New music: Sharon Van Etten, Shearwater
I just missed Sharon Van Etten’s short set when she kicked off the 2010 Pitchfork fest. On Thursday, she begins a two-night stand headlining at Lincoln Hall to promote her impressive breakthrough album Tramp. The excellent Shearwater opens.
Van Etten made a powerful, heartfelt album with the help of producer Aaron Dessner of The National. The album includes forlorn slow ballads with some diversions (Serpents is a rocker and a standout on the album, while Magic Chords is a cool, almost jazzy number). Tramp is recommended.
I can also recommend Shearwater’s just-released Animal Joy. The album is actually much livelier than 2010′s The Golden Archipelago. Dare I say parts of this album actually rock? (The song Immaculate is a good example.) Yet Animal Joy is still full of dramatic flourishes, making this a pretty exciting album. Shearwater is one of those highly original bands that doesn’t always fit into a neatly defined category. And that’s definitely a good thing.
Video from the show:
UPDATE: The Friday show is sold out.