Tuesday, December 25, 2012

STN Albums Of The Year 7-6

7 Sharon Van Etten - Tramp
van Etten refers to her songwriting as "self-therapy", which usually (and indeed before this album) means close-miked confessional. There's still a little of that but a new expansiveness works for the cause just as well, her tremulous, often drawling, more than likely emotionally cracked voice almost having to both fight back the anguish, anger and resignation and fight against its musical containment. It has evident peers - Tanya Donelly, mid-period PJ Harvey - in its headspace red mist-tinted confusion without letting herself off the hook, but Tramp really represents the flowering of a great individual voice, one that uses oppressiveness and anxiety as public sounding boards.

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

6 Cat Power - Sun
Memphis adventure done, Sun finds Chan Marshall in the middle ground between the self-laceration of yore and the cleaned up neo-commercial singer of the last two albums. Able to make bright, optimistic music alongside questioning of the id and not sound forced, it's an evolving of her ever troubled musical persona that never quite settles on anything, veering from roots rock to synths while making them sound like different parts of the same idiosyncratic outlook. Eventually you pick up that Marshall's poison this time is positivism, the idea that she's not worse off than most, acting as the light at the end of a very irregularly built tunnel.

[Amazon] [iTunes] [Spotify]

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