Track Of The Day: Sharon Van Etten – ‘Beaten Down’

Dark synths, atmospheric keys, and sparse echoing beats permeate ‘Beaten Down’, the latest single from Sharon Van Etten. A poignant reflection on “love, patience and empathy”, Etten’s voice smolders throughout the track, which is accompanied by a beautifully shot black & white video, directed by Nicky and Juliana Giraffe (Giraffe Studios).

“‘Beaten Down’ is about making life-changing choices and remaining strong enough to see them through”, Etten explains. This subtle strength permeates the song, in which she transforms vulnerability into sounds that help to strengthen a backbone in the face of adversity.

“Upon hearing the song, our minds automatically drifted into stark black and white, fever dreams, dark silhouettes contrasted against a barren desert landscape”, explain directors Nicky and Juliana. The visuals feature both Etten, and twin dancing duo Allison and Veronica Huber. “Our intention was to give Sharon’s song and performance space to breathe and echo” they explain further. “It was important to us that the dancers were strongly connected.”

This connection between the sounds and visuals makes Etten’s latest single a compelling, intensely repeatable listen. Watch the video for ‘Beaten Down’ below, and follow Sharon Van Etten on Facebook & Spotify for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Heather Woods Broderick – ‘Invitation’

Oregon-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Heather Woods Broderick releases her third album Invitation this month. Having toured with Sharon Van Etten, Efterklang, and Lisa Hannigan, her new album is laden with dreamy Baroque pop sounds, built around piano and vocal melodies, with poetic lyrics inspired by her move to a quiet corner of the Pacific North West.

Opener ‘Stilling Wind’, with its gentle electronics and slow dreamy guitar, deals with memories invoked by once familiar landscapes – “how did you slow the tide and disappear so quickly… Have I changed yet, or do my habits still remain?” The lush atmosphere leads into the beautifully poetic ‘I Try’, whilst imagery of the natural surroundings intertwines with the music in the country-sounding ‘Nightcrawler’, and in ‘Where I Lay’ producing a haunting effect.

The piano opens out into an elegiac chorus, like the powerful, crashing waves of the landscape in ‘Slow Dazzle’, and ‘A Daydream’ provide moments of pleasure in solitude, before the pace picks up again on ‘White Tail’ with its nocturnal forest sounds and ethereal vocal exploring Heather’s experiences with depression and finding a transcendence.

The beautifully personal piano ballads ‘Quicksand’ and ‘My Sunny One’ deal with alcoholism and failed relationships respectively, whilst closing track ‘Invitation’ completes the journey of self-acceptance: “I left that candle burning… I dreamt it took me last night into the darker side of life.”

I too accept the invitation this delicately-crafted album offers for introspection and the beauty found in stillness. The sentiment, that it is not the fear of falling, but getting back up again, recurs throughout each captivating song, offering hope and light.

Invitation is out 19th April via Western Vinyl.

Fi Ni Aicead
@gotnomoniker