Technology with attitude

Preview: Sharon Van Etten Comes to Union Transfer 6/21

1 0


New Jersey-born songwriter Sharon Van Etten has created a poetically revelatory repertoire of songs that compose her latest album, Tramp.  She introduces a very intimate window into her mind through sophisticated songwriting and eloquent yet slightly eccentric lyrics.  She will headline at Union Transfer on Thursday June 21st.  Meg Baird, founding member of Espers, will open for her.

Aaron Dessner of The National produced Van Etten’s latest album and also plays on it, in addition to Bryce Dessner, Matt Barrick, Zach Condon (Beirut), and Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak).  Van Etten’s characteristically melismatic singing and sparse arrangements have no doubt evolved on this third endeavor, flaunting slightly more cumbersome yet still simple instrumental parts, and if it’s possible, more beautiful and mellifluous vocal lines.  The minor key in some of her songs, like “Give Out” and “Serpents”, interacts very well with the melody and guitar work that carry her introspective and poignant words.

“Serpents” is one of the tracks that stands out the most on this album.  It’s just a great song, from its slightly rocky guitar chords, to its high-pitched background swell that perhaps connotes a serpent or demon, to the dark and mysteriously sonorous vocal melody.  The following song on the album, “Kevin’s”, nicely contrasts its predecessor in its balladic vibe, in 6/8 and sad by nature of its rhythm and chord progression.  Van Etten’s voice gently soars into the vocal atmosphere and tortuously weaves its way upward, like smoke from a hookah, or like a snake charmed by a seductive, intoxicating melody.  This richly genuine songwriter is rapidly propelling herself forward.

Union Transfer is located at 1026  Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia PA.



[soundcloud url=”″ iframe=”true” /]