Sean Nelson

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This article is about the musician and journalist. For the actor, see Sean Nelson (actor). For other similarly named persons, see Shawn Nelson (disambiguation).
Sean Nelson
Man in his 40s with curly hair and glasses
Sean Nelson at the 2015 EMP Pop Conference
Background information
Birth name Sean Nelson
Born (1973-06-12) June 12, 1973 (age 43)
Washington, United States
Origin Seattle, Washington, United States
Genres Alternative rock, indie rock
Occupation(s) Musician, singer, filmmaker, journalist, music critic
Instruments Vocals, keyboards
Years active 1993–present
Associated acts Harvey Danger, The Long Winters

Sean Nelson (born June 12, 1973) is an American musician, journalist, music critic and filmmaker. He is best known as the lead singer of the alternative rock group Harvey Danger and is currently the arts editor for The Stranger.[1]

Music career[edit]

Sean Nelson (2009)

Nelson is a graduate of Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA and was a classmate of Paul DePodesta.

Nelson formed Harvey Danger in 1993 and played with the band through to its farewell show in 2009. In addition to being the band's lead singer, he was also its songwriter and keyboardist. The band's debut album Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone? was released in 1997 and was certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of 500,000 copies.[2] The album contained the hit single "Flagpole Sitta", which was later used as the theme song for the British sitcom Peep Show.

In 2001, Nelson formed a second band, The Long Winters, with John Roderick. He left the band in 2004, and Roderick has continued the group as a largely solo effort.

Nelson has also recorded and performed with Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists, Robyn Hitchcock, Nada Surf, The Minus 5, and others. In 2006, he recorded Nelson Sings Nilsson, an album of songs by the late American composer Harry Nilsson, accompanied by a 25-piece-orchestra. Nelson was also a member of the short-lived side project The Vernacular, along with Chris Walla and Nathan Good of Death Cab For Cutie.

On June 4, 2013, Nelson released his first official batch of recordings to bear his name, Make Good Choices, which includes contributions from Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie), Peter Buck (R.E.M./Minus 5), Matt Pence & Scott Danbom (Centro-Matic), Howard Draper (Shearwater), Dave Depper (Loch Lomond, Fruit Bats), Rachel Blumberg (The Decemberists/M. Ward), Adam Selzer (Norfolk & Western), Steve Fisk (player: Pell Mell, Pigeonhed; producer: Nirvana, Beat Happening, Unwound), and others. Sessions arose over the course of several years between Nelson and his collaborators' other projects.

Writing career[edit]

Nelson joined the staff of the Seattle alternative weekly newspaper The Stranger in 1996 while still a member of Harvey Danger. He has held several positions at the publication, including web editor, film editor, copy editor and associate editor. He is currently the paper's arts editor.[1]

In 2006, Nelson published his first book, an entry in the 33⅓ series on Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark.[3] His essay "Dead Man Talking" was published in the Da Capo anthology Best Music Writing 2008.[4]

In addition to his writing work, Nelson has taught a songwriting class at the University of Washington Extension and co-hosted Audioasis on KEXP-FM for five years.

Film career[edit]

In 2008, Nelson co-wrote and played a supporting role in Humpday director Lynn Shelton's third feature film My Effortless Brilliance,[5] which enjoyed a successful run on the film festival circuit and was released on DVD by IFC Films in November 2009. He has also acted in David Russo's cult film festival hit The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle[6] and alongside Dax Shepard in Kathryn Aselton's The Freebie, which was released in September 2010.[7]

Selected discography[edit]

(as harmony vocalist, except where noted)

Sean Nelson[edit]

(lead singer, songwriter)

  • Make Good Choices (Really Records, 2013)

Harvey Danger[edit]

(lead singer, keyboards, songwriter)

  • Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone? (Universal, 1998)
  • King James Version (Warner, 2000)
  • Sometimes You Have To Work on Christmas (Sometimes) EP (Phonographic Records, 2004)
  • Little By Little… (Kill Rock Stars, 2006)
  • Cream and Bastards Rise EP (Kill Rock Stars, 2006)
  • Little Round Mirrors EP (Barsuk, 2007)
  • Burn to Shine (V/A Trixie DVD, 2008)
  • Dead Sea Scrolls (Phonographic Records, 2009)

The Long Winters[edit]

  • The Worst You Can Do is Harm (Barsuk, 2001)
  • When I Pretend to Fall (Barsuk, 2003)
  • Putting the Days to Bed (Barsuk, 2005)

The Decemberists[edit]

  • Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars, 2004)
  • The Crane Wife (b-sides) (Capitol, 2006)

Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3[edit]

  • Ole Tarantula (Yep Roc, 2006)
  • Goodnight, Oslo (Yep Roc, 2009)

Nada Surf[edit]

  • The Weight is a Gift (Barsuk, 2006)
  • Lucky (Barsuk, 2008)


External links[edit]