tender, brilliant testament to love’s greatest confusions.

Epic (2010)

With her second album, “Epic”, Van Etten perfectly built off her debut effort in a concise way, adding depth and rich textures to a shaped voice and daring, outspoken lyrics in just seven tracks. What sets her apart from many contemporaries is how she chooses to open herself up, as she chronicles second-person interactions with a memorable eye for self-analysis. “Don’t leave me now, you might love me back,” she sings on “One Day,” her best pre-“Tramp” tune.

On this track from 2010’s “epic”, Van Etten is all of a sudden an emboldened troubadour, chasing the sounds of an adventure. She starts the song unsure: “I was somewhat afraid / I was something.” But, after a too-short couple of minutes of bouncing drum and choral backing vocals, she’s awake and self-assured: “When I woke up I was already me / And I am not afraid / I am something.”

Sharon Van Etten is a master slow-burner, and “Love More,” the album kicker from “epic“, is a particularly beautiful shedding of the wax. Her retelling of an emotionally abusive relationship, and a way of coping with the aftermath of it, is sad but cathartic.

The synth-driven closing track “Love More” got a lot of attention because Bon Iver covered it, but, on its own, is one of Van Etten’s most affecting codas. (“You chained me like a dog in our room / It made me love, it made me love, it made me love more” is still a heater of a lyric couplet.) When “Because I Was in Love” arrived in our hearts in 2009, Van Etten was drawing comparisons to Marissa Nadler and Norah Jones (with whom she would later collaborate); by the time she wrote “Epic” a year later, she’d surpassed both of them completely.

Tramp (2012)

She pivoted to Jagjaguwar for her next album, “Tramp”, and has remained at the label since. But in the years since 2014, when that fourth record, “Are We There” arrived, something happened. Actually, a lot of things happened: Van Etten started a romantic relationship with her once-drummer and now-partner Zeke Hutchins, went back to school at Brooklyn College, secured a recurring role on the Netflix show The OA and had a baby—in that order. 

It takes some courage to admit “I am bad at loving.” Using clever rhymes (“Well, well, hell”) and folksy acoustic guitar, Van Etten looks back on a soured relationship and shares the blame for its demise. The track, which Van Etten says was inspired by Leonard Cohen (and also the “Kevin” who’s referenced on the preceding track) is one of the best on “Tramp“.

Produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, “Tramp” is Van Etten’s most forward creation, littered with angry ballads of isolation and mistrust. The production of this record is plucky and visceral, an industrial precursor of the detouring, harmonious leap she would make, instrumentally, on “Are We There” two years later. When she goes up a register on the scoffing, jangly “Warsaw,” in come stark, clamorous echoes of that familiar heartache Van Etten has consistently plucked from her own emotional repertoire. But the shining parts of “Tramp” arrive when she comes back around and tilts the spotlight away from herself.

Love is torture. What do you do when a relationship is clearly toxic, but the feelings are so strong, so all-consuming? In the case of this song’s narrator, you freeze. Van Etten said writing the song was her “therapy.” But it might be useful for more than just herself: The signs of an unhealthy relationship (“Break my legs so I won’t walk to you / Cut my tongue so I can’t talk to you / Burn my skin so I can’t feel you”) show themselves in varying ways, and Van Etten’s assessment is a look at the very worst. But it’s a song that moves and stirs, drawing more empathy out of me than I knew was possible from an anti-love song.

On “Kevin’s,” she strains her voice while singing of someone else’s self-destruction, lamenting, “You dig your own grave / Buried in masculine pain all the time”; on “We Are Fine,” she helps a friend out of a panic attack.

During “Serpents,” the album’s lead single and Van Etten’s most eruptive and punishing track, she pleads for the simple act of consideration, belting, “I had a thought you would take me seriously,” before the memorable, racing choral breakdown. 

Above it all, “Tramp” is about healing, both individually and in relationships. “I want my scars to help and heal,” she sings on “All I Can.” On the two previous records, Van Etten sang of a world stopped while the pain came rushing in; on “Tramp“, she decided to keep moving forward through the crumbling.

Are We There (2014)

Are We There” showcases what we’ve come to love about Van Etten: The New Yorker is self-possessed in the most beautiful ways. This record came into the peripherals of many listeners by way of Twin Peaks: The Return, when Van Etten performed “Tarifa” at the Bang Bang Bar at the end of episode six. Beyond that cameo, “Tarifa” is Van Etten’s prettiest song, sandwiched between the intoxicating, electronic “Our Love” and the nervous, stark “I Love You But I’m Lost.”

The heart of “Are We There” is its finale, “Every Time the Sun Comes Up,” which endures as a declaration of the record’s anti-romantic ethos. “People say I’m a one-hit wonder / But what happens when I have two?” she sings on the track, before obliterating the song’s anonymous subject with the “I washed your dishes, but I shit in your bathroom” line. “Are We There” is a bridge between “Tramp” and “Remind Me Tomorrow”; an immense follow-up to the former and a bold, gentle predecessor to the latter.

While she’s spent plenty of time studying despair, Sharon Van Etten knows her way around a love song—a real one, with butterflies aplenty and googly, awestruck eyes for days. “Our Love” sort of straddles love’s light and dark sides. The chorus, just a repeated crooning of “it’s our love” and “in our love” and, eventually, “it’s all love” exists in the light side. The verses, however, are more uncertain. The droning drum loop lopes along as twangy, sorrowful guitar lulls you into a trance, leaving the listener with the responsibility of deciding whether or not this song has a happy ending. One thing’s for sure, though, someone rescued her from the bottom of the “well,” making everything else worth it.

How we approach that banality of everyday life, however, is up to us. Van Etten has said “Every Time the Sun Comes Up,” a brooding and funny take on the humdrum, started as a joke, just the product of some late-night silliness with her bandmates, but that doesn’t make it any less smart. It’s both a look at burdernous rituals and some kind of deeply personal anecdote, but Van Etten makes them feel like one in the same. It’s a song about nothing and everything—and also weed (“People say I’m a one hit wonder / But what happens when I have two?”). Or—wait—was she actually referring to her well-performing singles? The great thing about Sharon Van Etten is that we’ll never need to know.

Remind Me Tomorrow (2019)

“Remind Me Tomorrow” careens from the almost-galloping pace of songs like “Comeback Kid” or the third-verse howl of single Seventeen, to more restrained and almost crooning tracks like “Malibu” or “I Told You Everything“.

The three singles ahead of the album—”Comeback Kid,” “Jupiter” and “Seventeen”—are intense and grandiose in a way we haven’t seen before from Van Etten. She’s working with a new toolbox, using more synth and beats and production. It’s an exciting display of rock ’n’ roll and a noticeable break from her folk-leaning beginnings,

The release of “Comeback Kid,” the first single from “Remind Me Tomorrow” was when we realized 1. the old Sharon can’t come to the phone right now and 2. the new Sharon is a dark queen. Of all the songs on this record, this slingshot is the most intense, and it also marks a pivotal point in Van Etten’s career, when she introduced us to a whole new trove of her capabilities as a musician. Van Etten returned with firepower, a song so loud and alive we couldn’t tune it out.

The intensity of “Seventeen” matches that of the two previously released singles from “Remind Me Tomorrow, “Comeback Kid” and “Jupiter 4.” We’ve always counted on Van Etten to bring excellent lyrics and brooding melodies to the table, but we’ve never heard her like this—emboldened and chasing a darker, more driving strand of rock ‘n’ roll. “Seventeen” is almost Springsteen-esque in its grandiosity and nostalgia, though it’s more charged. The track’s companion video is, as Van Etten put it in a tweet, a “love letter” to New York City. In the clip, Van Etten chases a perfectly cast “shadow” of her former self (seriously—it’s eerie how similar these two look) around NYC, reckoning with her past and remembering when “she used to be 17.” The video is sentimental, but Van Etten is skeptical of youth’s glow, too: “I used to feel free, or was it just a dream?” she sings.

Van Etten gravitated towards synths on this record, thanks in part to indie archetype Michael Cera – they shared a practice space – which sees her formerly guitar-based music open up to new sonic textures. Yet the album remains anchored by Van Etten’s vulnerable, honest and good-humoured lyricism, which while haunted by a recurring “shadow”, glows with the loving perspective of a new mother.

We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong (2022)

We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong” is a career-spanning Van Etten record. She elected to not share any singles prior to the album’s release, making a statement on artistic control, productivity and the dedication she has to her craft. The record beautifully taps into every era of Van Etten’s career, weaving in and out of acoustic ballads, synthy, atmospheric flickers and orchestral compositions fit for high-ceiling chambers or starry amphitheaters. It’s less a follow-up to “Remind Me Tomorrow” and more a first step towards something grander, something Van Etten perhaps hasn’t even figured out yet. “Born” is a magnetic, sprawling opera (“It was something like a window / And I wanted to break free”), while “Headspace” follows as a sensual, brash tune with inversely sublime lyrics (“I want to touch you in the dark”). Lyrically, Van Etten has stripped back her usual approach, trading in on-the-nose dissections for more accessible couplets about desire and moving on.

But instrumentally, she’s never been more experimental, electing to make these songs feel conversational through arrangements that perfectly complement her vocal performances. On every preceding project, Van Etten sounded like she was scratching at some kind of revelation; on “We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong“, she’s made peace with what she has, or hasn’t, discovered.

The Albums:

  • Because I Was in Love (2009)
  • epic (2010)
  • Tramp (2012)
  • Are We There (2014)
  • Remind Me Tomorrow (2019)
  • We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, (2022)

The EPs:

  • Amazon Artist Lounge – EP (2014)
  • I Don’t Want to Let You Down – EP (2015)

Two of the best contemporary singer/songwriter/guitarists, Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, have teamed up for a brand new collaborative song, “Like I Used To” It was shared on Thursday via a video for the duet. John Congleton, who has worked with both artists before, produced the rousing anthem, which starts with vocals from Van Etten, before Olsen takes over and then they join forces, trading lines. To hear and see both of them singing together is quite chill-inducing. When I first heard this song a day before its public premiere.

The Track featuring Dave Hartley of The War On Drugs, Zac Rae of Death Cab For Cutie, and Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes as the backing band. It’s a gorgeous, glorious, soaring track with heart-rending harmonies and a touch of country flavour. Sharon and Angel sound as incredible together as you’d expect, 

Kimberly Stuckwisch directed the accompanying video, which was shot in Los Angeles and Joshua Tree.

Olsen and Van Etten have long been mutual admirers, but have never collaborated together.

“Even though we weren’t super close, I always felt supported by Angel and considered her a peer in this weird world of touring,” says Van Etten in a press release. “We highway high-fived many times along the way…I finally got the courage in June of 2020 to reach out to see if she would want to sing together. I got greedy and quickly sent her a track I had been working on.”

“I’ve met with Sharon here and there throughout the years and have always felt too shy to ask her what she’s been up to or working on,” adds Olsen. “The song reminded me immediately of getting back to where I started, before music was expected of me, or much was expected of me, a time that remains pure and real in my heart.”

There’s no word yet as to whether or not this is a one-off single or part of a larger project.

Earlier this month, Olsen released a new box set, “Song Of The Lark And Other Far Memories” via Jagjaguwar recordings. The set features Olsen’s albums “All Mirrors” and “Whole New Mess” along with a bonus LP titled “Far Memory” and a 40-page book. 

Last month, Van Etten released “Epic Ten” an anniversary reissue of her 2010 Epic album, via Ba Da Bing. It featured covers of the some of the album’s songs by notable artists, including Fiona Apple, Courtney Barnett and Vagabon, IDLES, and more. Van Etten’s most recent new album, “Remind Me Tomorrow”, came out in 2019 via Jagjaguwar Recordings.

Sharon Van Etten’s career since the release of her second album, 2010’s epic is well-known; critically lauded albums, films, and television shows have continually displayed her expanding artistry. Upon its release, epic laid a romantic melancholy over the gravel and dirt of heartbreak without one honest thought or feeling spared. Her songs covered betrayal, obsession, egotism, and all the other emotions we dislike in others and recognize in ourselves. Van Etten’s grounded and clenched vocals conveyed a sense of hope–the notion that beauty can arise from the worst of circumstances.


The resulting epic Ten is a double LP featuring the original album plus the new album of epic covers and reimagined artwork.

Epic” laid a romantic melancholy over the gravel and dirt of heartbreak without one honest thought or feeling spared. Her songs covered betrayal, obsession, egotism, and all the other emotions we dislike in others and recognize in ourselves. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this special album’s release, and to acknowledge the convergence of Van Etten’s present and past work, she asked fellow artists she admired to participate in an expanded reissue, where each artist would cover one different song from epic in their own style.

Released April 16th, 2021

Fiona Apple

The music of Sharon Van Etten offers this strangely familiar ethic and aesthetic. She is Patti Smith finishing a pint of Pilsner as the pool cue cracks in the back of the dive bar. 

Van Etten’s newest release, “Epic Ten”, is unlike any other. In one sense, it’s a reissue of her 2010 sophomore record, Epic. But it’s also much more. The reissue includes covers of each song from the original release from such heavyweights as IDLESLucinda WilliamsCourtney Barnett, and Fiona Apple. In this way, “Epic Ten” is two albums at once in a compact 14 tracks, ranging in creative impact from Van Etten’s ghostly harmonies to IDLES’ industrial wallop. 

The record begins with the acoustic-propelled “A Crime.” The lyrics, saturated with anger and remorse, are also breathy, dreamy. But through the sonic lens of Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Big Red Machine, the song is more electric, like a Radiohead song played through a spotty AM radio connection in a beautiful contrast. “Peace Signs” harkens to ’90s rock ‘n’ roll, part Smashing Pumpkins, part Melissa Etheridge. All the while the kick drum bangs. When IDLES take hold on the record’s flip side, that kick portends guttural screams, an explosion. 

On “Save Yourself,” Van Etten sings over slide guitars. There’s a new eeriness to her voice now—she’s the last person in the Dust Bowl, and she has one last song to sing. Lucinda Williams understands this mood, she was once that person, too. And her rendition is elongated, patient, dark. By “Dsharpg,” Van Etten has become the breeze through cracked slats in the attic. She is the sound of one’s own personal church. Shamir laser focuses this vibe and offers a neon blue candle to pray to on his cover.

Mid-album track “Don’t Do It” is reflective. It’s a gritty electric guitar with an angel moaning in the distance. Van Etten is low-eyed, fed up at the heft while also acknowledging there are better days ahead. It’s bad, but not all bad. When sung by Courtney Barnett and Vagabon, the song is up front, close, in your ear. It’s as if Barnett doesn’t feel the song itself is enough at this point. 

On the album’s penultimate track, “One Day,” Van Etten seems to be remembering the important days now in her rearview mirror. It’s a song she might sing in the tour van, the rest of the band strumming guitars, playing tambourines as the highway stretches past. St. Panther takes the song in the direction of bedroom pop, made with a laptop and the buzz from caffeine at three in the morning.

“Love More” has a solid perspective—it’s the song of someone who’s accepted adulthood and the very personal ups and downs that inevitably come along with that. Friends leave, loved ones pass, but the strength to sing can still grow stronger. Though life is dangerous and dramatic, there is hope, if only borne from your own voice. Perhaps no one knows that better than Fiona Apple. For the one who told us to “fetch the bolt cutters,” fame has been painful. Growth out of that is the only medicine, escape. 

Sharon Van Etten’s “Epic Ten” anniversary reissue arrives on digital platforms tomorrow, and now she’s shared the final advance single: a cover of “Love More” by recent Grammy winner Fiona Apple.

The double-disc “Epic” reissue has already spawned several thrilling updates to old songs: Big Red Machine’s “A Crime”, IDLES’ “Peace Signs”, Shamir’s “Dsharpg”, and Courtney Barnett and Vagabon’s “Don’t Do It”. “Love More” is the closing track to both Epic and Epic Ten, and Fiona Apple puts her mark on the song right from the beginning with newly-added claps and hand drums. Where the original derived its atmospheric power from pulsing synths and the sparing use of percussion, Apple’s take comes with gentle pianos and insistent heartbeat drums.

In a statement, Van Etten wrote about the darkness that inspired “Love More”, and how Apple’s version reframes the song with “the hope it deserves.” She said,

“The emotional rawness and visceral angst and honesty of Fiona Apple’s music was first met by my teenage years, sharing a bedroom with my little sister — who so patiently studied for school as I tried to write, sing, and play guitar in a way I wasn’t ready for yet. Fiona made me want to be a better player. She made me want to have something to say. Although music has always been an important outlet for me, I knew I hadn’t lived like she had. Having no concept of age, I heard her voice as experienced and wise and someone that I wanted to be or to know. I carried her with me.⁣⁣

“The closest we came to meeting was when we played SXSW at Stubbs back to back in 2012 and I teenagerly posed in front of her road case. I dared not overstep the line of comfort at a festival… but her set was incredible. New, and true to herself and vulnerable…⁣⁣
⁣“Love More is the most revealing song about one of the hardest times in my life, and the mark of change. When I admitted I needed help. When I leaned on others and acknowledged my weaknesses, when I was accepted at my lowest of lows, with support, and was able to move on. I was in a dark place when I wrote this song, I was in a safer space when I was able to record it, and now that Fiona’s version will exist in this universe, it helps me feel even farther away from the darkness I had to experience in order to write this song. She brings it life and light. She has given me her hand after all these years… and it is with pure joy to finally share this song in a brand new light by someone I always wished I could be.⁣⁣

“Thank you, Fiona. I admire you so much and now I wish for everyone to hear this song with the hope it deserves. It is so nice to meet you. Xoxo”

In total, Van Etten’s reissue of Epic Ten is a success. She’s achieved the relighting of her past release while doing so with a fresh torch. With hope, the album will burn long and in many hearts.

You can listen to “Love More” below. Epic Ten makes its digital debut tomorrow, April 16th, with physical versions arriving June 11th via Ba Da Bing Records. Besides that, Van Etten will stream an Epic Ten documentary and full-album concert on April 16th and 17th, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Los Angeles venue Zebulon.

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Sharon Van Etten‘s sophomore album “epic” turned ten years old last September and to celebrate, the veteran singer-songwriter will release a deluxe version of the album,epic Ten”. The two-disc collection features the original album on one CD and a collection of covers on the other. Featured artists on the covers disc include Fiona AppleCourtney Barnett and VagabonLucinda WilliamsBig Red Machine (Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon), ShamirIDLES, and St. Panther.

On Wednesday, Sharon Van Etten shared Courtney Barnett and Vagabon’s take on “Don’t Do It”.

This marks the latest collaboration for Barnett and Vagabon, who released a collaborative cover of Tim Hardin‘s folk standard, “Reason To Believe”, back in January. Prior to that, the two had shared the stage—also for a performance of “Reason To Believe”—at the Palace Theatre in Los Angeles on February 14th, 2020. That concert, billed as Courtney Barnett & Friends, served as a benefit for Newport Festivals Foundationand also saw appearances from LuciusSharon Van Etten, Father John MistyWaxahatchee, and more.

Barnett and Vagabon’s take on Etten’s “Don’t Do It” sees an amalgamation of all three artist’s unique styles. Etten’s lyrics present the guidepost for Barnett’s grungy, deadpan delivery that is only bolstered by Vagabon’s delicate, if reserved, backing vocals.

Etten said of Barnett,

Courtney Barnett has been an important musical influence on me since 2014, when we first met at The Neptune theater in Seattle. From the first time we met, I felt like I made an immediate friend. From performing together, to having home hangs in between tours, commiserating with the very specific mixed feelings of tour life assimilating back to home life and figuring out the in between as we have been learning how to nurture our domestic lives while paying attention to our creative selves outside of the album and touring cycle. I admire Courtney’s writing style in that she has such a unique and intimate narrative approach while being personal and funny, without giving too much away. I feel connected to her music and perspective, while always wanting to learn more – and as a friend she has offered me guidance and advice while also being an ear when I have been in a rut or when I am in need of a new approach to look at my writing in a new way.⁣

“Don’t Do It” (By Courtney Barnett Feat. Vagabon) on Ba Da Bing!

May be an image of 1 person, child, sitting and food

The minute we realized that the word Juicebox sounded like the word Jukebox, we knew that volume 3 of our covers series would have something to do with kids. The songs on Busted Juicebox: “Busted Jukebox Vol 3″ are collaborations with friends who are also navigating the unique circumstances of raising children within the structures of a traveling band or within the music world. In many ways diapers and nap schedules replace sex and drugs as the sustaining routines of our touring lives. So many of our friends in the arts have become parents, and it feels comforting to know there is a tribe of artists, nurturing men and women, who are finding their way out there and that we have one another for encouragement and support. These songs on Juicebox were all chosen because of some connection we have to them.
Childhood movie favourite, old lullabies and songs we just understood differently once we became parents ourselves. And considering the circumstances of the last year, and the resulting time we have had with our children, this album has never been more appropriate. We hope you enjoy listening to it.
Special thanks to Sharon Van Etten, M. Ward, T. Hardy Morris, The Secret Sisters, John Paul White, John and Dennis of Deer Tick, Tanya Trotter from The War and Treaty, The Felice Brothers, and the Shrimp Records Family Ant Band.

Have you listened to “In My Room” feat Sharon Van Etten yet? Go forth and do so now! The rest of the joyful and not sad album.

Local Natives and Sharon Van Etten have teamed up on a sublime acoustic single, “Lemon,” which will be one of a quartet of songs on the Natives’ new EP, “Sour Lemon.”

The EP arrives next Friday, a year and a half after the L.A. quintet’s fourth album “Violet Street” (which also spawned a couple of remix EPs). Local Natives have never been ones to release EPs, but, they said on social media, “We’re always working on new music, but songs tend to come at their own pace. There’s something freeing about writing without the goal of an album in mind. It feels like waking up for class only to realize that it’s Saturday and you can sleep in as long as you want. The songs on ‘Sour Lemon’ each have their own long histories but they all finally decided to arrive at the same time. Rather than waiting, we decided to share them as soon as we could.”

“Lemon” follows last month’s single “Statues in the Garden (Arras),” the video for which had lots and lots and lots of lemons.

The contemplative video for “Lemon,” directed by Kenny Laubbacher, features Local Natives’ Taylor Rice and Van Etten strolling on opposite sides of the Los Angeles River (deprecated in the lyric “The L.A. River makes you laugh / You say, why’s a gutter got a name like that?”). Well, it is pretty at that time of night.

The track feels like an expansion of the sound formed on last year’s Violet Street with an expansive guitar solo playing it out. “Arras” is a reference to the town in France where the song was first demoed.

“Lemon”, out at 12AM EST on October 16th

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Sharon Van Etten moved away from New York, what, a couple of months ago? And she’s already making artfully expressionistic black-and-white videos where she wears floppy hats and stares and desert horizons. Nicky and Juliana Giraffe at Giraffe Studios directed the black and white video, which features Van Etten and the dancing duo of Allison and Veronica Huber in the California desert. John Congleton produced the song, which simply has a very cool vibe.

Van Etten had this to say about the video in a press release: “‘Beaten Down’ is about love, patience and empathy. It’s about making life-changing choices and remaining strong enough to see them through.”

Just a year ago, Van Etten shook off all vestiges of stereotypical singer-songwriter fare to release Remind Me Tomorrow, a dank and scuzzy electronic rock record. What’s so marvelous about her new single “Beaten Down” is how she’s managed to keep those sharp, hard textures while turning them toward something more languid and expansive. “Beaten Down” is a song of support and encouragement, and Van Etten delivers it over a miles-deep bass groove, layering her own voice up symphonically and soaring high on the chorus. It sounds like space opening up. It’s the sound of somebody who can breathe.

“Beaten Down”, the new track from Sharon Van Etten, available now on Jagjaguwar Records

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Sharon Van Etten presents the official video for “No One’s Easy to Love” off her latest album Remind Me Tomorrow, it’s her “most atmospheric, emotionally piercing album to date” (Pitchfork). The video was directed by mentor and previous collaborator Katherine Dieckmann, who directed the “Jupiter 4” video and whose photograph graces the cover of Remind Me Tomorrow, and was filmed at Empire State Plaza in Albany, New York.
“Happy to share another video I made with my dear friend Katherine Dieckmann. Stark, simple, raw,” says Van Etten. “She allowed me to be myself as she took the reins with capturing my performance in her favorite part of downtown Albany.”

Van Etten has had an incredible 2019 since the release of Remind Me Tomorrow. She kicked off the year returning to Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Additionally, The New York Times Magazine named lead single “Comeback Kid” one of “The 25 Songs That Matter Right Now,” while “Seventeen” was discussed in depth by Van Etten on Song Exploder, and recognized as a best song of 2019 by ELLE and ESQUIRE. Remind Me Tomorrow continues to garner glowing praise: it’s Exclaim!’s #1 album of the year so far and is featured prominently in mid-year lists

Van Etten continues to sell out tours around the globe in support of Remind Me Tomorrow. She’ll play a slew of summer festivals, including Lollapalooza, Osheaga, Glastonbury, Roskilde, and Greenman, before supporting Bon Iver for two weeks in September.

“No One’s Easy To Love” off Sharon Van Etten’s new album “Remind Me Tomorrow” out now on Jagjaguwar Records

Valiantly braving the rain (a rarity in Los Angeles), and a broken elevator, Sharon Van Etten and her band loaded into KCRW’s basement studio to deliver a dynamic set from her new album, “Remind Me Tomorrow”. A couple of those songs had previously not been available, including favorite “Memorial Day” which we are thrilled to share with you here. Four years after the release of her EP “I Don’t Want to Let You Down”, Sharon released her new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, to the masses. We are excited to host her in our basement studio where she’ll premiere some brand new music off her album release.

Though the melody of the song feels dark and moody, the backstory is very sweet. The chorus, “you will run,” was written before Van Etten became pregnant with her son who is now just under two years old. She described sitting down one day to work on the lyrics as her child was napping, and realizing that soon he would be able to run. It brought her to tears, and helped her to create that juxtaposition between the music and the lyrics.

“We love drama and we love KCRW,” Van Etten said as Jason Bentley described the ordeal involved in getting the band set up this morning. Given how much she appears to be managing on a day to day basis, a little weather and a few extra stairs probably don’t seem like that much drama in the grand scheme of things.

In addition to raising a toddler with her partner she’s pursuing a degree in psychology, and venturing into the worlds of acting and film scoring. Van Etten’s first professional acting gig was in 2016 on the Netflix series The OA. She told Morning Becomes Eclectic how much she related to her character on the show, and the fascinating differences between mining personal experiences to create a character vs. mining them to write songs. “I think the main difference is I’m drawing from a personal space to be somebody else whereas now for my music I’m drawing from a personal place to be myself,” she said.

Exploring the self, and enabling others to do the same is clearly very important to Van Etten. Her goal of becoming a mental health professional was sparked by interactions with fans who would share their stories with so much emotion, and ask her for advice. She said she wants to be able to help people find their outlet.

Morning Becomes Eclectic has long been an outlet for Sharon Van Etten, and the confidence that she’s gained as an artist over the years did not go unnoticed. When asked about it she gave us a perfect description, “It’s like when you go to karaoke and you pull out that Pat Benatar song and you own it.” Van Etten is obviously owning it across the board.

Remind Me Tomorrow out January 18th via Jagjaguwar Records