The folk songstress Sharon Van Etten, who released her amazing album Epic in 2010, has just been confirmed to sign with Jagjaguwar and leave her previous label Ba Da Bing. Although not much is known about her upcoming album, she will release her third record sometime in early 2012 with her new label. She will be joining an impressive list of artists including Bon Iver who just released their self-titled sophomore album. The new labelmates have worked with each other in the past during Sounds of the South.
Ever since the release of Hymns for a Dark Horse on local label Burlytime Records, Bowerbirds have been destined for big things. In short order, the record garnered glowing reviews from indie trendsetters Pitchfork Media and Prefix magazine and rose to the top of WKNC’s indie rock charts. Within a year they were signed to big-time indie-folk imprint Dead Oceans (part of Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar) and went on to tour with the Mountain Goats. Simply put, the Bowerbirds rose through the ranks of the music world at a meteoric rate.
Bowerbirds’ music is characterized by uniquely minimalist arrangements and melodies paired to stream-of-consciousness lyrics, and their debut LP is a concept album of sorts; its 12 songs discuss the conflicts of civilization versus the nature and humanity.
Naturally, with such material, you might consider Bowerbirds to be a ‘cause band,’ and, indeed, they tackle the subject of environmentalism with fairly blunt words. Through clever songwriting, though, they avoid the adversarial tone that so many bands with a cause seem to convey; instead, they radiate an earthy idealism that wouldn’t seem too out of place in a Thoreau novel.
Nowhere is it more clear that Bowerbirds is an exceptional band than in concert. With even more sparce instrumentation than in thier album, they manage to create an even more full sound. They will be the final performers Friday night at the Double Barrel Benefit, taking the stage after Schooner.