11.15.13The Sweater Set is awarded two DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Fellowships!
Maureen & Sara were each awarded a 2014 Fellowship with the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities. The fellowship consists of a monetary contribution to each of the ladies to support their creative career development!
Very Cool! Thanks, DC! Seriously feeling the hometown love.
05.10.13Review: Oh Visitor by The Sweater Set - DC Music Download
If you just want your fix of gossip, you could read People magazine. But, listening to Oh Visitor, the newest album from D.C. folk duo The Sweater Set, is a better, more enjoyable idea. It’s an open invitation, after all. The title is apt, the duo’s way of calling out to you to begin a winding, fascinating conversation about any manner of things: “Oh visitor, did you hear about…”
What Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin want to talk about is engaging – the conversation ranges from breakups to death and addiction to gender inequality – and elegantly conveyed. It’s not often you get your gossip delivered via gorgeous soprano harmonies.
Like any good conversation, Oh Visitor starts lightly and then progresses into more intimate territory. “Stupid Flame,” the album’s lead-off track, features a rich arrangement of upbeat hand-claps and a shimmering wall of banjo and guitars. There is a hint of something deeper and darker in the lyrics, though.
The song chronicles the end of a relationship and the somewhat benign attempts at healing – buying another dress, a little gin. There is a hint of something deeper, though, in the self-effacing lyrics. The cures are only temporary, and while Andary and Curtin know it, they don’t reveal that secret so easily. The sunny music serves to mask real pain and frustration.
As the album plays on and the duo gets more comfortable with you, the listener, the conversation gets more intimate. The simpler the arrangement, the more vulnerable Andary and Curtin make themselves. “Simple” offers an intimate snapshot of life after a break-up, delivered over sparse, quiet guitar chords. “Long Winter” features hushed, twinkling piano underneath stark, mournful harmonies.
The record still has its share of spunk. “Hunt You Down” is a bouncy ditty with barely-veiled threats: “I know you’ve seen my chef-knife collection, hanging along my kitchen wall,” the duo sings glibly. Oh Visitor is a conversation over coffee, and the coffee definitely has some brandy in it.
Fans of The Sweater Set will enjoy catching up with the duo as they listen to Oh Visitor. New listeners will want to sit down and stay for awhile, like coffee-shop patrons who can’t help eavesdropping on the fascinating conversation at the table beside them.
by GREGORY AYERS
04.25.13The Washington Post: The Sweater Set album review, ‘Oh Visitor
The Sweater Set album review, ‘Oh Visitor’
By Catherine P. Lewis,April 25, 2013
The Sweater Set will perform in the Washington, DC area. (Shervin Lainez/ )
THE SWEATER SET
Kindred spirits: The Magnetic Fields,
Ani DiFranco, the Murmurs
Show: Friday at Strathmore. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. 301-581-5100. www.strathmore.org. Show is sold out.
The Sweater Set is an equal partnership: The D.C. folk duo consists of multi-instrumentalists Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin, each of whom wrote seven tracks for their new album, “Oh Visitor.” Both women play guitar, ukulele and glockenspiel, and both sing lead and harmonies.
The result is a lush sound that keeps the album moving with a richer sonic texture than many solo folk albums. Opening track “Stupid Flame” is a catchy song that meshes guitar and banjo as seamlessly as Andary’s and Curtin’s vocal harmonies. “San Francisco” captures the same energy, with the duo’s instrumental chemistry adding to the song’s collaborative feel.
But the pair’s vocals might be the Sweater Set’s strength. Their harmonies on “Hunt You Down” mesh sassy and sweet in a saucy tale of revenge against a lover who doesn’t call. The song’s charming style is in such contrast to its dark lyrics that the lover in question would have a hard time knowing whether they were serious or not.
The only minor slip is the sparseness of “Valentine’s Day,” which languishes in contrast to the depth of sound on the other songs.
The rest of the album, however, is a delightful collaboration.
— Catherine P. Lewis
04.25.13Choral Twang & Abundant Banjo in The Sweater Set's New Album - The Bomber Jacket
To dissect the 14 songs of The Sweater Set‘s new album Oh Visitor is an arduous task; the album has layers upon layers of detailed sound that peeks out and exposes itself with each new listen. The Washington, D.C. band cites a range of genre influences in this third studio album, from country, to folk, rock, and jazz, also naming an atypical list of talents like Stephen Sondheim (musical theater composer), Joni Mitchell, Rainer Maria Rilke (Austrian poet), and Elliott Smith. But perhaps the best way to identify the roots of their album is to look at the band’s history.....
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04.25.13One Track Mind: The Sweater Set, "Simple" - The Washington City Paper
Standout Track: No. 5, “Simple,” the lyrics of which inspired the title of Sara Curtin and Maureen Andary’s new album, Oh, Visitor. It’s a departure from The Sweater Set’s usually uptempo, ukulele-infused material, but the combination of electric guitar, classical guitar, and Andary’s vocals suits the lyrics’ quiet resignation about a relationship that’s fallen apart.
Musical Motivation: Andary began writing the song after breaking up with her boyfriend of 18 months. She started playing around with the bass line and then turned her attention toward the lyrics, crafted from her observations of post-breakup life. “It’s only my shoes on the floor anymore, it’s only my clothes in the drawer,” she sings. According to Andary, “it’s supposed to be a really sad breakup song but ... the catch is that it’s so much simpler to not be in a relationship.”
Change of Tune: “Simple” started out fairly slow and quiet. It lived briefly as an uptempo song with banjo, but Curtin and Andary quickly realized that didn’t work. After going back and forth about how it should sound, they finally recorded the song live in the studio last December. And while Curtin only contributes backing vocals to this version (live, she plays ukelele, too), she still finds herself immersed in the song. “I just get totally wrapped up in it when we’re doing it,” she says, “even though my involvement is so little.”
Listen to "Simple" after the jump.
03.28.13PRESS RELEASE - New Album "OH VISITOR" on iTunes 4.30.13
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Sweater Set - OH VISITOR - 2013
Digital Release - April 30, 2013
Washington, DC Release Concert - April 26, 2013 - Strathmore
The Sweater Set weaves listeners into a quilt of musical influences spanning country, folk, rock, and jazz, amplified by the addition of electric guitar and banjo in their third studio album OH VISITOR. The arrangements are at times lush, reflecting their strong choral background, and at times intentionally bare, drawing the listener in to share intimate secrets. Once again, the duo turned to Hays Holladay (Bluebrain, The Epochs) for mixing after "Fun & Games" (one of Andary's songs on OH VISITOR) was featured on his 2012 compilation album "Rainbow Arcade".
OH VISITOR is 14 songs (half by Curtin and half by Andary) that explore love, hope, expectations, and mortality. While exploring these themes playfully with the bright sounds of ukulele, banjo, and accordion this album also introduces the richness of the electric guitar into their instrument arsenal, adding a depth reflective of the album's songwriting inspiration. 2011 was a formative year for The Sweater Set. Andary went through a breakup and the diagnosis of a close family member with Cancer. 2011 also marked Curtin's homecoming back to DC where she grew up singing with Andary in church choir. The Sweater Set began while Curtin was living in Brooklyn, NY and after three years of busing up and down I-95, Curtin finally decided to take the plunge and move to DC full-time. The proximity in the last year and a half has allowed them to grow closer both musically and personally which is evident on OH VISITOR and in their live stage performance.
The Sweater Set's third studio album OH VISITOR was recorded over the course of one year in the home studios of Sara Curtin, Michael Okusami (Berklee School of Music), Jeff Curtin (Small Black, Brooklyn, NY), & Hays Holladay (Bluebrain, The Epochs). The combination of careful editing and organic bedroom tracking produced The Sweater Set's most honest album to date.
The OH VISITOR release will be celebrated at Strathmore Mansion's Friday Night Eclectic Series on April 26th, 2013 with a digital release on Tuesday, April 30th. This year marks the five-year anniversary of The Sweater Set and the fourth album in their catalog. With the 2011 and 2012 Washington Area Music Awards under their belt, The Sweater Set goes on the road in April, May, & June from Atlanta, GA to Providence, Rhode Island to promote the new album.
02.28.13The Sweater Set awarded the 2012 Washington Area Music Award for Best Contemporary Folk Group!
The Sweater Set won the 2012 Washington Area Music Award for Best Contemporary Folk Group. The win was the second consecutive for the Washington-DC based duo that boasts "an intimidating number of instruments." - the Washington Post.
12.13.12The Sweater Set returns from 3rd tour with Michelle Shocked!! Texas, New Orleans, Atlanta!
The Sweater Set just completed a two week tour through the south and through the great state of Texas with Folk Artist Michelle Shocked! Our biggest highlights of the trip were in New Orleans & Austin. Performing at Chickie Wah Wah on Canal Street in New Orleans, we were surprised by R&B songwriting legend Allen Toussaint! He sat in with Michelle and us during our set! Our other biggest excitement was working with Studio E in Austin, TX to create a music video for our upcoming single "San Francisco!" We ended up playing banjo and guitar in the back of a moving pickup truck on a dusty desert road. It was pretty incredible. Our greatest thanks to Michelle Shocked, for bringing us along on her adventures!
02.23.12The Sweater Set wins Best Contemporary Folk Duo of 2011!!
We're so excited to announce we won our first Wammie award for Best Contemporary Folk Duo in the Washington Area!
01.25.12DCist: "The best straightforward folk album to come out of DC in 2011."
05.30.11Watch The Sweater Set preform at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage!
Strathmore Artists-in-Residence Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin layer soprano harmonies over arrangements of ukulele, guitar, flute, hand percussion, accordion, glockenspiel, and the occasional kazoo/mouth trumpet.
05.26.11The Sweater Set plays Kennedy Center Millenium Stage 5/26!
Strathmore Artists-in-Residence Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin layer soprano/alto harmonies over arrangements of ukulele, guitar, flute, hand percussion, accordion, glockenspiel, banjo, and the occasional kazoo/mouth trumpet solo. FREE! Seating first come first serve. Thursday, May 26th at 6pm
05.26.11Three Stars: The Sweater Set on DCist!
The Sweater Set are here to impress. In addition to impressing audiences with the sheer number of instruments with which they're more than proficient, Sara Curtin and Maureen Andary are also well versed in a number of musical styles. Within the course of our conversation, they brought up tidbits about folk, jazz, country, musical theater and indie rock. Their love of all of these styles are apparent on their most recent album Goldmine.
Goldmine's fourteen tracks range from the swinging gypsy jazz accordion of "The Breaker" to the light and the heartbreaking pop of "Who's Sorry". Yet what remains consistent are Andary and Curtin's golden harmonies which guide the songs. They are clear students of music who appreciate how they can tweak and hone their craft for a result that's downright impressive.
We sat down with the Sweater Set at Andary's home where we talked about their upcoming tour with Michelle Shocked, recording kazoos, applying for grants and their appreciation for the art of costume.
05.26.11TBD Picks: The Sweater Set @ the Kennedy Center
Warning: On first listen, the music of the D.C duo the Sweater Set (with their cute name and fondness for the uke and glockenspiel) might inspire you to bake a batch of gluten-free cupcakes or knit a colorful iPhone cozy. But upon closer inspection, there's an edge to the twee sound of Strathmore artists-in-residence Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin--a group called the Sweater Set that releases a song called "Cop a Feel" can't exactly be all sugar and spice. The longtime friends and collaborators, who got their start singing in a D.C. church choir as teenagers, play Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage tonight. If you can't be there in person, watch the performance online, at 6 p.m.
05.23.11The Sweater Set Editor's Pick in the Washington Post Going out Guide!
Acoustic duo The Sweater Set just released their second album, "Goldmine," a collection of sweet songs with the group's signature soprano harmonies and multi-instrumental arrangements. Hear Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin perform their new material before they leave for a tour of the northeast.
04.29.11The Sweater Set featured in the City Paper! Download a track from GOLDMINE free!
A track from The Sweater Set's latest record - GOLDMINE is reviewed and discussed at length in this sweet article by Steve Kolowich of the Washington City Paper. Includes a free download of "Downstream," track 8 off of GOLDMINE.
04.19.11CD Release Party - PRESALE tickets! buy ASAP
visit the link to purchase tickets to the GOLDMINE album release party. Celebrate with The Sweater Set as they take the audience on a whirlwind performance of GOLDMINE. Featuring percussionist/drummer Dave Scalia and fellow Artist-in-Residence - violin/viola extraordinaire Chelsey Green, The girls will share the album live from start to finish at the historic Strathmore Mansion. Cupcakes for all! WED APRIL 27 @ 7:30pm / All Ages / $12.
02.08.11V-Day Show in THE WASHINGTON POST
'Sweater Set Love Lessons'
The Fridge DC
Local musicians Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin will be armed with ukuleles to give their Valentine's Day performance an extra twang. The Strathmore artists-in-residence, called the Sweater Set, will pluck at your heartstrings with folksy love songs in two-part harmony.
01.11.11Wash Post Express: The Sweater Set @ The Black Cat
"Local rockers the Sweater Set bring a modern-pop twist to ukulele rock. What? You've never heard of ukulele rock? Just what boulder do you live under? Well, Sara Curtin and Maureen Andary will teach you that it's about much more than a teeny guitar. Check out our full interview with the gals from back in August.
» Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW; with Drop Electric, Sat., 9 p.m., $12; 202-677-4490. (U St.-Cardozo)"
Vote for us HERE! Best Folk-Contemporary Duo/Group (The Sweater Set) and Best Folk-Contemporary Female Vocalist (Maureen Andary). Deadline to vote is January 21, 2011.
08.24.10Yes Uke Can! Sweater Set, Ladies of the Uke at Strathmore
Maureen & Sara are interviewed for the Strathmore Ukulele Festival: Ladies of the Uke that happend August 25, 2010.
06.06.10Today at the Washington Folk Festival: The Sweater Set
The Sweater Set are interviewed about their long distance creative relationship and are promoted as part of the Washington Folk Festival.
01.18.10Top Music artists in DC for 2010 examiner.com
The Sweater Set - A quirky musical duo that will probably popularize the ukulele, The Sweater Set treats the senses with bright harmonies and clever lyrics. Childhood friends, Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin play multiple instruments (guitar, flute, tambourine, etc.), encapsulating the pop-folksy tunes similar to Jack Johnson. Lifting the spirit with charming, light vocals that illustrate a sunny day at the beach, The Sweater Set's spring 2009 album, "Surprise Visit," is a great listen. Check Out These Tracks: I'm Sure You're Hip, Cop A Feel, Truly I Do.
09.10.09Local Pop's Gossip Girls: The Sweater Set
The Sweater Set are interviewed by Washington Post Express writer Robyn Mincher about their writing styles and debut release "Surprise Visit,".