Category Archives: Music

Sharon Van Etten announces new album title, pre-release details

SVE-Ryan-Pfluger-1

Sharon Van Etten (Photo by Ryan Pfluger)

We now know the title of Sharon Van Etten‘s new album, whose release date — Jan. 18, 2019, was announced in a clever manner on a limited edition fan T-shirt last, as Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? revealed last week.

SVE CK

“Remind Me Tomorrow” album cover art

The album pre-release info, complete with cover image and full tracklist, dropped Tuesday, Oct. 2, on all the usual services, including Bandcamp, where you can order a range of formats and special bundles with merchandise.

Oh, you probably want to know the title: “Remind Me Tomorrow.”

One track is available now, and the title seems like a statement of intent: “Comeback Kid.”

She emailed the news to her fan list early Tuesday:

Dear Fans,

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement the past 4 years as I have gone back to school, had a child, and landed my first acting gig.

During that time, I wrote a record and I am excited to announce that it will be out Jan. 18th, 2019.

Here is the first single, “Comeback Kid.”

See you soon.

Heart,

Sharon

LISTEN

The cover art is appropriate for a new mother like Sharon. The two kids in the photo are not hers,  but the image offers some clues about how the private side of her life feels, if not how it really looks.

It’s not a very rock ‘n roll scenario, for sure. But that’s what’s so appealing about Sharon as an artist and a human being: She’s not afraid to be herself or to reveal herself.

In fact, her life is such an open book that fans can subscribe to Sharon’s calendar, which contains entries about video editing sessions, flights to performances, etc. Sign up for that here.

The record, according to a press release, “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.'”

The sonic palette of this record, produced by the Grammy-winning John Congleton (Laurie Anderson, Chelsea Wolfe, Best Coast, David Byrne, Angel Olson, The Mountain Goats, Murder by Death, and many, many more), is different from her previous work, with the Brooklyn-based New Jersey native recording everything in Los Angeles, according to the press release:

He helped flip the signature Van Etten ratio, making the album more energetic-upbeat than minimal-meditative. The songs are as resonating as ever, the themes are still an honest and subtle approach to love and longing, but Congleton has plucked out new idiosyncrasies from Van Etten’s sound. Joined by Van Etten’s longtime collaborator and bandmate Heather Woods Broderick, plus Jamie Stewart, Zachary Dawes, Brian Reitzell, Lars Horntveth, McKenzie Smith, Joey Waronker, Luke Reynolds, and Stella Mozgawa, “Remind Me Tomorrow” was recorded at studios throughout Los Angeles.

See the full tracklist after the jump.

Continue reading

Advertisements

It looks like Sharon Van Etten just slyly announced the release date for her next album

When Sharon Van Etten announced on Sept. 7 that she was selling a limited run of T-shirts created by a fan, it looked like a sweet gesture.

“A really sweet fan,” as Van Etten described it, designed a shirt that asked the question that’s been on the minds of many SVE fans: WHEN IS SHARON VAN ETTEN’S NEXT ALBUM?”

“A really sweet fan started making these shirts all DIY and it inspired me to share it with you all… So a limited run of these will be available for a very short time.

After all, a lot has happened since her last full album, “”Are We There,” was released by Jagjaguwar in 2014 — in particular her shift from touring musician to college student to actor to new mom.

Sure, she released an EP, “I Don’t Want to Let You Down,” in 2015, and has made guest appearances on a number of other artists’ recordings and at a number of shows and festivals since then, but she hasn’t been actively touring or performing full sets.

So the timing of this shirt, which Van Etten credited to Jack Schimmel and made available on her website, seemed just right. And it quickly sold out.

Among the comments on her Instagram were requests such as: “Okay, but when you do release a date can you please print a t shirt in response?”

The shirts shipped out this week. At first glance, they are exactly advertised. Standard Canvas brand back shirts with the question printed in bold white block letters on the front.

IMG_8187A Post-It note with a brief, personally addressed, handwritten note from Van Etten is stuck to the front of the shirt: “Thanks for wanting to know!”

Very nice, for sure.

The big surprise, though, is revealed only when the shirt is unfolded.

There’s printing on the back, something that’s not mentioned in Van Etten’s Instagram post or on the order page.

Continue reading

Composer Matt Marks: Cause of death revealed

Composer-performer Matt Marks, seen here performing in 2010, died Friday from heart failure, his fiancée, composer Mary Kouyoumdjian, tells The New York Times.

The Times obituary also cited information from Marks’ sister, Los Angeles TV journalist Suzanne Marques, about a genetic condition her brother had.

Marks, who was 38 when he died in St. Louis while working with the New Music ensemble Alarm Will Sound, which he confounded, was diagnosed at age 9 with HHT (hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia), a genetic disorder that causes formation of abnormal blood vessels, Marques tells the Times, expanding on a Facebook post she wrote the day after Marks died.

The disorder helped fuel his intellectual curiosity, Marques said, because it forced him to avoid physical exertion.

UPDATE: Fund for composer Mary Kouyoumdjian after death of fiancé Matt Marks passes $33,000

Composers Matt Marks and Mary Kouyoumdjian on a trip to Maine posted on her Facebook page.

The Columbia University music faculty has set up a GoFundMe campaign for composer Mary Kouyoumdjian’s possible “emergency costs” in the wake of the death of her fiancé, composer and Alarm Will Sound founding member Matt Marks.

By midday Tuesday, the fund, whose initial goal was $5,000, had attracted more than $33,000 in contributions.

To view the campaign and donate, GO HERE.

On the Slipped Disc New Music blog, commenter trolls (I guess there are trolls in every part of the internet, but this stunned me) have been horribly and unnecessarily brutal in questioning or condemning the fund-raising campaign for Kouyoumdjian.

I don’t know what unexpected expenses she might be facing as a result of her fiancé’s death, but it seems to me that it’s an individual’s prerogative to contribute to any cause he or she chooses.

Although I haven’t seen a wedding date for the couple mentioned, recent social media posts indicate the couple must have set one. There were mentions of picking out a dress and tasting wedding cakes, things that generally aren’t done prospectively,

Marks’ death Friday morning remains officially unexplained, though his sister, Suzanne Marques, in a lovingly gut-wrenching Facebook tribute to her “baby brother,” discusses a serious health issue he faced. Her exposition appears to provide at least a clue to what might have happened.

It cast something of a pall on this weekend’s Bang on a Can Marathon — a 10-plus hour concert of New Music, the world that nurtures the music of Marks and Kouyoumdjian — at New York University’s Skirball Performing Arts Center, It was addressed in a beautiful statement read by Bang on a Can All-Stars member Ken Thomson.

Bang on a Can Marathon: Today’s the day

Bang on a Can Marathon 2018

Artists scheduled to perform at the Bang on a Can Marathon 2018

What day could be more appropriate than Mothers’ Day for the mother of  all Bang on a Can Marathons.

The free 10-hour multi-genre show kicks off at noon at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Featured artists and composers include Bang on a Can founders David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe, along with one of their mentors, Terry Riley — and, of course, the Bang on a Can All Stars.

But performances aren’t limited to contemporary classical. Singer-songwriter and Magnetic Fields‘ frontman Stephin Merritt is appearing in the first hour of the show, with cellist bandmate Sam Davol, to appeal to the pop audience. Another artist with proven crossover appeal, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Xenia Rubinos, appears later in the day.

If you can’t make it to Skirball, a livestream is scheduled. GO HERE to connect (free registration required to watch).

Check out the full performance schedule after the jump

Continue reading

New York composer Matt Marks dies at 38

Composer Matt Marks died Friday, May 11, 2018.

Composer Matt Marks died Friday, May 11, 2018.

Talented young composer Matt Marks  — really a quadruple threat, given his beautiful singing ability, high-level horn playing (he was a founding member of leading contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound), and arranging — died Friday, May 11.

He was 38.

He died in St. Louis, Missouri, where Alarm Will Sound had performed on May 9 and had been doing some recording, the band’s marketing director, Michael Clayville, tells NPR’s Deceptive Cadence blog.

Related: Fundraiser for Matt Marks’ fiancée

Learning of the sweet, funny, and sometimes acid-tongued Marks’ death under any circumstances would have been gutting. But my first clue came when composer Ted Hearne’s heartfelt tribute turned up in my Facebook feed Saturday night. I was in New Music setting that was such a familiar part of Marks’ life: at the Alexander Kasser Theater in Montclair, New Jersey, for a Peak Performances presentation of Julia Wolfe and Maya Beiser’s “Spinning,”with composer David Lang and artist Suzanne Bocanegra among the members of the audience.

The context — Peak Performances has a track record of incubating powerful new works, including David T. Little’s “Dog Days,” which springs from a well that also nourished Marks’ work — made the news of his death that much more of a gut punch.

Marks’ passing was announced on Facebook by his fiancee, Mary Kouyoumdjian.

No cause of death was given.

Alarm Will Sound posted an announcement hours after Kouyoumdjian, which precisely repeated her parting admonition: “We appreciate your sensitivity during this difficult time.”

The always funny Marks — he frequently offered random, wry, witty commentary on Twitter, lately as “Matt Marks (aka JonBenét Gramsci)” and for many years, simply under the childlike moniker “Mafoo” —  died the morning after he tweeted news that the National Endowment for the Arts had approved a $10,000 grant for the staging of his splendid opera, “Mata Hari” (seen last year at New York’s Prototype Festival) at the West Edge Opera in Berkeley, California, in August.

WATCH: An excerpt from composer Matt Marks’ opera “Mata Hari”:

I saw and was impressed by “Mata Hari” at Prototype —  where the composer, as always made a point to offer a cheerful hello —  Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? last posted about him in 2010, after a performance of his earlier work, “The Little Death: Vol. 1,” which he also performed with soprano Mellissa Hughes.

So, I couldn’t say I knew him well, and don’t wish to take anything away from his close friends and family. I simply knew him through his often brilliant and usually funny work, and his public persona of a down-to-earth person who was consistently pleasant and friendly.

Composers Ted Hearne, far left, and Caroline Shaw, far right, were in the chorus for a performance of Matt Marks'

Composers Ted Hearne, far left, and Caroline Shaw, far right, were in the chorus for a performance of Matt Marks’ “The Little Death: Vol. 1” at Galapagos in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood in 2010, with Marks and Mellissa Hughes in the lead roles. (© 2010, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Marks had only begun to reveal the full extent of his ability. He’s a composer who always held a special place in my heart because I got to see him and his work early on and watch him grow and blossom.

R.I.P. Matt Marks.

WATCH: The Beatles’ “Revolution No. 9,” arranged by Matt Marks:

The wait’s almost over: First new album from the Schramms in 15 years is finished, awaiting release

Dave Schramm backs up Chris Stamey at Little City Books in Hoboken, New Jersey, on April 20, 2018. (Photo copyright 2018, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)The Schramms have finished their first new album in 15 years, the band’s founder and guitarist Dave Schramm tells us, and is slated for release sometime later this year.

It’s the Schramms’ first album since 2003’s live “official bootleg” collection, “2000 Weiss Beers From Home.”

Schramm, a Hoboken, New Jersey, -based guitar wizard who has played with Human Switchboard and Yo La Tengo, and is closely associated with the indie music scene centered on Maxwell’s, revealed the news the other day at Little City Books, co-owned by Kate Jacobs, another Hoboken music icon.

“It’s recorded,” he says, adding that it is slated for release sometime this year on Hoboken’s Bar/None Records, which has been busy this year with a sparkling new release “Everybody’s Insecure” from Elk City and a beautiful rerelease of “Shore Leave,” the debut album by Feelies percussionist Dave Weckerman’s Yung Wu.

Schramm said he has been hoping for a spring release, but indicated that didn’t seem likely now.

Nothing’s listed on the Bar/None website so far.

A post on the band’s website dated Dec. 2, 2009, which appears to be the latest update, said a new album was “nearing completion.” It looks like Schramm was a little optimistic about the timetable back then.

The band’s Facebook page, which appears not to have been updated since 2015, lists a lineup of Schramm on guitar and vocals, Andrew Harris Burton on keys and vocals, Jon Graboff on guitar and vocals, Al Greller on Bass, and Ron Metz on drums.