Top 50 Albums of 2016

top50You’ve all been waiting, anxiously. Waiting for our arbitrary list of the opinion of four folks who run this site, and what we think were the best albums of 2016. It’s really really important. We’re going to make our site great again with this list. We’re going to win, bigly. But really, it’s just a list of the stuff we loved the most that we covered throughout this year on our site. The comment section is open, so feel free to tell us where we’ve gone wrong or what we’ve got right or anything else fitting. Read more

Angel Olsen – MY WOMAN

angel-olsen-my-woman

Rating: ★★★★★

“Maybe you know that its been too long.” Yes we do, Angel. It’s good to have you back.

At this point in her discography, I assumed that I knew what to expect from a new Angel Olsen album – confessional folk music that explores the uncomfortable dichotomy of relationships while occasionally picking up an electric guitar. In fact, I had the intention of analyzing the albums meaning and lyrical intentions when I initially dived into it, but I was constantly sidetracked by the range of emotions this album reverberates through its variety, production, and songwriting. Angel Olsen of the past, as a songwriter, seemed to deliver her message carefully and quietly. Now she’s writing unique pop and rock songs with confidence and conviction in her delivery; whether it’s a background vocal laden in effects, a climactic guitar solo, or a keyboard subtly peeking in, Angel relies more on the instruments around her and her tools in the studio than her voice to manipulate her listeners emotions. Read more

Mandatory Viewing: New Angel Olsen Video

It’s possible you’ve encountered this video elsewhere on the internet today, but just in case you haven’t, it’s time for you to sit down and let Angel Olsen have your attention for a few minutes. This video for “Shut Up Kiss Me,” features Olsen in a glittery silver wig essentially throwing a tantrum on roller skates while spitting out her attitude filled lyrics. While I was already excited for her upcoming album, this single shows Olsenexploring more into the rockier side of her garage aesthetic. It’s a great track with tons of energy, and I implore you to take a listen and let it get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Also, preorder MY WOMAN right here from Jagjaguwarand get ready for its August 19th release.

 

 

Hear This Dark Building Track From Alex Cameron

alex cameronWhen I first hit play on this track from Alex Cameron‘s newest video for the track, “Take Care of Business,” I’ll admit that it took me a bit of time before I could really get into this minimalistic approach to dark pop. It’s a definite grower of a song, so you’ll need to have patience when you listen to this one, and make sure you hold on to the end, where the instrumentation picks up, and the sinister vocal growl of Cameron really becomes a croon. He’s releasing his Secretly Canadian debut later this year calledJumping The Shark, and his hitting the road with the likes of big names like Angel Olsen and Mac Demarco, so you should probably keep your ears peeled for more from this gentleman. Watch the video below.

 

 

 

 

Top 50 Albums of 2014

TOP 50 ALB 14These lists are everywhere, so you’ll be excused if you just roll your eyes and skip on. But, that being said, we always seem to be way off the mark when it comes to our Top 50 Albums of the Year.  Sure, we have some of the sure fire hits on this list like Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, but don’t even read on if you’re look ing to see where Run the Jewels made it…they’re not there. Sorry not sorry.  So, if you’re into arbitrary lists by people who like to push their own agenda, then this list is for you! Read more

Angel Olsen Graces Your Day

angelllEarlier this year, Angel Olsen put out her great album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, and you thought you’d have to survive off this for awhile as far as tunes from this lady go. But you’re in luck! She’s announced the deluxe version of said album and it includes this extra track, “May As Well,” which has this sleepy, almost lullaby vibe going for it. It’s a short little number, but in its two and a half minutes, Olsen manages to encapsulate an old-timey sound with her emotive voice, that’s nostalgic to say the least. I’m really enjoying this number, and so you should be to. Have a listen and pick up Burn Your Fire For No Witness Deluxe Edition on November 18th.

 

Thus Far….Albums of 2014.5

docIt’s still rather early in the year to start talking about best records of the year and what not, but as we’re midway through 2014, every one is doing it…so why not join in the fun.  But, with this in mind, remember that these lists are arbitrary, and if anything, pretty meaningless in the long run; you never know if your thoughts will change in six months…and really, they’re just like, our opinions man.  We’ll have two sections…one for national albums and another section of Austin albums released up to this point in 2014.   Read more

Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness

angelolsen

Rating: ★★★★ ·

One of the things that I’m always fearful of when listening to a musician working under their own name is that the music will have a tendency to get stuck in one space; it can make for a boring listen, despite your initial interest.  Luckily, that’s not how the story of Burn Your Fire for No Witness unfolds; Angel Olsen and her band have constructed a record that holds enough diversity to keep you guessing at every track.

“Unfucktheworld” had me immediately.  There’s an intimacy of the strummed guitar that’s striking, but even more appealing is how the recording still holds a bit of the buzz and crackle; it creates a sense of sincerity that one hopes for from a singer-songwriter.  But, she doesn’t stay there for too long, moving quickly into her best rock version with “Forgiven/Forgotten.”  It’s a sound that purifies the space between Vivian Girls and Screaming Females, and it serves Burn Your Fire for No Witness well by adding some movement within the album’s first moments.

For my two cents, if you’re asking, I appreciate the songs where Angel Olsen has her voice hiding just below the main mix.  “Dance Slow Decades” is one such song, allowing for the listener to attend to every minor detail for the first minute or so, just before the vocal explodes with a hollow drum beat emphasizing the emotional touch.  It’s a stark contrast to the following track “Enemy,” which creeps me out in an odd manner; it seems like Olsen is sitting next to me singing into my ear.  Although there’s still that quiver in her voice that comes with personal expression, I prefer to keep a bit more distance, playing the role of musical voyeur.

Still, the best part of the record is the diversity that goes into every track, even into the length of the songs.  As times, Angel has this sultry troubadour quality like in her performance on “High and Wild,” but she can still manage to have this pristine vocal quality on display; she does this remarkably well in the album closer, “Windows.”  These things seem like minor details, but they make the album something that exists beyond the confines of a single track, begging you to sit with it for the entirety of your listen…this is a rare feat nowadays.

When you’re finished listening to Angel Olsen‘s new album, you’re going to find that you’ll have to go back and listen again.  It’s an album that holds no great single, but rather unfolds as an undeniably wonderful listen from start to finish.  It’s easy to find an artist losing themselves and their listeners in one place while crafting a record, but that’s the opposite of what you’ll find while listening to Burn Your Fire for No Witness. 

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/02-Forgiven_Forgotten.mp3]

Download: Angel Olsen – Forgiven/Forgotten [MP3]

 

 

Angel Olsen Releases Another Single

angelolsenThis Angel Olsen track bounced around a few days ago, so it’s fair to say that many people have already absorbed it.  But, it’s just too good for me to ignore, not to mention it provides a little diversity to the heavier side of things we’re running today.  What first caught me was the little buzz on the sound of the guitar; it’s strange how some things will fascinate your ears.  But, Olsen really has a great grasp on her voice nowadays, and it’s perfectly on display here, offering up a sultry tone wrapped in elegance. Jagjaguwar will be releasing her new album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, on February 18th, and it’s looking to be a must have.

1 2