Tag Archives: The National

Sharon Van Etten just can’t stop touring

Sharon Van Etten at the Bowery Ballroom on Feb. 26, 2012.

We’ve been away from this page for too long. But an email landed in our in box this morning that inspired us to sit down and log in.

Sharon Van Etten, who’s on Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone‘s Top 10 Artist lists, announced the dates for her fall tour today.

Van Etten at the Northside Festival, 2010.

It seems like Sharon, a wonderful, low-key Brooklyn singer songwriter has been touring nonstop since releasing her third full-length album, Tramp, on Jagjaguwar early this year. While we’re glad she’s been sharing her extraordinary voice and songwriting with audiences around the world, we have a feeling that she hasn’t spent much time at home in Bushwick, Brooklyn, just a couple of neighborhoods away — and a world apart — from  Ditmas Park,  the home of  other musical luminaries like Sufjan Stevens and most of the members of The National.

Her new tour dates continue the marathon. It takes her to Portugal, Spain, France and the U.K. before bringing her stateside for a good long wander through the eastern half of the U.S. before wrapping up back in New York City.

Sharon’s a hard-working musician. But don’t let the volume fool you. Click through to the jump for more photos of Sharon through the years, along with her full tour schedule.

And take note of the period from Aug. 23 to Sept. 25. I don’t see any shows scheduled, do you? We can only hope that’s when we’ll be seeing her around Brooklyn.

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Hey, Buke and Gass, ummm, GASE, are back with new music

Thoughts on a name change

Buke and Gass keep their feet busy, too. (Photos © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Plus a PREVIEW OF THEIR NEW SONG!

It’s been more than a year since Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?  mentioned Buke and Gass. We’re overdue.

Arone Dyer on buke.

Maybe you’ve already noticed that there’s something different about this intense duo — their name. They’re now Buke and Gase, in what appears to be a slightly sad surrender to phonetics.

For those who have been paying close attention, the morphing began late last fall when the band posted this brief, cryptic bulletin on its website:

October 26 – Just played a show in Canada and our name is morphing.

But the reality didn’t sink in until we saw announcements for the band’s May 4 appearance at The National‘s Bryce and Aaron Dessner-curated Crossing Brooklyn Ferry series at BAM. We thought somebody had made a typo. On further investigation, we discovered the band had indeed changed the spelling.

Aron Sanchez on gass.

Although the pronunciation of the band name was easy to remember once you knew what it stood for — baritone ukulele=Buke, while guitar+bass=Gass — it appears the second half of the name was too often the butt of jokes rhyming with ass. So Arone Dyer, who plays the buke, and Aron Sanchez, on gass, gave in and changed the spelling.

But they didn’t change the sound, as you’ll hear on this great preview track from their next album, which they hope to release in September.

If you can’t make it to Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, or you just want more Buke and Gase, check out the lineup they’ve curated (they’re not listed as performing, just curating) through May 15 with Terry Riley‘s son Gyan Riley, at The Stone, John Zorn‘s music venue in Manhattan’s East Village.

Sharon van Etten signs with a new label

Sharon van Etten at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in April. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Powerful singer Sharon van Etten, whose great strength is in the directness of her lyrics and singing, has signed a new recording deal with Jagjaguwar Records, her publicist has announced.

Congratulations are in order. It’s a great career move for one of the best, most honest singers active today.

The move puts Sharon in the company of top indie acts such as Bon Iver, Okkervil River, Black Mountain and Dinosaur Jr. Jagjaguwar will release her third album, being produced by The National‘s Aaron Dessner, in early 2012.

The National's Aaron Dessner performing with Sharon Van Etten at the Northside Festival in Brooklyn in June.

Sharon is the second hot artist to part ways with Brookyn’s Ba Da Bing label in recent months. Ba Da Bing released Epic, an album that really boosted her profile, last year. Her connection with the label is even deeper, though. Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? first met Sharon as a Ba Da Bing publicist, who was representing noise-rock duo WOOM.

Longtime Ba Da Bing labelmate Beirut announced in June that its next album would be self-released rather than on Ba Da Bing. The band is  continuing under Ba Da Bing’s management aegis, however. It’s unclear whether Sharon will do the same.

It looks like Sharon, an amazingly talented and genuinely nice person, is living up to our early expectations. This year alone she’s already played Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, and MusicNow. And she has dates scheduled later this year at  Bumbershoot, Musicfest NW and at the Hollywood Bowl with The National and Neko Case.

We’re thrilled to see Sharon’s continuing success.

Doveman delivers the best show of the year so far

May edition of The Burgundy Stain Session featured Rufus Wainwright and The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl)

Doveman opening his latest edition of The Burgundy Stain Sessions at (Le) Poisson Rouge. (Photos copyright 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

I’m not sure what it is about Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, that makes him so brilliant.

Like many of you, I first discovered him when he was the man behind Salon‘s late, lamented Daily Download feature. At that point, I had no idea who he was, but enjoyed his tight writing about music and really enjoyed his taste and his ability to spotlight tunes that I might have missed and would have lived to regret.

Rufus Wainwright.

But soon he gave that up and turned to his real love, making music. Those who were paying attention soon discovered that Thomas is a very talented singer-songwriter in his own right with his beautiful, fragile style that he calls “insomnia pop.” He’s made some beautiful albums under his nom de stage.

But Thomas is probably more familiar to audiences as the guy will lots and lots of amazingly talented musical friends.

Rob Moose, Doveman, Rufus Wainwright and Brad Albetta.

He’s been presenting The Burgundy Stain Sessions (the next edition is June 24) shows on a more or less monthly basis lately at (Le) Poisson Rouge. The format is pretty straightforward. He gets  the room set up in the round, invites some of his talented friends, does a little rehearsing and puts on a show. It’s the kind of event where just about anything can happen.

The sessions we’ve see have been beautiful, sloppy things. And we don’t mean sloppy in a bad way. No, we mean sloppy in a warm, wonderful surprise-wet-kiss way.

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People’s Commissioning Fund: Make your own music

Want to feel like a Medici or some other patron of the arts but don’t have the treasury to make it happen?

Everyone who gives — even just a few dollars — to Bang on a Can’s People’s Commissioning Fund is a minimogul responsible for the creation of a handful of musical works every year.

Commissioners, as Bang calls its donors to the PCF, get to hear the fruits of their efforts in concert in Manhattan on Thursday evening, Feb. 10. This year’s commissioned composers are Nick Brooke, hometown hero Bryce Dessner of the Brooklyn-based rock band The National and tabla-electronic-hip hop wizard Karsh Kale

This year’s concert is programmed as part of the Ecstatic Music Festival, a two-month cornucopia of music by like-minded composers and performers being presented at Merkin Concert Hall near Lincoln Center.

If you’ve already donated and have some free time at 5 p.m. on the day before the concert, you can see the musicians, and some or all of the composers, up close in a free dress rehearsal. You’ll even get the chance to ask questions and rub elbows with the artists and other commissioners at an informal reception afterward. Contact BoaC’s director of development, Tim Thomas, tim@bangonacan.org, for more info.

The Bang on a Can All-Stars, the house band, handles the playing duties for virtually all the commissions. They also be filling out the program with some other great music, including Steve Martland‘s Horses of Instruction, Convex/Concave/Concord by Danish minimalist Pelle Gudmundsen Holmgreen, and Believing by BoaC cofounder Julia Wolfe.

Here’s how BoaC cofounder David Lang describes the PCF process in a nutshell: “Over 14 years the People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF) is as liberating a force in music as we had imagined it would be. We are still pooling together the contributions large and small of hundreds of music lovers from around the world, adding penny to penny, combining lonesome individual gifts into awe inspiring communities of power and cold cash.  And then we give that money to bold, innovative, questioning, dedicated and highly inventive composers. We commission them, we rehearse their music intensively, we hold special events so that the members of the PCF can meet the musicians and composers that their generosity supports, and then we play that music in New York and often all around the world.  It is an amazing and beautiful thing.”

Beautiful, indeed. We here at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? have supported the PCF from the beginning. We couldn’t be more proud of what our pennies have helped create.

The details:

7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10. Bang on a Can 2011 People’s Commissioning Fund Concert, Merkin Concert Hall, 129 W. 67th St. (between Broadway and Amsterdam), Manhattan. $25.

Kronos Quartet’s rare NYC club appearance at (Le) Poisson Rouge

 

David Harrington of Kronos Quartet at New York nightclub (Le) Poisson Rouge on Oct. 8, 2010. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

 

Groundbreaking ensemble sells out two nights at Greenwich Village nightspot

Kronos Quartet can and does regularly fill huge auditoriums for its programs. But for its latest appearance in New York City, the ensemble picked Greenwich Village’s (Le) Poisson Rouge, arguably the most welcoming venue for New Music New York City.

 

Kronos Quartet's cellist, Jeffrey Zeigler.

 

Kronos’ two-night program included a slew of premieres and put the spotlight on many New York-based composers and collaborators, including the super-talented young composer Missy Mazzoli (founder of the hot electroacoustic chamber ensemble Victoire), Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon, guitarist Bryce Dessner of the bands Clogs and The National (formed in Cincinnatti but now based in Brooklyn) and the Young Peoples Chorus of New York City.

The 37-year-old, San Francisco-based qua
rtet  — David Harrington and John Sherba on violins, Hank Dutt on viola and Jeffrey Zeigler on cello — played a spirited set to a packed house on Friday evening, Oct. 8. The second installment is tonight, Saturday, Oct. 9, when Kronos offers a completely different program.

 

 

At the Friday show, Kronos kicked off with Dessner’s Aheym (Homeward), which he wrote for Kronos. Mazzoli’s lovely, lyrical Harp and Altar, also composed for Kronos, followed.

The first world premiere of the evening was Aleksandra Vrebalov‘s spell no. 4, for a changing world.

But the most stunning performance moments of the evening came next, when Kronos introduced the Young Peoples Chorus, founded and conducted by Francisco Nuñez. The youngsters entered from the darkened sides of the room shrieking and howling the vocal parts of Terry Riley‘s Another Secret eQuation, which he wrote for Kronos and had its world premiere at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in March.

 

Composer Michael Gordon cheers the Young Peoples Chorus of New York City, with John Sherba and David Harrington of Kronos Quartet.

 

After a brief intermission, the Young Peoples Chorus rejoined Kronos for the world premiere of Gordon’s Exalted, an intensely emotional composition.

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Sufjan Stevens, Shara Worden guest with the Clogs

Bryce Dessner, Shara Worden and Padma Newsome. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Sufjan Stevens joins the Clogs on banjo.

The Clogs, with Padma Newsome on vocals, violins, harmonium, keyboard and a few other instruments, and Bryce Dessner (The National) on guitars and other strummed strings, entranced the crowd at The Bell House in Brooklyn on Wednesday night.

A very pregnant Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) added her own beautiful, haunting vocal vocal touches. Other permanent members of Clogs are Rachael Eliott on bassoon and Thomas Kozumplik on percussion. The Bell House performance was supplemented by a second percussionist and horn section at times.

But the real surprise of the evening was greeted by an audible gasp when Sufjan Stevens appeared onstage to play banjo on one song.

Clogs music is a bit difficult to pigeonhole. It’s definitely not rock, but it’s not classical. It bridges the two and winds up being unique. At one point Bryce made reference to a review that called one of the group’s songs “knotty.” Shara promised to try to sing in as knotty a fashion as possible.

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