Sharon Van Etten

She Keeps Bees - "Owl"

She Keeps Bees - "Owl"

Sounds Like:

Style and substance echo better-known pal Sharon Van Etten

Why You Should Care:

Bare, stripped down and yet powerfully emotional, “Owl” puts Jessica Larrabee in the same genre as guest vocalist Sharon Van Etten. There’s no hiding the ache in Jessica’s voice, and paired with a simple mournful horn, the song is both compelling and lethargic, like a gray hung-over day, when memories of the night before shake you as palpable regrets, but movement, or escape, is impossible.

Episode 63: Sharon Van Etten / Priests

Episode 63: Sharon Van Etten / Priests

This week the gang puts on their curmudgeon hat as they take on new records from Sharon Van Etten and up-and-coming DC punks, Preists! PLUS! More Rick Springfield talk then anyone should ever be safely exposed to and Paul, Kevin and Suzie try to figure out what the hell is up with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

LIVE: Sharon Van Etten w/Damien Jurado @ The 9:30 Club - 10/25/12

All photos by Kevin Hill (

Sharon Van Etten has always presented a fascinating musical dichotomy – the effervescent and engaging performer and the incredibly dark material she often sings about. Things don’t just go wrong in her songs, they careen off a cliff at top speed. Men enjoy “sucking on dreams” and “garaging girls,” women implore men to “do your worst if you can.”

Yet on stage, she frequently smiles, engages the audience with charmingly low-key chit-chat, and puts her lustrous vocals front and center. Her Winona Ryder-meets-Tina Fey looks belie the dark nature of her songs. The two halves make for a wonderful whole in her live performances, as was the case in her terrific show last Thursday night at the 9:30 Club.

Sticking mostly to material off her latest record, Tramp, Van Etten offered a fantastic set of 14 songs, beginning with the slow, lilting “We Are Fine.” Switching from acoustic to electric guitars (which she did often) the band then offered a rousing version of “Warsaw,” Tramp’s leadoff track. Though backed by only three musicians, Van Etten managed to create a much bigger sound, but not one that overshadowed her vocals. She made a note that she’s had the same band for a while, and it shows; they segued perfectly from the noise-pop of “Warsaw” into countrified “Save Yourself” from 2010’s Epic. A vocal gaffe led to her amusing admission that she’d actually sang “shave yourself,” and noted the song was available to razor companies for the right price.

2012 Newport Folk Festival: Late Night w/DEER TICK and Friends @ Newport Blues - 7/27-7/29

Just because the music stops at Fort Adams doesn't mean your night is over. Picking up where they left off last year, DEER TICK is staging a three night stand at the esteemed Newport Blues Cafe, and this time they're bring even more of their friends along. With guests on the bill like Sharon Van Etten, Matt Vasquez, and Jackson Browne, all three shows sold out pretty quickly, but who knows, maybe (hopefully) there will be some extras outside come showtime. 

For those of you who DO have tickets though, this is what you're in for. And no matter which night you chose, it all adds up to an epic weekend of rawk all the way around. We'll see ya at the bar!

Justin's Top 10 of 2012 (so far)

How do you get to be a writer for ChunkyGlasses? Apparently win tickets to a Damien Jurado show. Justin came to us out of a shared love of music, won his tickets to a sweet show, then threw in a "BTW...I can write and s@#@." And guess what? He wasn't kidding. He's got a Master's in the @#@$. Pair that with a deep appreciation and knowledge of music both old and new, and our newest addition to the team has turned out to be a total winner...even if he happens to like that damn Japandroids record much as the rest of you other ingrates. 

Best of far

What happens when you put a bunch of music nerds in a room and ask them to talk about their favorite music of the year so far? Why you get a Top Ten List of course! There's been a metric sh@# ton of great music this year, with new releases from the likes of Punch Brothers, Leonard Cohen, Alabama Shakes and more, but ultimately there can be only TEN that make the cut.

With over sixty albums mentioned the whittling down process was arduous and sometimes painful, but in the end we came together and saw our way through the adversity/diversity to deliver unto you this list of the best that 2012 to date has to offer. 

#10 Hospitality - Hospitality

KEVIN - New York hasn’t sounded this cool since the glorious heyday of CBGB’s, Blondie and The Talking Heads. Complex, confident, and unabashedly poppy, this is easily the most memorable debut record from any band on a long, LONG while. 


ANDRE - I recommend talking to Kevin on this one. Just remind him that the first step is accepting you have a problem.  I dig it as well, just not as much as Kevin...because that's impossible.


All words/pictures by ace contributor Suzanne Wnek

I just attended my first SXSW and I got everything wrong. But even if you get everything wrong at SXSW, it’s an experience you cant’ help but love, and hey, there’s always next year.

First things first: if you’ve never been to SXSW, it’s not like a huge park with 2 or 3 stages and the acts rotate through while you decide in which field you’re going to sit. Instead, it’s as if all your favorite bars and music venues in the world relocated within a one-mile radius (give or take…someone out there was probably wearing a pedometer).  In those 100s of venues, 1000s of bands can play 40-minute sets over the course of 5 days, and they will.

LIVE MUSIC: Sharon Van Etten @ The Black Cat - 2/11/12

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Why so sad Sharon Van Etten?

Last Saturday, which was hilariously dubbed as being the most NPR-tastic night of the decade, Van Etten, along with a few friends, brought her heart-stoppingly gorgeous voice and a veritable truckload of melancholia to the Main stage at The Black Cat. It was the largest (inexplicably so) venue that she has played in the District to date, but fans turn out by the hundreds to try and fall under the rapture of her spell.

Sharon Van Etten @ The Red Palace 4.17.11. (Washington, DC)

Why is this woman smiling?

Over the course of three albums she has spoken of nothing but heartbreak, betrayal and more heartbreak. With a throaty wail that is threatening to burst into a roar at any moment, she has dragged listeners into the very dark places that all of our relationships can/have slipped if things go awry and she typically leaves very little room for even the hint of brightness or positive resolve. To be sure, her songs aren’t happy. So again, why is this woman smiling?

Because she’s Sharon Von Etten and she is f@#@ing fantastic.