Drake’s Take: New Releases 02.07.12

Sharon Van Etten at SXSW (03/18/11)
Sharon Van Etten
Words: Drake Lelane
Photos: D. Caplan (More after the jump)

Since February is the shortest month of the year, I’m thinking it’s going to have to be the most condensed with interesting releases, and this first week goes some ways to proving the theory true. New releases from Sharon Van Etten, Dr. Dog, Air, Of Montreal, The Twilight Sad and Mark Lanegan certainly make their cases. There’s also new releases from The Duke Spirit, Ben Kweller, Die Antwoord, an EP from Davila 666, the return of Van Halen, and live releases from Wire and The Plimsouls.

Playlist: New Releases 02.07.12 (Rhapsody) / Spotify


Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
Purchase [mp3] / Stream via Rhapsody / Stream via Spotify

Sharon Van Etten - TrampKnowing the brief back story to Sharon Van Etten’s music career, it’s easy to see her first three releases as a sort of break-up trilogy. The 2008 spare debut collection of recordings (Because I Was in Love) was raw, crying in the bedroom before and after things become irreparable. 2010’s Epic is a recollection of the pain, a sometimes painful assessment of the damage. With Tramp, Van Etten is far more confident, even fiery, burning tokens and letters in the furnace. “I want to be over you,” she sings in the electric guitar-driven opening track, “Warsaw,” working as a declaration of intent — both in lyric and sound. Recorded over 14 months by The National’s Aaron Dessner, during a period of homelessness for Van Etten, the album takes Van Etten through some of Dessner’s band’s indie rock idioms. It works wonders in the first few tracks, with “Serpents” being the obvious highlight. But such a strong guitar and drums driven opening works against the album as well, as the more dour back half of the record feels like it suffers through lullsville. “We Are Fine,” the panic attack duet with Beirut’s Zach Condon, nearly saves the back half, with it’s “I’m OK (Not Really)” confessional with fellow social anxiety sufferer Condon. Tramp still represents another leap forward for the gifted young singer/songwriter, and with the trajectory of her growth, 2014 better watch out.

Free AOL Album Stream
Download: “Serpents” [mp3]


Dr Dog – Be The Void
Purchase [mp3] / Stream via Rhapsody or Spotify

Dr Dog - Be The VoidWith 2010’s Shame, Shame, Dr. Dog had stepped out of the lo-fi confines of the basement for a cleaner sound, working with Rob Schnapf, a normal progression for a band trying to reach a wider audience. And it was mostly successful in this endeavor, so it’s a bit surprising that the Philly outfit would rub their eyes, and return to the basement. Be the Void not steps back from the cleaner studio sound, but also finds the band experimenting with sound more than any other release. The results are varied, making it difficult for Be the Void to settle into any kind of groove after the first few tracks, and everything falls apart by the head-scratching “Warrior Man.”

Free AOL Album Stream


More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Air – le voyage dans la lune / Free AOL Album Stream
The Twilight Sad – No One Can Ever Know
Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral / “The Gravediggers Song” [mp3] (via 4AD)
Of Montreal – Paralytic Stalks / “Wintered Debts” [mp3] (Soundcloud)
The Duke Spirit – Making Mirrors
Davila 666 – Pa Que Vives
Wire – The Black Session – Paris, 10 May 2011
The Plimsouls – Beach Town Confidential: Live At The Golden Bear 1983 / “Magic Touch” [mp3]
Die Antwoord – Ten$ion
Ben Kweller – Go Fly a Kite / Free AOL Album Stream
Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth
The Residents – Coochie Brake
Paul McCartney – Kisses on the Bottom / Free AOL Album Stream
The Unthanks – The Songs Of Robert Wyatt And Antony & The Johnsons, Live From The Union Chapel (Diversions Vol. 1)
Bahamas – Barchords
A Place to Bury Strangers – Onwards To The Wall / “So Far Away” [mp3]
Goldfrapp – The Singles / Free AOL Album Stream

Tour dates and more photos of Sharon Van Etten from SXSW 2011 after the jump.

Sharon Van Etten 2012 Tour Dates
Feb 11 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat w/ Shearwater
Feb 12 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle w/ Shearwater
Feb 14 – Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center w/ Shearwater
Feb 15 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Ladies Literary Club for Calvin College
Feb 16 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall w/ Shearwater
Feb 17 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall w/ Shearwater
Feb 18 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center w/ Shearwater
Feb 21 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace w/ Shearwater
Feb 22 – Montreal, QC @ Il Motore w/ Shearwater
Feb 23 – Boston, MA @ Paradise w/ Shearwater
Feb 24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Shearwater
Feb 25 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom w/ Shearwater
Feb 26 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom w/ Carter Tanton, Glass Ghost
Mar 01 – London, UK @ Cargo
Mar 02 – Paris, France @ Point FMR
Mar 03 – Brussels, Belgium @ Botanique – Rotonde
Mar 04 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso
Mar 06 – Berlin, Germany @ Gruener Salon
Mar 20 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Avalon w/ The War On Drugs
Mar 21 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent w/ The War On Drugs
Mar 23 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater w/ The War On Drugs
Mar 24 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret w/ The War On Drugs
Mar 25 – Seattle, WA @ The Neptune
Mar 27 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room w/ The War On Drugs
Mar 28 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater w/ The War On Drugs
Mar 30 – Iowa City, IA @ Mission Creek Festival
Mar 31 – St. Louis, MO @ Luminary Center for the Arts w/ The War On Drugs
Apr 01 – Bloomington, IN @ Rhino’s w/ The War On Drugs
Apr 19 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
Apr 20 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theatre
Apr 21 – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
Apr 22 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree Cafe
Apr 24 – Knoxville, TN @ The Square Room
Apr 25 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Apr 26 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
Apr 27 – Cincinnati, OH @ Mayday Northside
Apr 28 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Carnegie Lecture Hall

Sharon Van Etten at SXSW 2011
Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

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