Sharon Van Etten ~24,000 Listeners
Sharon Van Etten is a singer/songwriter and guitarist from New Jersey. Though currently based in Brooklyn, along with countless other aspiring indie musicians, she manages to avoid the trend following and bandwagon-hopping so prevalent in indie circles these days. Instead, Van Etten opts for a more subdued musical approach, chosing to write honest and authentic melody-driven songs in a scene currently dominated by atmospheric and reverb-fueled soundscapes. On her new album Epic, she improves upon this basic formula, adding pedal-steel, drums, and accordion to support her guitar and voice. This approach results in a lush alt-country influenced sound that never really bites back, but handily avoids ever sounding lazy or tired. At her most aggressive, Van Etten recalls Liz Phair. But although the jangle-pop guitar and bitter-sounding vocals on the opening track “A Crime” instantly remind me of Phair’s “Help Me Mary”, off her 1993 opus Exile in Guyville, Van Etten is neither shocking nor scary in the way that Phair was in that era. In many ways this is a good thing. Van Etten is projecting a calm maturity with this record, and is able to communicate that with her lofty voice and crisp sounding guitar. On Epic, she utilizes a fairly simple formula combined with a lot of heart to create one of the better albums of the year, proving to me that sometimes a simple approach can lead to something musically extraordinary. In that respect, this album is more like Perfume Genius’ Learning than anything else from this year, except without all the soul-crushing depression!
Anyway, after a demanding and lengthy tour which included a stop at the Pitchfork Music Festival in June, Sharon Van Etten is coming to BAR in New Haven, Connecticut! The show takes place January 19th, and is absolutely free! Come on out and watch the show, buy a CD, and support indie music in Connecticut. More information can be found over at the Manic Productions official website. Download her new record below to check her out. Oh, and she’s a major qt too.
- A Crime
- Peace Signs
- Save Yourself
- Don’t Do It
- One Day
- Love More
Best Tracks: A Crime, Peace Signs