Sharon Van Etten
I Don’t Want to Let You Down EP
Street: 06.09
Sharon Van Etten = 
Julianna Barwick x 
Sharon Van Etten devastates once again, and her voice is as burning, shuddering and imbued with vulnerability as ever. This time, though, Van Etten leaves the smoky, beclouded haunts of her previous albums for a warmer and steadier sound, and the songs move from the lovelorn confessional to the grounded declaration. The final track is an opulent live rendition of “Tell Me” that straddles both raw and refined, and throughout, Van Etten is disarmed but fearless. Her voice, aching and bruised (“I believed you when you shut your eyes and dreamed a dream without me”), builds in a wavering back-and-forth with bluesy guitar strums and slow-and-steady drumming. At the end, Van Etten leaves us, quiet but resolute—“Sometimes I live my own life”—to muted applause. –Kathy Zhou