• For the Record: Sharon Van Etten

    Things people are saying about musician Sharon Van Etten’s new album, Are We There, include: 

    1. “…a masterpiece, an album of extraordinary depth and sophistication that finds the New York singer and songwriter in full command of her considerable talent. (via Paste)
    2. “…her most present-tense album to date, her most immediate and urgent—the peak of a steady upward trajectory. (via Pitchfork)
    3. “A poignant tour-de-force, the message of Are We There is urgent, its delivery selfless” (via Pretty Much Amazing)

    The record, Van Etten’s fourth, was released in late May, and like all of her work, it’s an earnestly vulnerable and deeply personal album filled with, as she explains, “songs that hurt like hell.” It is an often gut-wrenching trip through the complexities of a relationship. It is an appropriate use of the word “heavy,” but in a way that is satisfyingly sincere.  

    Van Etten has spoken widely—widely!—about the album’s inception, from the break-up that inspired much of its architecture to feeding the songwriting cycle that her career has so-far dictated. 

    Leading up to her UO “For the Record” vinyl signing on Thursday, July 3 at our Westover Road store in Portland, OR, we opted to lighten the mood by inviting Sharon to channel her own stomping grounds from the road—asking her to tell us all about her favorite things in NYC, from her ideal summer day in the city to her favorite haunts, from apartment horror stories to what its like to see Julie Andrews at the dentist.

    This is Sharon Van Etten’s New York.

    Years in the city? 

    Current neighborhood? 

    New York in the summer: what's on your itinerary for an ideal day?  
    Bike Ride along the West Side, picnic, then read on a bench.

    What was your first job in New York? 
    Salesman at Astor Wines

    Tell me a story about your worst New York apartment. 
    I moved to Linden Street off the JZ line in 2005 and the neighbors told me they didn't want me in their neighborhood: Literally told me they didn't want me in their neighborhood after I had just moved in. They made sure I didn't feel comfortable on their block.

    What's the most recent, truly great thing you saw in New York?
    I saw The Great Beauty at Angelika. So moving.  So vivid.  And afterward, I went to Veloce wine bar and had amazing wine. Perfect evening.

    Where in the city do you go to be alone?
    I love going to Film Forum and IFC to movies by myself and wine bars, in general. Also, the Comedy Cellar when I am feeling low.

    Tell me about a favorite New York memory.
    I went to my dentist and as I was paying my bill, Julie Andrews walked in. I was immediately in tears. Childhood hero.

    What's something very New York that you refuse to do?
    Hang out in Times Square

    What's something very New York that you shamelessly love?
    The city skyline at the waterfront by the promenade driving in a cab at night.

    Please share your best NYC survival tip.
    Don't be an asshole, but be kind of on-guard while helping people. And work your ass off.

    What makes someone a New Yorker?
     Living here and working here and helping people do the same.

    Method of transportation?  

    Bar where you're a regular? (and what's your poison?)  
    Four Faced Liar, Bourbon and beer

    Spot for leisurely brunch? 
    Joseph Leonard

    Spot for a celebratory dinner? 

    Morning coffee shop and order? 
    Americano at Joe's 

    Favorite music store? 
    Princeton Record Exchange (sorry! In Jersey!)

    Music venue?  
    Bowery Ballroom

    Where do you get your news? 
    Gothamist and New York Times

    Place to see art?  

    Place to be outside? 
    Washington Square Park or the West Side

    Easy summer day trip?  
    Long Beach Island

    Place for a group hangout?  
    My friend Taylor's house

    Place to people-watch?  
    Washington Square Park

    Place to be inspired?  


    And if you're in Portland, be sure to stop by Sharon's UO "For the Record" vinyl signing Thursday, July 3 from 4-5pm at the Urban Outfitters on Westover Road, Portland, OR.