Angel Olsen is quickly finding herself at the forefront of the avant folk singer songwriting community thanks to strong ties and collaborations within her current home of Chicago. Her most notable conspirator, Will Oldham, may not officially live in Chicago, but his longtime label Drag City certainly does. And although Olsen is not on Drag City (she actually just announced signing to Bloomington Indiana's Jagjaguwar). Drag City can arguably tout the roster of most comparably haunting singer/songwriters including Bill Callahan (Smog) and Joanna Newsom.
Beginning in 2010 with her collaborations with Oldham as part of both the Babblers and then in the Cairo Gang, Olsen, much like Oldham, offers an unmistakable warble ranging from delicate to bellowing. She released a cassette turned twelve-inch called Strange Cacti in 2010 and then returned to release the beautiful, sparse, and acclaimed Half Way Home in September of 2012 by Bathetic Records.
After a boisterous Foxygen set that we will be unveiling here on Epitonic next week, Angel took the stage. A relatively unorthodox approach, I worried a bit about the transition from a full-on rock outfit with a dynamic and chaotic approach to a solo performance and the potential energy of the crowd, and mentioned it to her. She seemed unconcerned, completely at ease and happy with simply playing... as she struck her first finger picked chord it was apparent that the audience was as excited to see her as they were captivated and silent. As you hear from the five tracks we captured from that day, the full room stayed completely silent and motionless until she finished each song where they quickly expressed their appreciation through their applause.
Angel effortlessly meandered her way through a set of captivating versions of songs from Half Way Home, Strange Cacti, and ended the set with a great version of “Frisco Depot” by Nashville’s legendary songwriter Mickey Newbury, an artist’s who was coincidentally recompiled into must-own box set issued in 2011 by Drag City.
For more on Angel, check here: http://angelolsen.com/
Recorded by Matt Irizarry and Justin Sinkovich
Mixed and mastered by Justin Sinkovich