05.24.2014 — “New Skin” (featuring Sharon Van Etten) by Torres

Mackenzie Scott aka Torres

If you only listen to one song today, make it “New Skin” by Torres (2014, from the forthcoming and yet unnamed album).

Torres is the stage name of indie rock/folk musician Mackenzie Scott, who spent most of her life in Georgia and Tennessee, but who now calls Brooklyn home. Her self-titled debut album was met with unanimous critical acclaim, and I named it my second favorite new album of 2013. Here, in case you’re curious, is the entire list of my 40 favorite new albums of 2013. At last year’s Hopscotch Music Festival, her day party set on the last day of the festival was one of my favorite things from the whole festival. All of this adds up to the fact that I’m a big fan of this young, up-and-coming musician.

On more that one occasion, I’ve written about how Mackenzie Scott reminds me of a young Sharon Van Etten. Apparently, they’ve grown to be fans and good friends of one another. No surprise there. It’s actually almost more awesomeness than I can handle.

On Sharon Van Etten’s new album Are We There, Mackenzie Scott contributes backing vocals on two songs (“Afraid of Nothing” and “Our Love”). Don’t forget to buy that album right now. The release date is May 27, but you’ll instantly get a download code for the whole album.

Sharon Van Etten reciprocated the favor by appearing on today’s song, which is part of the <a href="http://weathervanemusic.org/shakingthrough/episodes"Shaking Through" series over at Weathervane Music. The series takes a documentary film approach to independent musicians. I think the way it works is that these musicians are invited to the Weathervane studios in Philadelphia, and they have three days to write and record a song from scratch. This guy Brian McTear documents the whole process and releases the songs and accompanying videos for our pleasure. He also releases the raw unmixed tracks and encourages fans to make their own remixes.

On this song, Scott invited Sharon Van Etten (guitar and vocals), and some other indie rockers like Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs (guitar), Dave Hartley from The War on Drugs (bass), and Chris Wilson from Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (drums). Scott claims that she’s “not a great collaborator”, but this worked out very well.

Here’s the finished song:
“New Skin” by Torres

And because this is awesome, there’s two different video looks at the process.
First, the “artist” view:

and then, the very different “production” view:

I really like the inside look at the recording process. The moments of self-doubt. The things that start out as “let’s do this for shits and giggles” and become integral parts of the song. The choices to use specific gear and recording equipment. I especially love how big the vocal track is, and how they specifically chose an old school mic to achieve that.

I love this song, and if it’s any indication of how good the new album will be, it’ll be a big hit around here. Although I haven’t read any official confirmation of a new album, a little birdie told me that the album will be out this year and that tonight’s song will be on the album. I don’t really know how reliable that birdie is. It was just a birdie. Whether there’s an album this year or next, we’re very much looking forward to it.

In case you’ve arrived late to the Torres boat, you need to go back and buy her debut album. Right now. Get your choice of physical format here, or get a digital download from your favorite legal downloading place

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

2 responses to “05.24.2014 — “New Skin” (featuring Sharon Van Etten) by Torres

  • mutt R

    along w/ cloud nothings, angel olsen, sun kil moon & the war on drugs….this is a top 5 album @ the mid-way point of 2014. thank you for sharing, D LEE!

    • dlee

      I’m a big fan of Red House Painters and the solo Mark Kozelek stuff. I really liked the first SKM record, but the subsequent ones didn’t grab me as much. I’m having a really hard time with this new one. I don’t like it very much. At this point, I like your list, but I’d throw the new Jessica Lea Mayfield record in there too. It’s sort of blowing me away.

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