I was looking for something special for this post which happens to be our 300th (pop! goes the champagne cork) when I stumbled upon this awesome performance of "Serpents" by Sharon Van Etten on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. As you can see below, for her TV debut the New Jersey singer / songwriter had the help of some of the distinguished guests on her forthcoming third album "Tramp", which is out next week on Jagjaguwar. The impressive list includes The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner (the former is also producing), Beirut's Zach Condon, Julianna Barwick, Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner, The Walkmen's Matt Barrick, and Doveman's Thomas Bartlett. The usually more restraint and more folk-oriented Sharon Van Etten lets it rip on this powerful track where the Dessner brothers' influence is strongly felt. Of course the most stunning element of the performance is Sharon's passionate vocals soaring above the scorching guitars and the driving rhythm section. A classic in the making:
Sharon Van Etten - Serpents
It goes without saying that "Serpents", which was released as a single last November, should have been among our Top Singles of 2011, but it's never too late to discover a great song (and apologize for the shortcomings of your year-end list). A free mp3 of "Serpents" is available here, while you can pre-order "Tramp" from here.
Update: Unfortunately, the video from the Late Night performance is no longer available. Here's a clip of "Serpents" performed live at Philadelphia on the first night of her current tour instead: