By: Brendan Solis
My first taste of Angel Olsen was during the fall of last year when I came across this marvelous recording of a bookstore show she did back in 2011. I loved it, but I never really looked much farther beyond that. At the time, she wasn’t exactly unknown, but she wasn’t really being noticed too much either. At the start of 2014, however, articles about her started popping up pretty much everywhere, along with a handful of excellent songs being released from her upcoming record. I took a closer look at her discography, and was pleased to find not only a pretty decent LP, Half Way Home , but also the marvelous EP Strange Cacti. Her work is an intriguing (and ultimately successful) mix of ghostly reverb and sweet songs about love and longing that make you think of old romance movies from the 50’s.
The Missouri native’s voice is nothing short of angelic (sorry, I had to). Her record label Jagjaguar describes her sound as “equal parts Loretta Lynn, Roy Orbison and Hope Sandoval.” If you’re like me and only know one of these people, just imagine a Photo taken from Angel’s Instagram. Think a more country-ish Judy Garland with a glorious heap of vibrato and a touch of yodel. Coupled with dynamic and personal songwriting,
Angel Olsen produces a sound unique unto her own. She’s been releasing music as a solo artist for the past 3 years, and her upcoming sophomore LP, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, will be released amid a good deal of buzz and attention. Prior to this, it was pretty much just Olsen and her guitar. Here however, she’s backed by a full band, and while that might sacrifice some of the folksy rawness of her previous work, there’s still a stripped down track or two that will most likely make you think about your and mom and cry. Burn Your Fire For No Witness is currently streaming on NPR, give it a listen here.
It’s got studio polish and a full band, but definitely maintains the vulnerable folk tendencies that got me interested in the first place. If you’re looking for a place to start, I’d suggest “Windows,” “White Fire,” or “Unfucktheworld.” Burn Your Fire For No Witness is out on Jagjaguar on March 18th.
Brendan is a freshman journalism major from St. Louis with hopes that someday someone somewhere will care about his opinions on music. So much so that maybe he’ll even be able to make a job out of it. Some of his favorite artists are Beach House, Pulp, Bjork, Titus Andronicus, Dan Deacon, EMA, Dr. Dog, Anamanaguchi, The Microphones, M83, and The Magnetic Fields. He also takes Ke$ha’s music career way more seriously than anyone rightfully should and refuses to apologize for it.
Find him on Twitter