It’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
This show was completely unexpected. I knew Angel Olsen had gotten some rave reviews, but I did not expect this show to sell out by any means. Luckily, those who were interested in Ms. O also came out to catch the openers, including our local favorite, Jess Williamson. Read on for our thoughts, and a few shots from our friend Daniel Cavazos.
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]
This 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.
I hope you’ll enjoy this great new tune called “Forgiven/Forgotten” coming your way from female rocker Angel Olsen. Now at times, some might try to say that the ladies can’t rock with their male counterparts, but I’d say that this tune begs to differ. It’s a great, washed out, rock n rollin’ number that’s worthy of repeat listens.
New album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, is due out February 18th on JagJaguWar Records.