Angel Olsen (photo by Amanda Marsalis, PR)
Angel Olsen is a St. Louis native who moved on to Chicago when she reached her twenties. While living in Chicago, her music career began to take shape, initially through her first recordings. Eventually, she landed a gig in Will Oldham's Bonnie “Prince” Billy band. In 2013, the young singer and songwriter released her debut album, Half Way Home.
Now living in Asheville, North Carolina, Olsen doesn’t sit neatly in any one category, but hovers on the periphery of many genres. While her songwriting seems direct, that notion is deceiving — her songs are open to many interpretations. My Woman, Olsen's third album, eases up on the sound put forth on 2014’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness. The melodies on the new album vary, but Olsen is comfortable tackling a variety of moods. She shifts from the urgently desperate, guitar-driven grunge-pop plea of “Shut Up Kiss Me" to the easy, synth-drenched “Intern." The track “Never Be Mine" hints at Sixties girl groups.
Olsen’s songs are deeply scrutinized observations on love and relationships and the emotions they evoke: happiness, frustration, heartbreak, and even anger. Olsen sings these songs in an honest, straightforward voice that demands to be understood, as on the guitar-driven rave-up “Not Gonna Kill You.”
My Woman is arranged with the more upbeat, punchier material on the first half. Once Olsen has laid her cards on the table, the tempos slow and the introspection begins in earnest. The slower songs over the second half of the album are deep meditations, like the dreamlike, nearly eight-minute-long epic, “Sister." The wistful “Those Were The Days" has jazzy touches and the softly psychedelic soul of “Woman" comes complete with mellotron.
Throughout the album, reverb and light touches of distortion are used to great effect, giving the songs the feel of inner thoughts drifting through the mind. Olsen wrote all of the material on My Woman and also co-produced the album, which was recorded in Los Angeles.
Olsen’s time has come. Through her early releases, she laid the groundwork which garnered her respect as a highly talented rock artist. Now, with the growth and maturity of My Woman, Olsen reveals her limitless future.