The Black Keys

The best of Lollapalooza 2012 (in photos), Day 1

Our photo coverage of Friday’s festivities comes with a sizable asterisk, as the photo access for the night’s best set — Black Sabbath — was heavily restricted. Check out the rest while imagining the sweet riffs.

Lollapalooza 2012

ALARM’s must-see sets for Lollapalooza 2012

With the day’s first set, Lollapalooza 2012 officially begins at 11:30 AM CST — “bright and early” for professional rock bands.

We’ll be tweeting and posting to Facebook intermittently with our thoughts, and if you’re down at Grant Park too, let us know if you’re still alive. (Today’s high temp. will be in the low 90s with 50% humidity. Drink your bubble tea.)

Tonight’s festivities end with two of the billion bands to use “black” in their names — Black Sabbath and The Black Keys. Here’s our quick list of sets to catch:

Sharon Van Etten

Guest Spots: Sharon Van Etten’s ideal drinking partners

Sharon Van Etten: EpicSharon Van Etten: Epic (Ba Da Bing, 9/21/10)

Sharon Van Etten: “Don’t Do It”

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Sharon Van Etten was on the road to becoming a full-blown wine snob. After discovering its magic as a high-school exchange student in Spain, she worked for a time in a wine store and even took classes to increase her vino know-how. Eventually, she decided to pursue music full time instead. The folk singer/songwriter released her second full-length, Epic, late last year. Here, she addresses her passion for wine and explains the five people with which she’d want to share a bottle.

Five People (Living or Dead) I Would Love to Share a Bottle of Wine with and Why
by Sharon Van Etten

The Five People:  Anaïs Nin, Woody Allen, Bill Murray, PJ Harvey, and Rainer Maria Rilke.

The Wine:  A red wine from Bandol in Southeast France. The Mourvèdre grape adds body and spice; the wine embodies the garrigue landscape aromas of lavender, rosemary, licorice, and thyme. Paired with garlic-based dishes such as aioli. Known as one of the five noble wines. France is a country of passion, expression, and class, as are my five guests.

Sharon Van Etten

Q&A: Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten: EpicSharon Van Etten: Epic (Ba Da Bing, 9/21/10)

Sharon Van Etten: “Don’t Do It”

[audio:|titles=Sharon Van Etten: “Don’t Do It”]

Singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten was raised in a cozy New Jersey burg named Nutley. She grew up, ventured out on her own, moved to Tennessee — and had her heart broken by a man who made her doubt her own talent.  As a result, she came crawling back to her parents’ basement to piece together what went wrong, and there Van Etten found solace in songwriting. Her two major releases — Because I Was In Love (Language of Stone, 2009) and Epic (Ba Da Bing, 2010) — are the byproducts of a person aiming to find a foothold sturdy enough to climb back into the world.

Van Etten’s songs are un-flashy yet sincere, allowing her to build a loyal following in the slow, old-fashioned manner of connecting with people in that place where our emotions overlap. After months of touring, she is planning to disappear into a studio this summer to finally finish her third album with producer Aaron Dessner of The National. From her home in Brooklyn, Van Etten spoke with ALARM about songs, tattoos, wine, faeries, and Fleetwood Mac.

The openness of your songwriting seems to give your fans the impression that they’re allowed to open up to you. Do you feel an obligation to these strangers who tell you that you’ve “helped” them with your music?

It means a lot to me to know that my music connects with other people. That’s why I do it. I do it for me, but I would be completely selfish if I didn’t do it for other people as well. It’s encouraging to hear it. I do feel a certain sense of responsibility to be a positive influence on people, especially since I’m realizing that a lot of people that I’ve met who can relate to my music are younger women seeking advice after getting their heart broken for the first time. I feel pressure because they’re seeking my advice, and sometimes I feel like a fraud. I’m just like, “I don’t really know.” I’m still figuring these things out.

Sharon Van Etten on tour with Marissa Nadler and Junip

Having recently performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival in June, ambient folk crooner Sharon Van Etten continues her tour of the US in anticipation of her new album, Epic, out October 5 on Ba Da Bing Records.

Van Etten will play select shows in the Southeast with sophisticated dream-folk artist Marissa Nadler in September, followed by her first nationwide tour in November with indie-folk singer José Gonzalez’s new band, Junip.

Prepare for these upcoming dates by checking out her video for “Take Away Show #109” here.

Sharon Van Etten: “Love More”