Tag Archives: Sharon Van Etten

Having spoken of Port St. Willow here before and having listened to and been moved by ‘Even’ in the past few months, it should come as no surprise that I’m loving this new track I stumbled upon this morning.  Even better is the project that brought forth this new jam, Shaking Through.  Put on by Weathervane Music and WXPN , Shaking Through is billed as a musical and video web series designed to help out the indie artist.  Fuck yes.

I’m spoken about that here before too, you know.  How we should all respect and appreciate and support individuals and groups that are kind enough to live in relative poverty with no real sense of a home because of all the coming and going that revolves around supporting oneself by touring.  They have put themselves out there for us, to inspire us and make us think, when the alternative, so very kindly spoon fed to us by popular culture, is Katy Perry and Britney Spears.  I’m sorry, but the only thing either of those women make me think is:

  • “Dude, is she fucking serious?!”
  • “Dude, when will she stop?!”
  • “Dude, does she really think jeans cut off to look like underwear are appropriate?”
  • “Dude, I could sell her my high school journals, all rhyme-ey and shit to sing and I could make a killing!”
  • “Dude, America.  WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”

Tangent.  Apologies.  This line from Shaking Through did me in: “…today more than ever there’s a profound need for all of us to actively support independent music.”  Right?!  Part of what’s so great about this community is that you need not be the drummer in a band or the biggest blogger on the block to be included.  I can love a Beaten Sea song and get an email from the guy that made it.  I can write one of my favorite record labels and they’ll talk to me.  I can contact a booking agent and she’ll call me on the phone.  This music and this community is not iron-gated.

There is great music to be heard.  It’s easily found and sites and organizations like Shaking Through make it easier to wade through the shit and get to the heart of it.  As Peter Silberman (of The Antlers) says, “This way of releasing music and introducing new bands could be the start of a huge change that is really needed right now.”  Nick Principe, the man behind Port St. Willow agrees: “I think that more things like this need to exist and I think that as a culture we clearly value art but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find ways to support it.”

Below, Shaking Through was kind enough to document the process of life-long friends Silberman and Principe recording ‘Stay Even’.  It’s a slide show that, as the men say, lets us see their process, piece by piece, and in the end we get to experience the same magic that people actually making records do.  It’s a road we, as listeners, don’t often get to travel.  And it’s golden.

Port. St. Willow :: Stay Even [MP3]

Hit up Shaking Through and be sure to check the jams by Floating Action, Springs, and the wonderful and lovely Sharon Van Etten, among the rest.

BUY Port St. Willow’s Even // Wasteland

My Wednesday was divided into four, very distinct parts: the earliest part consisted of coffee, cigarettes, and cooking brussel sprouts (fried in bacon grease, yo) and fresh asparagus.  Part A was decent enough — I’m not a cook but I made due.  Spaghetti-Os at the work Thanksgiving feast I myself had organized would have been rude as fuck.  Part B consisted of said dinner at work.  I spend my days making money to feed others who cannot feed themselves and so, to me, it feels like we should all have a day where we sit together as a work family to laugh and feed each other instead.  It was lovely.  I love lovely.

Part C came after the dinner.  I was at work, still.  There were hours more of the day left and I realized I was due at a staff meeting.  I hate meetings, dude.  They can be awkward and I hate awkward more than meetings.  There’s potential for it and that alone skeeves out my damn brain.  I had to drive to this meeting and the weather here is losing it’s damn mind, which also triggers a severe flight or fight response on my part.  Part C was the definition of ‘BALLS!’.

And then.  Then there was Part D.  Part D consisted of me standing in a circle, arms linked with people ranging in age from 16 to 82.  This last part was spent witnessing the inner workings of our program to hand out Christmas gifts to over 750 children.  This last part centered around 22 overworked people giving their best and their all this season to help our community’s most needy.  Really puts your shit in perspective, man.

After the meeting, in the rainy dark, I walked to my car alone and I felt really fucking good.  Like, “fuck yeah, life!”.  How stupid we all can be sometimes, you know?  Good shit happened to me today (dude who writes Muzzle of Bees said I knew my shit (!), I got to blow off an hour of paid work time to be with friends I genuinely care for, and I’m friggin’ alive so there’s that) and I let a damn meeting blow it out of the water.

On the way home, driving miles along a crowded interstate, weaving through the cars full of families making their way here from distant states to sit at tables with loved ones and gorge on ugly birds, I picked a random disc from the pile covered in sugary soda juice in my car’s console.  My ride was dimly lit and I could not make out my writing on the upside of that mix but I inserted it anyway.  And there it was.  It was all fine.  It had all gotten better.  I had moved on.  Music was the icing on top of the cake that represents my day and it just went and un-fucked it all.

Some jams from that mix, if you please.


Willie Nelson :: Time of The Preacher [MP3]

When I was little, there was more Willie in our house than anything.  Willie is our man.  We will travel for Willie, we will gather in familial groups larger than the one we had at Thanksgiving (we did last year) for Willie, we are a devoted Willie fan base within ourselves.  Also note, Willie is the only man I will accept covering The Allman Bros.  Look it up.

[BUY Red-Headed Stranger]


The Rosebuds :: Nice Fox [MP3]

Jam came on, I (re-)remembered how much I love the damn Rosebuds and then I started wondering whether or not Jude could draw a nice little fox.  He’s working on it right now under my feet as I type.  Also, tune’ll change your broad view of the shittiness of your day in a heartbeat: at least you’re not a dead fox.  For real.

[BUY Life Like]


Breathe Owl Breathe :: Sabertooth Tiger [MP3]

Seriously assholes, this song saves the day.  EVERY.  FUCKING.  TIME.  Mastadons, glaciers, river, and most importantly, moms.   In short, it’s really hard to be a pissed off grown up when you’re listening to music that makes kid’s dance.

[BUY Ghost Glacier EP]


Sharon Van Etten :: Consolation Prize [MP3]

The moral story is: SVE is badass.  Every time I listen to Van Etten I get newly pissed that some dude, a total fuck no doubt, ever felt like it was okay to make her feel like she wasn’t good enough.  The consolation prize there is that he surely now feels like the biggest dolt this side of indie chick rock.

[BUY Epic]


Dwight Yoakam :: Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose [MP3]

You cannot touch my love for Dwight.  My first concert was Dwight when I was in my early teens: a tornado ventured into the outdoor venue, my little brother cried and lost his cowboy hat, our chairs blew away, and we begged my mother to let us leave as we watched a funnel cloud make it’s way towards us in the distance.  She refused.  Because of her refusal, we got great seats when everyone else left fearing for their lives.  You cannot touch my love for Dwight.  Don’t even try, hipster.

[BUY If There Was A Way]


Saintseneca :: Wonderlust [MP3]

Wade on?  Yes, I think I will.

[BUY the Self-Titled 7″]


The Black Keys :: Howlin’ For You [MP3]

The Black Keys could literally un-fuck any day.  I do not like overtly sexual jams (on the other hand, overt sex I’m down with) and that’s not what this is but dude.  DUDE.  I think Stephen Hawking himself would agree that there is something in the musical combination of Dan Auerbach’s vox/guitar and Patrick Carney’s drumming skillz that make (good, smart) people wanna make babies with other (good, smart) people.

[BUY Brothers]


Bon Iver :: Wisconsin [MP3]

This is how you know I’m odd: I make mixes that include The Black Keys followed by Justin Vernon.

[BUY For Emma, Forever Ago]


The War On Drugs :: Baby Missiles [MP3]

The War On Drugs are my incredibly modern Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.  ‘Baby Missiles’ is to my 2010 what ‘Taking the Farm’ was to my 2008.

[BUY Future Weather]


Feathe :: Messy Rooms [MP3]

Folk.  Chicks.  Eau Claire.  Fuck yeah.

[BUY Flora EP]


Wintersleep :: Weighty Ghost [MP3]

I have not seen your ghost, dudes, but I see those goddamn clouds…

[BUY New Inheritors]


The Giving Tree Band :: Circles [MP3]

Aw shit, if a dude’s woman NOT being alone when he gets home doesn’t make YOU feel better about your life then you’re just an ass.  As a sidenote, you’ve got to wait for this song to take off.  It will, a minute in.  JUST WAIT.

[BUY The Joke, The Threat, and The Obvious]


Elephant Revival :: Go On [MP3]

Sometimes the simplest of words and phrases make you feel like someone knows, like someone out there gets it.  Sometimes the words that you make you feel as such are “go on, it’s alright.  We all feel something similar sometimes.”

[BUY Break In The Clouds]


We all feel something similar sometimes.  On that note, until next time, kids.  Happy mixin’.

6am Repeat is a recurring feature here at Folk Hive in which we stream the latest track that plays incessantly in the earbuds when we awake at that hour and imbibe massive amounts of coffee and cigarettes in preparation for the advancing day.

From that first sound of the startlingly calm guitar riff on ‘I Make Windows’ I was a fan.  Then came the harmonies and “nothing will be fine” was sung by two or three or four and though if taken at face value it’s a slightly depressing sentence, when Forest Fire gives it to us, it’s hopeful.  Hopeful.  And the jam?  The jam fits that disheartening prospect so perfectly sweetly.

That this band is unsigned is almost as sad as the lyrics can be, if you will let them.  I only realized the involvement of one Sharon Van Etten after falling in love with Forest Fire but we’ll call that the cement, setting my appreciation.  I just wrote my name in that wet cement.


Forest Fire :: I Make Windows [MP3]

{From 2009’s Survival, available for streaming at Catbird Records.)