Are you ever watching something and you get the feeling that, at that exact moment, a person's career is stepping to the next level (or at least was five hours ago when they pre-recorded it)?
Like Steve Carell as The Office hit, The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show or velociraptors finally making a name for themselves in Jurassic Park, Sharon Van Etten may have made that break last night on Conan and with her new album Tramp (dropped 2/7).
You may have seen Van Etten sitting in small venues armed with a guitar and somebody to harmonize with or covering the Fine Young Cannibals (awesome) for the AVClub (.com), but from what I'm hearing of Tramp, we'll soon be jamming her in our cars, on TV, at the movies and piped into our brains when we finally succumb to the new alien overlords (who are also big fans).
What I've posted here is her first single "Serpents," but what I saw on Conan was Van Etten performing her song "Leonard" (which is not up yet, but I'll hit this page with a link when it is). It blew me away because, well, I didn't know she could be so loud.
Her early work is good -- but quiet, tender and folksy. Old songs like "One Day" are catchy, but feel as if they might softly break if they fell off a shelf. Van Etten has a uniquely deep, rich voice which I hadn't heard her extend to this level yet. Add in a rolling drum and another electric guitar and I find myself fully on-board with this fleshed-out new direction.
I posted "Serpents" because it sticks to this full-band form and has a great moody, grungy sound. Her songs are always personal, yet approachable and stick you with rhythms you'll remember.
I had been looking forward to checking this new album but, alas, underwent surgery on the day of its release. I'll be sure not to schedule them on Tuesdays in the future.
But, hey -- sometimes you're just meant to hear something.
Rock and/or roll.
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Here's the link to the Conan performance...