The Wild Hearts Tour has partnered with Plus 1 so that $1 from every ticket will go to support people rebuilding their lives after incarceration.
Join Sharon, Angel, and Julien as they head across the country with their bands for three very special individual sets of music on The Wild Hearts Tour. Special guest Spencer. will be opening the evening. These summer time shows will be full nights of music and a true experience from beginning to end.
Effective immediately, all concerts and events at First Avenue and associated venues will require either proof of a full series of COVID-19 vaccination, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken in the prior 72 hours. More info HERE.
Doors open at 5PM | Show starts at 6PM | 18+ | $50 Advance | $55 Day of Show
Sharon Van Etten’s Remind Me Tomorrow comes four years after Are We There, and reckons with the life that gets lived when you put off the small and inevitable maintenance in favor of something more present. Throughout Remind Me Tomorrow, Sharon Van Etten veers towards the driving, dark glimmer moods that have illuminated the edges of her music and pursues them full force. With curling low vocals and brave intimacy, Remind Me Tomorrow is an ambitious album that provokes our most sensitive impulses: reckless affections, spirited nurturing, and tender courage.
"I wrote this record while going to school, pregnant, after taking the OA audition,” says Van Etten. "I met Katherine Dieckmann while I was in school and writing for her film. She’s a true New Yorker who has lived in her rent controlled west village apartment for over 30 years. Her husband lives across the hall. They raised two kids this way. When I expressed concern about raising a child as an artist in New York City, she said ‘you're going to be fine. Your kids are going to be fucking fine. If you have the right partner, you’ll figure it out together.'” Van Etten goes on, “I want to be a mom, a singer, an actress, go to school, but yeah, I have a stain on my shirt, oatmeal in my hair and I feel like a mess, but I'm here. Doing it. This record is about pursuing your passions."
The reality is Remind Me Tomorrow was written in stolen time: in scraps of hours wedged between myriad endeavors — Van Etten guest-starred in The OA, and brought her music onstage in David Lynch’s revival of Twin Peaks. Off-screen, she wrote her first score for Katherine Dieckmann’s movie Strange Weather and the closing title song for Tig Notaro’s show, Tig. She goes on, “The album title makes me giggle. It occurred to me one night when I, on auto-pilot, clicked 'remind me tomorrow' on the update window that pops up all the time on my computer. I hadn't updated in months! And it's the simplest of tasks!”
The songs on Remind Me Tomorrow have been transported from Van Etten’s original demos through John Congleton’s arrangement. Congleton helped flip the signature Sharon Van Etten ratio, making the album more energetic-upbeat than minimal-meditative. “I was feeling overwhelmed. I couldn't let go of my recordings - I needed to step back and work with a producer.” She continues, “I tracked two songs as a trial run with John [Jupiter 4 and Memorial Day]. I gave him Suicide, Portishead, and Nick Cave's Skeleton Tree as references and he got excited. I knew we had to work together. It gave me the perspective I needed. It’s going to be challenging for people in a good way." The songs are as resonating as ever, the themes are still an honest and subtle approach to love and longing, but Congleton has plucked out new idiosyncrasies from Van Etten’s sound.
For Remind Me Tomorrow, Van Etten put down the guitar. When she was writing the score for Strange Weather her reference was Ry Cooder, so she was playing her guitar constantly and getting either bored or getting writer's block. At the time, she was sharing a studio space with someone who had a synthesizer and an organ, and she wrote on piano at home, so she naturally gravitated to keys when not working on the score - to clear her mind. Remind Me Tomorrow shows this magnetism towards new instruments: piano keys that churn, deep drones, distinctive sharp drums. It was “reverb universe” she says of the writing. There are intense synths, a propulsive organ, a distorted harmonium. The demo version of “Comeback Kid” was originally a piano ballad, but driven by Van Etten’s assertion that she “didn’t want it to be pretty”, it evolved into a menacing anthem.
Cavernous drones pull the freight for “Memorial Day,” which fleshes out an introvert in warrior mode. The spangled “Seventeen” began as a Lucinda Williams-esque dirge but wound up more of a nod to Bruce Springsteen, exploring gentrification and generational patience. Van Etten shows the chain reaction, of moving to a city bright-eyed and hearing the elders complain about the city changing, and then being around long enough to know what they were talking about. She wrote the song semi-inter-generationally with Kate Davis, who sang on a demo version when the song was in its infancy.
Since her last album, Van Etten has had a young son, and family life is joyful. Preparing and finishing these songs, she found herself expressing deep doubts about the world around him, and a complicated need to present a bright future for him. “There is a tear welling up in the back of my eye as I’m singing these love songs,” she says, “I am trying to be positive. There is strength to them. It’s— I wouldn’t say it’s a mask, but it’s what the parents have to do to make their kid feel safe.”
Alongside working on Remind Me Tomorrow, Van Etten has been exploring her talents (musical, emotional, otherwise) down other paths. She’s continuing to act, to write scores and soundtrack contributions, and she’s returning to school for psychology. The breadth of these passions, of new careers and projects and lifelong roles, have inflected Remind Me Tomorrow with a wise sense of a warped-time perspective. This is the tension that arches over the album, fusing a pained attentive realism and radiant lightness about new love.
How do you best describe Angel Olsen? From the lo-fi, sparse folk-melancholy of her 2010 EP, Strange Cacti, to the electrified, polished rock ‘n’ roll bursting from 2016’s beloved and acclaimed My Woman, Olsen has refused to succumb to a single genre, expectation, or vision. Impossible to pin down, Olsen navigates the world with her remarkable, symphonic voice and a propensity for narrative, her music growing into whatever shape best fits to tell the story.
Phases is a collection of Olsen’s work culled from the past several years, including a number of never-before-released tracks. “Fly On Your Wall,” previously contributed to the Bandcamp-only, anti-Trump fundraiser Our First 100 Days, opens Phases, before seamlessly slipping into “Special,” a brand new song from the My Woman recording sessions. Both “How Many Disasters” and “Sans” are first-time listens: home-recorded demos that have never been released, leaning heavily on Olsen’s arresting croon and lonesome guitar.
The release of Phases comes at the ideal time, a quiet extension of what has been a monumental whirlwind of a year for Olsen. My Woman, one of 2016’s most universally extolled albums, catapulted Olsen, an already revered songwriter, into a larger, beaming spotlight. The record made regular appearances on year-end Top 10 lists in Pitchfork, Time, American Songwriter, Esquire, Newsweek, amongst other publications. My Woman also beat out releases from Radiohead, Run the Jewels, and Bon Iver to be voted Album of the Year at the 2017 A2IM Libera Awards.
That same outpouring of love for My Woman also had Olsen on the road for the better part of the year, touring around the world. It began with a performance of “Shut Up Kiss Me” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, before barreling into a summer full of sold-out shows across both the US and Europe. She also performed on Conan ahead of a sold-out set at Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, the biggest sold-out stop until Olsen went on to sell out the Roundhouse Theatre in London. Other standout sets included a taping for the legendary Austin City Limits PBS program, and performing at Glastonbury, Pitchfork Music Festival, ACL, and other major festivals.
On a more intimate level, My Woman also allowed Olsen to share her innate creativity and storytelling in a visual way. She directed the videos for tracks “Shut Up Kiss Me,” “Sister,” and “Intern,” offering a new, immersive glimpse into what an Angel Olsen song looks like.
Which brings us to Phases, an album that allows a moment of thoughtful, reflective calm amongst a year of success and growth. The b-sides release is both a testament to Olsen’s enormous musical range and a tidy compilation of tracks that have previously been elusive in one way or another. Balancing tenacity and tenderness, Phases acts as a deep-dive for longtime fans, as well as a fitting introduction to Olsen’s sprawling sonics for the uninitiated.
If you are lucky enough to have a future where the present anxieties of distance become romantic memories, I hope there are people who turn this album over in their hands years from now and remember the world it tumbled into. A world that, in whatever future moment exists, will likely be defined by the work people undertook and the fights people continued to show up for. But it will also be a world defined by how many of us exist on the other side of distance.
In the moment, here is a new Julien Baker album that arrives as a world comes to newly understand its relationship with touch, with distance. At the time of this writing, I shouldn’t want to run into the arms of anyone I love and miss, and yet I do. In an era of hands pressed on the glass of windows, or screen doors. An era of hands reaching back. An era where touch became an illusion. If we have been unlucky enough, our own lifetimes have prepared us for the ever-growing tapestry of aches.
To wrestle with the interior of one’s self has become a side effect of the times, and will remain a side-effect of whatever times emerge from these. The first time I ever heard Julien Baker, I wanted to know how an artist could survive such relentless and rigorous self-examination. I have been lonely, I have been alone, and I have been isolated. There are musicians who know the nuances between the three. What whispers in through the cracks of a person’s time alone. Julien Baker is one of those artists. A writer who examines their own mess, not in a search for answers, but sometimes just for a way out. A lighthouse to some newer, bigger mess.
It is hard to put into words what this feels like. Little Oblivions is an album that steps into that feeling and expands it. Sonically, from the opening swells of sound on “Hardline” rattling the chest, loving but persistent jabs to the way “Relative Fiction” spills into “Crying Wolf,” which feels like speeding down a warm highway that quickly turns into a sparse landscape, drowning in a hard rain. Lyrically, too, of course. There are writers who might attempt to bang at the doors of their listeners, shouting their particular anguish of the hour. And there are undoubtedly times when I have needed that to get from one sunrise to the next. But there are also writers who show up assuming anyone listening already knows what it is to crawl themselves back from one heartbreak, or to shout into an enduring darkness and hear only an echo. Little Oblivions is an album that details the crawling, details the shouting. An album that doesn’t offer repair, or forgiveness. Sometimes, though, a chance to revel in the life that is never guaranteed. Yes, the life that grows and grows and is never promised. How lucky to still be living, even in our own mess.
The grand project of Julien Baker, as I have always projected it onto myself, is the central question of what someone does with the many calamities of a life they didn’t ask for, but want to make the most out of. I have long been done with the idea of hope in such a brutal and unforgiving world, but I’d like to think that this music drags me closer to the old idea I once clung to. But these are songs of survival, and songs of reimagining a better self, and what is that if not hope? Hope that on the other side of our wreckage – self-fashioned or otherwise – there might be a door. And through the opening of that door, a tree spilling its shade over something we love. A bench and upon it, a jacket that once belonged to someone we’d buried. Birds who ask us to be an audience to their singing. A small and generous corner of the earth that has not yet burned down or disappeared. I can be convinced of this kind of hope, even as I fight against it. To hear someone wrestling with and still thankful for the circumstances of a life that might reveal some brilliance if any of us just stick around long enough.
Julien, how good it is to hear you again. And now, in all of our anguish and all of our glory. I miss the way the outside world reflected myself back to me. Now, I make mirrors out of the walls. I am so thankful for a better noise than the howling of my own shadows. Julien, you have done it again. You expert magician. You mirror-maker. Thank you for letting us once again watch you maneuver through all of your pleasant and unpleasant self-renderings. If there is a future, there will be people in it who might not remember how this album came at a time when so many hungered for a chance to put themselves back together. When the imagination of a person, a city, a country, was expanding. When, despite all of that, in the quiet moments, there were people who still wanted to be held by someone they maybe couldn’t touch. Thank you, Julien, for this comfort. This glass box through which a person might better be able to see a use for their own grief. This kingdom of small shards of sunlight, stumbling their way in to disrupt the darkness.
— Hanif Abdurraqib
When Spencer. dropped out of college, he gave himself a year to get his career off the ground. “My parents were understandably upset when I left school,” he says, “but I promised them I’d go back if things didn’t work out.” Less than twelve months later, he’d racked up millions of streams on Spotify, garnered glowing reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, and signed a record deal with 4AD.
Hailed by Fader for his “sweet and soulful” songwriting and “warm-toned” voice and by Pigeons & Planes as an “old soul with a timeless sound”, Spencer. makes the kind of music that defies easy categorization. Take a listen to the twenty-year-old’s intoxicating new single, 'Automatic', and you’ll hear the full depth and breadth of his range: there’s R&B in his velvety vocals, hip-hop in his off-kilter beats, funk in his effervescent basslines, and moody indie rock in his reverb-soaked guitar. His influences are eclectic to match, with everyone from Miles Davis to Thundercat getting a nod, and he writes, records, and produces nearly every element of his music himself. The result is a bold, emotionally riveting sound, one that’s steeped equally in alternative and pop, organic and digital, past and present.
Born and raised in Rochester, NY, to chemist parents who presciently gifted him the middle name Miles (for Miles Davis), a career in music beckoned from an early age with 4-year-old Spencer. lobbying his Jamaican mother and British father for trumpet lessons in tribute to his namesake. Rochester’s rich and underappreciated creative scene nurtured his musical skills, and he won a place on a summer jazz programme at the city’s prestigious Eastman School of Music in his teens. A self-taught producer who has always recorded in isolation, he started self-releasing home recordings in 2018, and eventually dropped out of college when his EP Want U Back became a word-of-mouth hit.
Now transplanted to the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Bed Stuy, itself a fertile ground for creative enterprise, Spencer. is a main player in a tight-knit and supportive creative community that also boasts Clairo, Snail Mail, Claud, Advisry, Binki, Cautious Clay, and Triathlon amongst its burgeoning talent.
Written and recorded during the pandemic, Are U Down? is about the struggle of a relationship and a sense of longing cuts through its 11 tracks. Featuring 4AD labelmate Becky and the Birds (vocals on ‘After The Show’), Luke Diamond (guitars) and Jake Aron (some additional production), Spencer. has integrated neo-soul vocal fireworks, hip-hop flow and pop ambition into an album steeped in all the feels of a New York summer.