Sharon Van Etten – Comeback Kid

Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow comes four years after Are We There, and reckons with the life that gets lived when you put off the small and inevitable maintenance in favor of something more present. Throughout Remind Me Tomorrow, Sharon Van Etten veers towards the driving, dark glimmer moods that have illuminated the edges of her music and pursues them full force. With curling low vocals and brave intimacy, Remind Me Tomorrow is an ambitious album that provokes our most sensitive impulses: reckless affections, spirited nurturing, and tender courage.

“I wrote this record while going to school, pregnant, after taking the OA audition,” says Van Etten. “I met Katherine Dieckmann while I was in school and writing for her film. She’s a true New Yorker who has lived in her rent controlled west village apartment for over 30 years. Her husband lives across the hall. They raised two kids this way. When I expressed concern about raising a child as an artist in New York City, she said ‘you’re going to be fine. Your kids are going to be fine. If you have the right partner, you’ll figure it out together.’” Van Etten goes on, “I want to be a mom, a singer, an actress, go to school, but yeah, I have a stain on my shirt, oatmeal in my hair and I feel like a mess, but I’m here. Doing it. This record is about pursuing your passions.” The reality is 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. She goes on, “The album title makes me giggle. It occurred to me one night when I, on autopilot, clicked ‘remind me tomorrow’ on the update window that pops up all the time on my computer. I hadn’t updated in months! And it’s the simplest of tasks!”

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Dramarama – Swamp Song

Thirteen years is a long time between releases for Dramarama, but it’s not as though the band, which includes original members/guitarists Peter Wood and Mark “Mr. E. Boy” Englert and the “new guys”– drummer Tony Snow and bassist Mike Davis, aka The Thunder Brothers, who joined twenty or so years ago–have let any dust gather, any moss to grow. On the contrary, the band has been tearing up stages across the country the entire time. As Easdale puts it, “Few things compare to that sense of uninhibitedness you feel during a great show–waving your fist, stomping your feet, singing out and not giving a f*ck about anything but the music. Dramarama shows are fast, tight, loud, sweaty sing-alongs.”
And now a bit of history…
Hailing from the Garden State, three friends and bandmates pack their suitcases, lug their guitars and head west to sunny Southern California. Upon arriving in the Dream Factory Entertainment Capital of the World that is Hollywood, singer/songwriter John Easdale and guitarists Peter Wood and Mark Englert discover their dream is, well, a reality. The “World Famous” KROQ (106.7 FM) is not only playing their song, “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” [from their first LP, 1985’s Cinema Verite], but is playing it in heavy rotation! One day you’re working at the local hardware store in Wayne New Jersey, the next you’re being courted by countless record companies and touted to be the next big thing.

 

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Mercy Union – Chips And Vics

Four friends from New Jersey decided to come together over the past year in a basement. Over their countless meetings in the shadow of Manhattan in Jersey City, the four members of Mercy Union – Jared Hart, Rocky Catanese, Nick Jorgensen and Benny Horowitz – pushed their creative limits through endless riffs and backbeats, and in the process, the band was born.

While navigating topics as heavy as the air in that tight basement, these musicians blended their individual styles into a unique and wistful sound that moves one’s soul. From the driving & sweeping centerpieces, “Young Dionysians” and “Silver Dollars,” to the dreamy, romantic twang of “Layovers,” The Quarry is influenced both by the timeless music of the band’s home state as it is the classic tradition of punk, soul and Americana music. There is something familiar about the music presented here; it’s not quite déjà vu or nostalgia but it harkens back to the music cherished during one’s formative years.

The Quarry washes over you – it is nothing you’ve heard before and has the comfort you didn’t know you needed. Hart had the following to share about the album and what it represents to him: “‘The Quarry’ embodies the human thought process. It represents the ability to look at your life and memories from the outside, and hopefully gain some perspective. These songs explore elements of worry, gratitude, loss, and self-worth. It’s a record I’ve been hesitant to approach until the right pieces fell into place.”

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