Olsen plays at the Warhol
Angel Olsen is the kind of singer-songwriter that belongs to an older time — a time before computers, when all music was made using purely natural sounds. Raw talent and emotion shimmers throughout her work, both in terms of her beautiful singing as well as her lyrics. Olsen will be performing tomorrow at the Andy Warhol Museum on the North Shore.
Chicago native Olsen first made her name known in 2011 with the release of Strange Cacti. Since then, she has been garnering acclaim everywhere she goes. Half Way Home, released last September, was met with critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork.com and Allmusic.com. Half Way Home is built upon the sound of its predecessor, adding more country-like arrangements and at times a fuller instrumental sound.
Olsen’s music is heavily folk and country inspired, which makes every song sound a little familiar even if you’ve never heard it before. She generally uses just her voice with soft acoustic or electric guitar accompaniment, which is no problem because her voice is truly the crux of her talent. Within a single song she can go from a soft whisper to a full, yodeling sound that gives many tracks a large range.
Her recent single “Sweet Dreams” features a full band, forcing Olsen to prove just exactly who the star of the show is. Her lyrics, while not of the same caliber as her musical skills, offer insights into topics such as death, falling in and out of love, and loneliness. “Acrobat” touches on the longing to be connected to another in every single way including the finality of death.
“Miranda” shows her taking on the role of a police officer reading a lying lover his or her rights before questioning. While not every song touches on such bleak subject matter, the overall mood of her music is despondent. Despite the sad words, however, on the whole the songs come off as more comforting than depressing, following the construct of her country and folk influences.
If previous performances accurately predict, Olsen’s upcoming show at the Andy Warhol Museum should be an intimate and engaging affair. Olsen’s is definitely a name to watch; she is one of those singer-songwriters who can truly bring it all to the table, and these days that’s an increasingly rare commodity. Next time you’re alone but don’t feel like going out, I recommend looking to her for company.