Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten has never needed much room to make a grand statement. With four albums released during the last six years, she’s become one of music’s most astute new cartographers of the heart. Her second record, epic, needed only seven tracks to live up to its title. Her subsequent albums for Jagjaguwar, 2012’s Tramp and last year’s Are We There, went longer, but Van Etten managed still to squeeze enormous sentiments into especially small spaces. From start to rising stardom, Van Etten has forever understood the impact of economy.
It should come as no surprise that Van Etten’s forthcoming five-song EP, I Don’t Want to Let You Down, functions as much more than some between-albums, on-tour stopgap. In only 22 minutes, Van Etten offers documents of surrender and disappointment, admission and longing. The songs are as sophisticated and evolved as anything Van Etten has ever done. Produced by Van Etten and Are We There producing partner Stewart Lerman, the EP features a sterling crew of collaborators: Heather Woods Broderick (keyboards, strings, vocals), Doug Keith (guitar), Zeke Hutchins (drums), Brad Cook (bass), Darren Jesse (drums), Peter Broderick (strings), Stuart Bogie (woodwinds), and The War On Drugs’ Adam Granduciel (guitar) and Dave Hartley (bass).
The EP culminates with a live rendition of “Tell Me,” captured last December at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre Del Liceu. The song had previously been available only on an expanded edition of Tramp. That acoustic demo remains intimate and wonderful, a showcase for the remarkable candor of Van Etten’s voice. But backed here by her four-piece touring band, the tune becomes a kind of battle cry for respect and a charged pronouncement of Van Etten’s cultivated powers.
Fred Armisen is one of the most diversely talented performers working today with credits that run the gamut from acting, producing, and writing in both comedy and music.
He is the co-creator, co-writer, and co-star of IFC’s Portlandia alongside Carrie Brownstein. He received an Emmy® nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series” in 2014 and a nomination for “Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series” in 2012, 2013, and 2014. In 2015, the show received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Variety Sketch Series.” In 2013, Armisen, along with the other writers, won a Writers Guild Award for “Outstanding Comedy/Variety Series,” they were nominated again in 2014. Portlandia received prestigious Peabody Award for excellence in 2011. The critically-acclaimed show recently finished its sixth season, and the seventh season will begin airing next year.
Armisen’s most recent venture the IFC comedy, Documentary Now! The show is a curated series of half-hour documentaries and biopics, each about a completely fictitious subject. Seth Meyers is an executive producer for the series along with Armisen and Hader, who play all of the primary roles. Additionally, Armisen recently teamed up with Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, NBCUniversal Telemundo, and fellow SNL alum Horatio Sanz to create a digital comedy channel aimed at the English-speaking Hispanic audience called Mas Mejor.
This past February, Armisen starred alongside Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penélope Cruz, Christine Taylor and Kristen Wiig in Zoolander 2.
An eleven season veteran of Saturday Night Live, Armisen has engaged audiences with memorable impressions and characters including world leaders like President Barack Obama or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He closed out his last season in the guise of British punk rocker Ian Rubbish with a star-studded performance of the original song “It’s a Lovely Day.”