Posts Tagged ‘Sharon Van Etten’

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.

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. Some are musicians Van Etten herself admired in her early days (Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams, and Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon of Big Red Machine), some are peers (Courtney Barnett, IDLES), and others are part of a younger generation of innovators (Shamir, St. Panther). What they all share is embodied by epic–a musician frankly communicating them-self through the power of music.

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

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!

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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

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Remind Me Tomorrow was written in stolen time. In the four years since Are We There, Van Etten guest-starred in The OA, performed in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks revival, and wrote her first film score and song for TV – for Kathering Dieckmann’s Strange Weather Tig Notaro’s show Tig, respectively. Van Etten also had a child, and began studying psychology. In the scraps of hours between these endeavors, Remind Me Tomorrow was born.

Working with producer John Congleton, Remind Me Tomorrow reveals piano keys that churn, deep drones, distinctive sharp drums. Originally a piano ballad, “Comeback Kid” evolved into a dark, menacing anthem. “Seventeen” began as a Lucinda Williams-esque dirge, but winds up a star-spangled nod to Springsteen, exploring gentrification and generational patience. The breadth of Van Etten’s new passions have inflected Remind Me Tomorrow with a wise, warped-time perspective. She explains, “I want to be a mom, a singer, an actress, go to school, but yeah, I have a stain on my shirt, oatmeal in my hair. I feel like a mess, but I’m here. Doing it. This record is about pursuing your passions.” This is Remind Me Tomorrow, fusing a pained attentive realism and radiant lightness about new loves.

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

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Singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten experienced a lot of change after the release of her last album, 2014’s Are We There, and they’re the kind of life-altering shifts newfound romantic partnership, motherhood, career advancements—that are all but destined to reveal themselves in one’s art. And here, on her fifth studio effort Remind Me Tomorrow, those evolutions are apparent in a powerful sonic swerve, and in Van Etten’s desire to explore both nostalgia and rebirth, and maybe even how they intertwine.

Remind Me Tomorrow was the first great rock album of the year, and it would behoove any and all of Van Etten’s fans, even those who staunchly prefer her folk-leaning material, and rock ‘n’ roll aficionados of all stripes to open their ears (and their hearts) to this beautifully executed pivot. And for all its bold sonic upheavals—the addition of drum machines and electric shred and cavernous synth Remind Me Tomorrow maintains Van Etten’s gothic sensibilities.

Sharon Van Etten was truly one of the great lyricists of the ’10s, but with this breathtaking project, she’s proved an artistic pliancy her contemporaries may not possess. She hit her stride with Are We There, but here she’s not even on the ground.