Sharon Van Etten

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Couldn't find a thread on her. First album was really good, and she just put out a second that's a grower. Thoughts?

AlexPh, Tuesday, 12 October 2010 17:20 (ten years ago) link

I think the new one is a big improvement upon the first, which was pleasant but a little samey. "One Day" is the standout track for me. I've been aching for a studio version ever since hearing her play it on earlier this year. But it's kinda funny, i like the sound of it more coming out of tinny laptop speakers than out of my regular speakers or headphones. It's got this great familiar am radio vibe.

Z S, Tuesday, 12 October 2010 17:27 (ten years ago) link

i like the new one a bunch. it seems a super lazy comparison for an acoustic guitar player but the first half of the lp is kinda early-dylan, to me. she does the steel pedal thing without seeming too retro or affected-country, too.

inimitable bowel syndrome (schlump), Tuesday, 12 October 2010 17:34 (ten years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Sharon covering "Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me"

Pinktits, Monday, 8 November 2010 18:36 (nine years ago) link


she's a marvellous wonder, although i'm a sop who prefers acoustic-y melancholy to midtempo electric

sean gramophone, Monday, 8 November 2010 18:47 (nine years ago) link

three months pass...

Finally giving her an ear -- yeah, this is good stuff.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 14 February 2011 06:23 (nine years ago) link

I love "Epic", which I discovered last autumn on a joyous record store crawl around Williamsburg.

Daniel Giraffe, Monday, 14 February 2011 13:37 (nine years ago) link

she has a good angriness

schlump, Monday, 14 February 2011 18:06 (nine years ago) link

yeah, i fell pretty hard for 'epic' - among other things, it is catchy as hell, i had a different song from it buzzing around my head every day for a good while

brigitte beardo (donna rouge), Monday, 14 February 2011 18:14 (nine years ago) link

I pretty much found because I was in love to be exhausting and unpleasant, possibly because I was introduced to her by hearing her on that Antlers record that was also exhausting and unpleasant, but 'epic' is just so well put-together and her show opening for Junip in which she played it in its entirety was one of the best things I saw last year. really looking forward to the next one, which I guess is being worked on with guy from the National now

rope (lloydwabbitt), Wednesday, 16 February 2011 21:56 (nine years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Interviewing her in an hour and a half. Anybody have a burning question or two for her?

Ned Raggett, Monday, 7 March 2011 18:37 (nine years ago) link

two weeks pass...

My feature/interview is up. Cool person!

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 24 March 2011 23:29 (nine years ago) link

Trying this again, apparently they had to adjust the URL for whatever reason:

Ned Raggett, Friday, 25 March 2011 00:45 (nine years ago) link

nine months pass...

good lord, this new one is awesome

SELF DEPORTATION (Z S), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 03:47 (eight years ago) link

You have the full thing? I hate you.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 24 January 2012 03:52 (eight years ago) link

i....i'm sorry

"give out" is esp great, early on

SELF DEPORTATION (Z S), Tuesday, 24 January 2012 03:53 (eight years ago) link

Really enjoying this so far.

Daniel Giraffe, Monday, 30 January 2012 19:15 (eight years ago) link

This is real good.

kornrulez6969, Monday, 6 February 2012 21:51 (eight years ago) link

i was really disappointed the first time i played this, really disappointed, bc i think the last two are so good & that serpents was amazing in a whole new way. but then i played it again & liked it some more. i don't like the beirut guy. but i'm gonna stick with it. expect progress updates

quick brown fox triangle (schlump), Monday, 6 February 2012 23:05 (eight years ago) link

Finally listened to her latest on the NPR stream after seeing a big Sunday Washington Post interview and reading that my local alt-weekly arts editor loves this--- eh, it's ok. Maybe I need to give it more time. On first listen I do not hear enough variety.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 7 February 2012 14:38 (eight years ago) link

one month passes...

tramp is a very strong record. not my sort of thing, usually, but this is great and really catchy in a classy, subtle way

Delia Derbyshire's Complete Moog Cookery Course (electricsound), Saturday, 17 March 2012 05:31 (eight years ago) link

it's weird to me that this thread isn't drowning in hateration, her rise to prominence is prime indie-hater bait

plastic surgery dizbusters (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Saturday, 17 March 2012 07:27 (eight years ago) link

how so

Delia Derbyshire's Complete Moog Cookery Course (electricsound), Saturday, 17 March 2012 09:15 (eight years ago) link

I like Tramp just fine but it's no patch on Epic.

Simon H., Saturday, 17 March 2012 12:15 (eight years ago) link

I love Warsaw. I think the record in a whole is a grower. Anyway it's good breakup listening.

Shin Oliva Suzuki, Saturday, 17 March 2012 14:16 (eight years ago) link

her rise to prominence is prime indie-hater bait

Well, the new one is awash in guests from Beirut, the National, Wye Oak, Walkmen, Doveman, Julianna Barwick. If you have a problem with current indie, you'd have a problem with this. Me, I thought it sounded a bit like the first Breeders record retrofitted for NPR listeners, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 17 March 2012 14:37 (eight years ago) link

two weeks pass...

not sure what you are on about there, the first breeders? was that pod? this sharon van etten has nothing to do with that kind of demoish sounding indie rock. it's more of a songwriter album in the vein of joni mitchell, cat power etc. excellent stuff, great hooks esp. the first five songs, a dreamy voice which goes to the bone, i didn't dig into the lyrics yet but apparently they are very personal about her trying to survive on the roads of new york, she had no home when she recorded the album. i'd like to know if warsaw has got something to do with joy division, probably not but what hell of a song!

alex in mainhattan, Tuesday, 3 April 2012 21:09 (eight years ago) link

if you want to compare it with a first album that would be much more the first michelle shocked, the texas campfire tapes though this is much more polished and arranged, it is not her first album and it shows.

alex in mainhattan, Tuesday, 3 April 2012 21:14 (eight years ago) link

it's weird to me that this thread isn't drowning in hateration, her rise to prominence is prime indie-hater bait

it surely is but maybe she just won't be big enough to circulate outside the npr-indie enclave.

j., Wednesday, 4 April 2012 05:04 (eight years ago) link

two weeks pass...

I'm a latecomer to her -- have been sort of aware of her as somebody I wanted to check out -- but noticing that she's coming to town next week prompted me to get Epic and Tramp. Enjoying both, need some time to sink in, but I'm looking forward to the show.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Friday, 20 April 2012 14:44 (eight years ago) link

After going back and hearing Epic, I definitely prefer that one. The new one gets too bogged down by that Brooklyn indie approach, which I don't think suits her as well.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Friday, 20 April 2012 14:47 (eight years ago) link

what would you say defines "that Brooklyn indie approach" exactly?

caulk the wagon and float it, Friday, 20 April 2012 15:12 (eight years ago) link

lol i know that was super weird and vague, i guess just the vibe of the whole album, it sounded a lot like latter-day National albums (which makes sense, given the producer) and Walkmen albums. which is fine for those bands, but i don't think the sound works as well with Sharon's voice. i think she needs something a little more gritty and raw and not so, i don't know, NPRish.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Friday, 20 April 2012 15:19 (eight years ago) link

Dag, she puts on a good show. Terrific performer, great lovely voice, she's touring with a really sharp band. Nice range in the set, from quiet murmury moments to some real howling anthemic rock.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Wednesday, 25 April 2012 14:00 (eight years ago) link

one month passes...

warsaw's cool

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Tuesday, 29 May 2012 00:20 (eight years ago) link

two weeks pass...

tipsy otm.
her show in manchester was spellbinding from start to finish, with a tiptop backing band to boot.

For bodies we are ready to build pyramids (whatever), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 21:12 (eight years ago) link

warsaw's cool

yeah i like the new album quite a bit but i also keep just playing this song over and over

yorba linda carlisle (donna rouge), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 21:20 (eight years ago) link

six months pass...

did anybody hear the demos record
i wanna

kristof-profiting-from-a-childs-illiteracy.html (schlump), Monday, 17 December 2012 06:56 (seven years ago) link

i am listening to this & it kinda slays, fwiw

it's super messy & raw. i was not so crazy about the record & this is like the antidote; not in sweetly recasting the songs as lighter, whisperier sve-classic slow jams but in being boombox & drum machine recordings of someone howling their songs into shape. it's a $7 cdr from the label, also.

kristof-profiting-from-a-childs-illiteracy.html (schlump), Sunday, 23 December 2012 07:22 (seven years ago) link

uuuugh, these are so, so much better. for the love of god, please never record with the national again sharon van etten. that demo version of serpents is an eye opener.

"reading specialist" (Z S), Sunday, 23 December 2012 15:57 (seven years ago) link

serpents was actually the song i liked on the record, i think it works, i am still trying to find the 7" because the b-side is nice, too. & iirc julianna barwick was playing on the record somewhere, so i can sorta feel the idea of SVE + group, rather than just doing her one man band thing. but then there is the guy from beirut singing & it's just, just what is this, you know. the serpents demo is killer anyway, yes. i hear she is real into leonard cohen, it's kinda like hearing this, the pre-edit jam:

kristof-profiting-from-a-childs-illiteracy.html (schlump), Sunday, 23 December 2012 20:24 (seven years ago) link

some of the lyrical swaps in serpents are kinda fascinating btw

kristof-profiting-from-a-childs-illiteracy.html (schlump), Sunday, 23 December 2012 20:35 (seven years ago) link

three weeks pass... --A video of Sharon covering touring mate Nick Cave's _Boatman's Call_ cut, "People They Ain't No Good", during a radio session. It's really lovely. Skip to 1:20 for the performance.

Darvin H.A.M. (AlexPh), Sunday, 13 January 2013 08:17 (seven years ago) link

four months pass...

i really like the warbling aspect of her singing in "give out", where she allows her voice to drift off key in a manner reminiscent of the built to spill guy and the clap your hands say yeah guy. are there other female singers who sing in this very indie style?

Treeship, Thursday, 30 May 2013 02:17 (seven years ago) link

Kristen Hersh?

☉.☉☂ (unregistered), Thursday, 30 May 2013 14:12 (seven years ago) link


☉.☉☂ (unregistered), Thursday, 30 May 2013 14:12 (seven years ago) link

also Amy Annelle. I have to say that the CYHSY guy's voice is one of my least favorite sounds in music.

☉.☉☂ (unregistered), Thursday, 30 May 2013 14:21 (seven years ago) link

yeah, you are not alone in thinking that. but you are not with me. that album came out when i was 15 or something though so i think that crackling, off-key sound, affected as it is, is a thing that works for me when it is done well. also i see it as a variation of jeff mangum's singing voice, and ITAOTS was super-formative to me.

the strange and important sound of the synthesizer (Treeship), Thursday, 30 May 2013 14:26 (seven years ago) link

but i can see how it would sound grating to other people, kind of like the grumbling, 90s, pearl jam voice is just the worst sound ever for me. thanks for the tips.

the strange and important sound of the synthesizer (Treeship), Thursday, 30 May 2013 14:27 (seven years ago) link

I heard the CYHSY album about a year after I first heard Neutral Milk Hotel, and I think I was put off by the NMH-isms of the former. It seems like they roughly copped the lo-fi kookiness of old Elephant 6 band but left out all the eerie horn arrangements and guitar fuzz and self-mythologizing lyrics and weird production choices and everything else that made NMH interesting, so in the end they were just a run-of-the-mill "quirky" indie rock band. Jess Mangum's tuneless vocal freakouts worked well within the context of his songs because he was capable of singing sweetly and tunefully when he wanted to, whereas the CYHSY's guy just grated and bleated along 100% of the time (at least to my ears) like a metal dude who doesn't know when to take his growling down a notch. I dunno, maybe I'd like the band better if I went back and listened to them now. in some ways I was a much harsher critic in 2006 than I am now.

☉.☉☂ (unregistered), Thursday, 30 May 2013 14:55 (seven years ago) link

lol, grumbling, 90s Pearl Jam stuff was just about all I listened to when I was 15.

☉.☉☂ (unregistered), Thursday, 30 May 2013 14:56 (seven years ago) link

the best place to start with Amy Annelle is The Cimarron Banks (and after that, Songs for Creeps by The Places) btw. 'Forever In-Between' is a pretty good example of the vocal trick you're looking for.

☉.☉☂ (unregistered), Thursday, 30 May 2013 15:02 (seven years ago) link

xp i see what you mean, and i agree with you that cyhsy are incapable of making an album as rich as in the aeroplane over the sea -- they are just not the same class of band -- but still, the lo-fi, warbling quirkiness seemed like a durable schtick to me in high school, and i really loved "the skin of my yellow country teeth" because it was anthemic but the singer sounded, at the same time, drunk in a vulnerable way. in general too, i am just biased toward idiosyncratic singers... dylan and nico are my favorite vocalists.

the strange and important sound of the synthesizer (Treeship), Thursday, 30 May 2013 15:03 (seven years ago) link

i'm listening to forever in between now and it is perfect, thanks.

the strange and important sound of the synthesizer (Treeship), Thursday, 30 May 2013 15:05 (seven years ago) link

I really like the backing track of "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth", actually. it would be perfect if some 90s indie guy like Steven Malkmus was singing over it. make this happen!

☉.☉☂ (unregistered), Thursday, 30 May 2013 15:15 (seven years ago) link

glad you like the Amy Annelle song. I feel like I'm the only person in the world (or ILM, anyways) who stans for her.

☉.☉☂ (unregistered), Thursday, 30 May 2013 15:17 (seven years ago) link

yeah i like it a lot, but i have a serious soft spot melancholy female singer songwriters.

the strange and important sound of the synthesizer (Treeship), Thursday, 30 May 2013 15:18 (seven years ago) link

I hope everyone interested in this thread has given the excellent Torres album a listen.

boxedjoy, Thursday, 30 May 2013 16:44 (seven years ago) link

eleven months pass...

And yes, that Torres album is good. Don't ignore Shelby Earl either!

Anyway, for this year -- Sharon's new album is streaming:

Ned Raggett, Monday, 19 May 2014 16:16 (six years ago) link

Man, this is sad, heavy stuff even for an SVE record. It's great, but some of these songs are like having somebody stand on your throat.

Evan R, Tuesday, 20 May 2014 19:58 (six years ago) link

Obviously she touched on an abusive relationship on her first couple albums, but there's an ugliness and physicality on these songs that makes those earlier accounts seem whitewashed by comparison. There's so much trauma here it hurts; it breaks my heart that she went through all of this

Evan R, Tuesday, 20 May 2014 20:06 (six years ago) link

two months pass...

the previous albums really didn't do much for me, but this one is hitting the spot.

I dunno. (amateurist), Wednesday, 13 August 2014 20:45 (six years ago) link

"afraid of nothing" is a showstopper

ciderpress, Tuesday, 19 August 2014 12:47 (six years ago) link

two months pass...

I think "are we there yet" is one of my favorite albums of the year.

akm, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 18:22 (five years ago) link

That's because it's brilliant.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 19 November 2014 06:12 (five years ago) link

The arrangements on this feel really rudimentary in that aggravating US indie way, which is a shame because with a big more care I feel like some of these songs could really be incredible. Still, 'Your Love Is Killing Me' is amazing.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 19 November 2014 09:23 (five years ago) link

I feel like taking every musician that played on this aside and gently explaining that it's okay for them to play a note off the beat every now and again. Virtually every song drags as a result, especially the stripped-down piano-led one in the middle.

Matt DC, Thursday, 20 November 2014 10:31 (five years ago) link

that seems to be a common quality of "confessional" singer-songwriter stuff, where somehow the straightlaced quality of the playing is supposed to match the confessional sincerity of the lyrics. obv there are exceptions.

I dunno. (amateurist), Thursday, 20 November 2014 21:19 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

what is it about? this blancmange of song writing tropes agree very straight laced arrangements, conventional etc singer songwriter, yes yes all that but despite this I am getting more and more pulled into the swirl of van etten she is very charming and her stuff sounds authentic and heady whatever that means i mean a conventional singer songwriter still great? clearly the word conventional is the problem here who cares right just listen to the ebb and flow and get swept away by the romance of feeling something imagine that emotion still working in 2015 what a crazy thought

Hinklepicker, Wednesday, 28 January 2015 06:50 (five years ago) link

three months pass...

new(est) song from the ep coming out in a week or so, every bit as good as the best stuff from are we there imo

slothroprhymes, Wednesday, 27 May 2015 17:32 (five years ago) link

reviewed the i dont want to let you down ep, not an earth shaking project but 5 good to great songs and as a huge SVE fan i aint complaining about that

slothroprhymes, Monday, 8 June 2015 21:25 (five years ago) link

one year passes...

She's an actress on that new Netflix show "The OA". She's good.

Everything Moves Towards The Sun (Ross), Tuesday, 20 December 2016 04:12 (three years ago) link

I just now discovered that in the credits. Also, fuck this show.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Tuesday, 20 December 2016 04:34 (three years ago) link

is she pregnant? I think I saw a post of her on fb that gave me that impression. I love her albums unreservedly.

I want to watch this show but I hear it will make me give up all hope on life

akm, Tuesday, 20 December 2016 05:37 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Man tramp is classic

done and dusted (Ross), Friday, 4 May 2018 06:21 (two years ago) link

Man like Olsen she’s singing about an abusive ex that should go duck themselves

done and dusted (Ross), Friday, 4 May 2018 06:25 (two years ago) link

Are We There real classic too

niels, Friday, 4 May 2018 11:49 (two years ago) link

eight months pass...

Three songs from the new album due 18th January have come out and they are all excellent! I think I like the spooky Jupiter 4 best but the title song Seventeen which is nicely building up to her primal scream is great too. I am very intrigued about the rest of the album.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Saturday, 12 January 2019 14:35 (one year ago) link

“seventeen” blew me away

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Saturday, 12 January 2019 14:37 (one year ago) link

never thought much of anything she done previously, but am riding hard for "Comeback Kid"

veronica moser, Saturday, 12 January 2019 17:53 (one year ago) link

this album is gonna kick my ass, emotionally

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Thursday, 17 January 2019 15:34 (one year ago) link

Brad otm & I can't wait.

Trying to decide whether I should listen at my desk today, or hold out till the drive home.

The thing from the popular "That Thing" song (bernard snowy), Friday, 18 January 2019 12:35 (one year ago) link

I'm not sure what I think about this at all - the first few songs are ruined by bad arrangements and production yet again but Comeback Kid and Seventeen are terrific.

Matt DC, Saturday, 19 January 2019 12:25 (one year ago) link

Didn't feel it until watching the Jimmy Kimmel vid, but Seventeen really channels some Bruce.

eva logorrhea (bendy), Saturday, 19 January 2019 13:20 (one year ago) link

I'm not sure what I think about this at all - the first few songs are ruined by bad arrangements and production yet again but Comeback Kid and Seventeen are terrific.

― Matt DC, Saturday, January 19, 2019 5:25 AM (one hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

idk i think the arrangement of the first song is perfect with those spaced-out piano chords, and while i haven’t gotten into “memorial day” as a song yet i really love the brief dip into trip-hop

“comeback kid” -> “jupiter 4” -> “seventeen” is absolutely the core of the record tho

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Saturday, 19 January 2019 14:04 (one year ago) link

also really love the bounciness of “you shadow”

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Saturday, 19 January 2019 14:05 (one year ago) link

This new one sounds pretty good to me, and the songs are good, but the whole languid-vocals-over-robotic-rhythms seems a strange, kind of over-familiar choice. .

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 19:26 (one year ago) link

I don't love this album nearly as much as Are We There or Tramp; and I agree that the production choices here make the album seem slightly ... generic. Seventeen is a great song but I'm struggling to recall what the other songs sound like.

akm, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 20:29 (one year ago) link

actually you know what this album reminds me of? the last warpaint album (and the one before it slightly), at least productionwise. Sounds good but I feel like it also dilutes some of the impact of the songs, some of them mixed to a point where they just sound soupy.

akm, Thursday, 31 January 2019 04:18 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

V. nice new song, a soundtrack cut

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 13 October 2020 18:01 (one week ago) link

^ Just heard this song this weekend, and have been listening to it on repeat -- it's really good!

Frobisher, Monday, 19 October 2020 02:57 (three days ago) link

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