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SHARON VAN ETTEN

Sharon Van Etten

We've Been Going About This All Wrong

    Sharon Van Etten has always been the kind of artist who helps people make sense of the world around them, and her sixth album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, concerns itself with how we feel, mourn, and reclaim our agency when we think the world - or at least, our world - might be falling apart. How do we protect the things most precious to us from destructive forces beyond our control? How do we salvage something worthwhile when it seems all is lost? And if we can’t, or we don’t, have we loved as well as we could in the meantime? Did we try hard enough? In considering these questions and her own vulnerability in the face of them, Van Etten creates a stunning meditation on how life’s changes can be both terrifying and transformative. We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong articulates the beauty and power that can be rescued from our wreckages.

    We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is as much a reflection on how we manage the ending of metaphorical worlds as we do the ending of actual ones: the twin flames of terror and unrelenting love that light up with motherhood; navigating the demands of partnership when your responsibilities have changed; the loss of center and safety that can come with leaving home; how the ghosts of our past can appear without warning in our present; feeling helpless with the violence and racism in the world; and yes, what it means when a global viral outbreak forces us to relinquish control of the things that have always made us feel so human, and seek new forms of connection to replace them.

    We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong is intensely personal, exploring themes like motherhood, love, fear, what we can and can’t control, and what it means to be human in a world that is wracked by so much trauma. The track “Home To Me,” written about Van Etten’s son, uses the trademark “dark drums” of her previous work to invoke the sonic impression of a heartbeat. Synths grow in intensity, evoking the passing of time and the terror of what it means to have your child move inevitably toward independence, wanting to hold on to them tightly enough to protect them forever. In contrast, “Come Back” reflects on the desire to reconnect with a partner. Recalling all the optimism of love felt in its infancy, Van Etten begins with the plain beauty of just her voice and a guitar, building the arrangement alongside the call to “come back” to anyone who has lost their way, be it from another person or from themselves. Hovering between darkness and light, “Born” is an exploration of the self that exists when all other labels - mother, partner, friend - are stripped back.

    The ten tracks on We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong are designed to be listened to in order, all at once, so that a much larger story of hope, loss, longing and resilience can be told. This is, in itself, a subtle act of control, but in sharing these songs it remains an optimistic and generous one. There is darkness here but there is light too, and all of it is held together by Van Etten’s uncanny ability to both pierce the hearts of her listeners and make them whole again. Things are not dark, she reminds us, only darkish.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: There are few artists around that are as eminently talented as Sharon Van Etten, and her latest outing has all of the acoustic nuance and juxtaposing heft we've come to expect from her. There are moments of minimalist beauty, but they fit in perfectly with the crashing waves of synth and her uncompromising vocals, pulling together all the disparate parts seamlessly. Gorgeous.

    TRACK LISTING

    SIDE A:
    1. Darkness Fades
    2. Home To Me
    3. I’ll Try
    4. Anything
    5. Born

    SIDE B:
    6. Headspace
    7. Come Back
    8. Darkish
    9. Mistakes
    10. Far Away

    Bonus Tracks (deluxe LP)
    Side C:
    Porta
    Used To It
    Never Gonna Change
    When I Die

    Handwritten Etching On Side D

    Sharon Van Etten

    Are We There - Love Record Stores 2021 Edition

      Love Record Stores Edition available instore from 10am on Saturday September 4th, any remaining copies will be available on online from 9pm on the same day.
      Limited to one per person.

      For all the attention that was paid to her 2012 breakthrough ‘Tramp’, Sharon Van Etten is an artist with a hunger to turn another corner and to delve deeper, writing from a place of honesty and vulnerability to create a bond with the listener that few contemporary musicians can match. Compelled by a restless spirit, Van Etten is continuously challenging herself. Now, the result is ‘Are We There’, a self-produced album of exceptional intimacy, sublime generosity, and immense breadth.

      Sharon Van Etten

      Silent Night / Blue Christmas

        Silent Night was recorded in 2018 for the Holiday Short Film, “The Letter” by Eric Paschal Johnson and received a Vimeo Staff Pick Award.

        Van Etten’s cover of the holiday classic “Blue Christmas,” was originally recorded for a benefit album called Do You EAR what I Ear in 2009 for the Association to Benefit Children, an outstanding New York-based service dedicated to permanently breaking the cycles of abuse, neglect, sickness and homelessness among disadvantaged children and their families.

        Both of these tracks are now available on vinyl for the first time.                                 

        TRACK LISTING

        Silent Night
        Blue Christmas

        Sharon Van Etten

        Epic Ten

          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 themself through the power of music.

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

          TRACK LISTING

          Album 1
          1. A Crime
          2. Peace Signs
          3. Save Yourself
          4. DsharpG
          5. Don’t Do It
          6. One Day
          7. Love More

          Album 2
          1. A Crime (Big Red Machine)
          2. Peace Signs (IDLES)
          3. Save Yourself (Lucinda Williams)
          4. DsharpG (Shamir)
          5. Don’t Do It (Courtney Barnett Ft. Vagabon)
          6. One Day (St Panther)
          7. Love More (Fiona Apple)

          Remind Me Tomorrow comes over four years after the release of Are We There, a top 10 critically praised album of 2014, and reckons with the life that gets lived when you put off the small and inevitable maintenance in favor of something more present. Throughout, Van Etten veers towards the driving, dark glimmer moods that have illuminated the edges of her music and pursues them full force.

          Written while pregnant, going to school for psychology, after taking The OA audition, Remind Me Tomorrow was written in stolen time: in scraps of hours wedged between myriad endeavors — Van Etten guest-starred in The OA, and brought her music onstage in David Lynch’s revival of Twin Peaks. Off-screen, she wrote her first score for Katherine Dieckmann’s movie Strange Weather and the closing title song for Tig Notaro’s show, Tig.

          The songs on Remind Me Tomorrow have been transported from Van Etten’s original demos through producer John Congleton’s arrangement. He helped flip the signature Van Etten ratio, making the album more energetic-upbeat than minimal-meditative. The songs are as resonating as ever, the themes are still an honest and subtle approach to love and longing, but Congleton has plucked out new idiosyncrasies from Van Etten’s sound. Joined by Van Etten’s longtime collaborator and bandmate Heather Woods Broderick, plus Jamie Stewart, Zachary Dawes, Brian Reitzell, Lars Horntveth, McKenzie Smith, Joey Waronker, Luke Reynolds, and Stella Mozgawa, Remind Me Tomorrow was recorded at studios throughout Los Angeles.

          For Remind Me Tomorrow, Van Etten put down the guitar. When she was writing the score for Strange Weather her reference was Ry Cooder, so she was playing her guitar constantly and getting either bored or writer's block. At the time, she was sharing a studio space with someone who had a synthesizer and an organ, and she wrote on piano at home, so she naturally gravitated to keys when not working on the score - to clear her mind. Lead single “Comeback Kid” was originally a piano ballad, but driven by Van Etten’s assertion that she “didn’t want it to be pretty,” it evolved into a menacing anthem. Remind Me Tomorrow as a whole shows this magnetism towards new instruments: piano keys that churn, deep drones, distinctive sharp drums. There are dark intense synths, a propulsive organ, a distorted harmonium.

          The breadth of Van Etten’s passions (musical, emotional, otherwise), of new careers and projects and lifelong roles, have inflected Remind Me Tomorrow with a wise sense of a warped-time perspective. This is the tension that arches over the album, fusing a pained attentive realism and radiant lightness about new love.


          STAFF COMMENTS

          Laura says: “Sitting in a bar, I told you everything, you said ‘holy shit, you almost died’”. Album opener, “I Told You Everything” is a love song of sorts, and while it hints at her turbulent past it’s about trust, optimism and moving forward and marks a shift both musically and emotionally. The addition of synths and electronics, give a whole new dimension to her songs, at times providing rhythm and melody, at others a jarring tension and an air of menace. As ever her writing is deeply personal, but whereas previously the past was filled with regret and self doubt, this time around she reflects on it with an air of nostalgia and knowing. There’s still a sense of fragility when she writes about love, but you get the impression that she’s more at ease with her place in the world now and this has given her the confidence to write her most ambitious and assured album yet.

          TRACK LISTING

          Side A
          1. I Told You Everything
          2. No One's Easy To Love
          3. Memorial Day
          4. Comeback Kid
          5. Jupiter 4

          Side B
          6. Seventeen
          7. Malibu
          8. You Shadow
          9. Hands
          10. Stay

          For all the attention that was paid to her 2012 breakthrough ‘Tramp’, Sharon Van Etten is an artist with a hunger to turn another corner and to delve deeper, writing from a place of honesty and vulnerability to create a bond with the listener that few contemporary musicians can match. Compelled by a restless spirit, Van Etten is continuously challenging herself. Now, the result is ‘Are We There’, a self-produced album of exceptional intimacy, sublime generosity, and immense breadth.

          For this album, Van Etten found a kindred spirit in veteran music producer Stewart Lerman. Originally working together on ‘Boardwalk Empire’, they gently moved into new roles, rallying around the idea of making a record together in Lerman’s studio in New Jersey. Lerman’s studio expertise gave Van Etten the freedom to make ‘Are We There’ the way she imagined. Van Etten also enlisted the individual talents of her band, consisting of Heather Woods Broderick, Doug Keith and Zeke Hutchins and brought in friends Dave Hartley and Adam Granduciel from The War On Drugs, Jonathan Meiberg (Shearwater), Jana Hunter (Lower Dens), Peter Broderick, Mackenzie Scott (Torres), Stuart Bogie, Jacob C Morris and Mickey Freeze.

          It is clear from the opening chords in the first song ‘Afraid Of Nothing’ that we are witnessing a new awareness, a sign of Van Etten in full stride, writing, producing and performing from a place that seems almost mythical, were it not so touchable and real. Always direct, and never shying away even from the most personally painful narratives, Van Etten’s songwriting continues to evolve. Many of the songs deal with seemingly impossible decisions, anticipation, and then resolution. She sings of the nature of desire, memory, of being lost, emptiness, of promises and loyalty, fear and change, of healing and the true self, violence and sanctuary, waiting, of silence.

          “Her voice is breathtaking throughout the record, altering to inhabit every emotional extreme.” - Uncut (9/10), “She seems to set her voice no boundaries” - Mojo (4 stars), “Van Etten goes several layers deeper, and faster, than most songwriters. ‘Are We There’ is the kind of album that many people have been trying to make for years and only a dozen or so have pulled off; words, voice and heartbreak.” - The New Yorker.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Afraid Of Nothing
          2. Taking Chances
          3. Your Love Is Killing Me
          4. Our Love
          5. Tarifa
          6. I Love You But I'm Lost
          7. You Know Me Well
          8. Break Me
          9. Nothing Will Change
          10. I Know
          11. Every Time The Sun Comes Up

          The shimmering sound of Sharon Van Etten's Jagjaguwar debut album, 'Tramp', both defies and illuminates the unsteadiness of a life in flux. Throughout the 14 months of scattered recording sessions, Van Etten was without a home - crashing with friends and storing her possessions between varied locations. The only constant in Van Etten's life during this time was spent in Aaron Dessner's garage studio.

          A two year journey brought her to that point of instability. Upon the release of epic (Ba Da Bing; 2010), Sharon Van Etten surprised the music world with a touching embrace. Having established herself as a reliable performer around New York, and coming off the release of her spartan first effort, 'Because I Was In Love' (Language of Stone; 2009), Van Etten created a short album of diverse songs connected by a shared goal of expanded sound and her unmistakable voice. Fans quickly picked favorites, discovered their choices changing, then changing yet again. That is the magic of epic; the intricate, understated record covered so much ground within its 33 minutes, it required more than an initial half hour to absorb. Since epic's release, she has opened the Pitchfork Music Festival, played The Hollywood Bowl with Neko Case and at Radio City Music Hall with The Antlers, sung on new records for Beirut and Ed Askew, and collaborated with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Megafaun on the Songs Of The South project.

          Dessner, a member of The National, heard Van Etten early on, and in collaboration with Justin Vernon, performed a cover of "Love More" at the 2010 MusicNow Festival in Cincinnati. Van Etten heard about this and contacted him. Almost immediately they formed plans to work together, with Dessner offering both a location for Van Etten to record new songs, as well as the opinions of a wise producer.

          Now, one year later, Van Etten unveils Tramp, an album showcasing an artist in full control of her powers. Tramp contains as much striking rock (the precise venom of "Serpents," the overwhelming power of "Ask"), as pious, minimal beauty (the earnest solemnity of "All I Can," the breathtaking "Kevins," "Joke or a Lie"); it can be as emotionally combative ("Give Out") as it can sultry ("Magic Chords"). Contributions from Matt Barrick (Walkmen), Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), Zach Condon (Beirut), Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak), Julianna Barwick, and Dessner himself add a glowing sheen to the already substantial offering.

          Van Etten has travelled far, and if her displacement took an emotional toll, she offset those setbacks with a powerfully articulated vision. And so, once again, each listener will discover their own moments along the way, and the debates as to the best song start anew.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Laura says: This is Sharon Van Etten’s third album, but even if you’ve missed out on her previous two, you really can’t afford to let this one pass you by. With The National’s Aaron Dessner at the controls, and an impressive cast of contributors, including Julianna Barwick , Zach Condon (Beirut), Bryce Dessner (The National), Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) and Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak) she has created an absolutely stunning album. Dressner’s production creates the perfect space within her songs for her vocals to really shine, whether they’re stark acoustic tracks ("Give Out", "We Are Fine") or powerful atmospheric rockers ("Serpents", "All I Can") or ones that fall somewhere between the two ("Leonard") the range of her voice covers everything from fragile and fractured, to strong and defiant, somewhere between Cat Power and PJ Harvey. Add to that, superb emotive songwriting and you have all the ingredients for a truly wonderful album.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Warsaw
          2. Give Out
          3. Serpents
          4. Kevin’s
          5. Leonard
          6. In Line
          7. All I Can
          8. We Are Fine
          9. Magic Chords
          10. Ask
          11. I’m Wrong
          12. Joke Or A Lie


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