Tag Archives: Sharon Van Etten

Big Ups: Shovels & Rope Pick Their Bandcamp Favorites

Shovels Rope
Photo by Curtis Millard

Shovels & Rope, the folk-rock duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, represent the platonic ideal of a musical partnership. Since their initial meeting in 2005, by way of Charleston’s small but-impassioned rock scene, the musicians have gotten married (10 years and counting!), had two young children, and oh, yeah — become one of the biggest bands in the south, releasing four albums, plus two collaborative projects; and headlining multiple tours. They’ve even launched an annual, music gathering in their adopted home of Charleston, the High Water Festival. (This year’s lineup features Leon Bridges, Jenny Lewis, Mitski, and more.) Talk about #relationshipgoals.

It makes sense, then, that these partners of more than a decade share similar tastes where their Bandcamp favorites are concerned; their picks reveal a mutual, deep-seated passion for Americana, rock-and-roll, and heartland folk — further reflected by their new album, By Blood, which puts a distinct Shovels & Rope spin on the aforementioned styles. Bandcamp caught up with the pair amid their present headlining trek through the U.S.

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This Week’s Essential Releases: Post-Punk, Pop, Dark Ambient and More

7 essential

Welcome to Seven Essential Releases, our weekly roundup of the best music on Bandcamp. Each week, we’ll recommend six new albums that were released between last Friday and this Friday, plus pick an older LP from the stacks that you may have missed.

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Album of the Day: Sharon Van Etten, “Remind Me Tomorrow”

Remind Me Tomorrow is technically Sharon Van Etten’s first album in four years, although she’s certainly kept herself busy in the interim personally (the birth of her first child last year) and professionally (her recent, unexpected turn to acting, kickstarted by a starring role on the Netflix drama The OA). She also revealed in a recent interview that she demoed over 40 songs for this album, opting to record the most experimental tracks with producer John Congleton to make Remind Me Tomorrow. Here, Van Etten trades the gothic Americana instrumentation of her past records for an assortment of prepossessing synth sounds, the range of which is vast without sounding scattered or without focus. (Nor does she lose the signature darkness that’s shaded her prior work.)

“I Told You Everything” begins with a pulsating hum, contrasted quickly by a striking piano, as Van Etten sings simply, “Sitting at the bar, I told you everything… You said, ‘Holy shit.’” This casually-direct, occasionally-caustic lyrical approach has played an intrinsic role in Van Etten’s art from the start; her most recent effort, 2014’s excellent Are We There, showcased a particularly intimate feel. Remind Me Tomorrow, too, strikes a balancing act between personal pain and universal sentiment, to transcendent effect: on the B-side ballad “Malibu,” she sings of “the little red car that don’t belong to you” with a shaky conviction that is impossibly romantic. Her layered harmonies, something she’s become notable for over her career, weave with particular grace through the piano pop of “Seventeen,” her “love letter to New York,” the video for which features places important to her over the time she’s lived in the city.

Remind Me Tomorrow is a great leap into new territory for Van Etten stylistically, but there isn’t a single moment of distrust in her abilities as a songwriter to be found—nor is there any mistaking her trademark voice.

Allison Crutchfield

Sharon Van Etten Shares “Not Myself”; Proceeds to Benefit Everytown for Gun Safety

Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten. Photo by Miche Williams

Sharon Van Etten was at home with her family in New Jersey when the horrifying news of the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub occurred. Distraught, she began to think about how she could craft a song that would not only reflect her feelings on the event, but also raise money to prevent something like it from happening again. The result, “Not Myself,” is a stark, aching piano ballad centering on the need for people to be who they are—regardless of race, sexual orientation, creed, or belief—and a call for unity, companionship, and strength. Rather than being a barbed political broadside, the song puts a human face on tragedy, and is a plea for tolerance, understanding, restoration, and rest. We’re honored to premiere the track today, the proceeds of which are being donated to Everytown for Gun Safety. A statement from Sharon is below, followed by a short Q&A with her about the song.

A Statement from Sharon Van Etten:

I was home with my parents in New Jersey when I heard of the shooting at the nightclub in Florida.  Hate, violence, and intolerance has always upset me, but I haven’t been this overwhelmed with sadness and disbelief in a long time.  The victims were only trying to be themselves and be comfortable and safe in their surroundings.  That safety was violated out of fear and with a gun.

I originally wanted to raise money for the victims and their families, but I knew the issue was bigger than this.  I wrote “Not Myself” for the victims of this horrific event, but I chose to support the research and awareness work of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund: a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.

In the memory of those trying to be safe and be themselves, I hope we can all come together to help prevent another massacre like this and end gun violence.

Sharon Van Etten

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