Angel Olsen #5 - Intern

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Yeah, so you've already listened to this song and read someone else's waffle about this but it is so wonderful that I have to add my own. Angel Olsen returns with the magnetic "Intern" ahead of her new LP My Woman released on September 2nd, via Jagjaguwar (and available to pre-order on vinyl with a bonus 7" here)

“Intern” may surprise, both the swaggering full band sound that dominates the first half of her last record Burn Your Fire For No Witness and the enchanting folk songstress of Half Way Home is gone and instead "Intern" is a minimal, spectral beauty filled with eeriness and atmosphere. Angel’s mesmerising vocal takes centre stage and is left untampered to conquer all in its path. Filled with allure and timeless tone, Angel is as majestic as ever. - don't miss out 

Albums of 2014 #6 - Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Angel Olsen
Burn Your Fire For No Witness 
Jagjaguwar, Released February 18th.
 

Angel Olsen's third LP Burn Your Fire for No Witness has acted as her breakout, introducing her sensual, knock-out vocal and intoxicating songcraft to a bigger audience and at the same time introducing a bigger, bolder sound to her repertoire, adding a swampy glue of reverb and riffs to her voice  full of emotion and power, one I've best read described as 'liquid gold'.

Lead single "Forgiven/Forgotten" is the heaviest moment, it wastes no time getting inside your head with a gruff, explosive melody that is propelled by fuzzed-up guitar and a forceful kick drum beat and makes the hairs on your neck stand on end with a rollicking, raw blast of intensely perfect punk-pop. "Hi-Five" finds the halfway house between the aforementioned heaviness and the mellower, stirring emotion in which Angel made her name, here her luxurious vocal melts glaciers amongst a fine full band sound as kicking percussion and distorted guitars are later met by driving piano in a melody sure to have you tapping along in agreement.

The burning intensity of the longest track on the record "White Fear" makes for a sublime highlight, a fractured beauty filled with atmosphere and drifting melody that gradually unwinds with bewitching brilliance to soaring incantations of  lament whilst "Enemy" is sparser but equally powerful.

The albums closing track "Windows" is one of my favourites, an emotive tour-de-force which epitomises Angel's dark, burning brilliance, her yearning vocals captivate throughout, her lyrical prose as ever, exemplary and the melody is full of rich, haunting melancholy.  

For those of us who revel in the dark radiance in which Angel roams, Burn Your Fire for No Witness is utter heaven...


Angel Olsen #4 - Windows

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Oh Angel Olsen, it's just impossible to be angry at you (or specifically your label) for re-releasing your album with a handful of new tracks at a full price when I already own it, when your music is so incredible.

The albums original closing track "Windows" has been gifted a video, granted a rather odd video which sees Angel have some cream rubbed all over her face before later transforming into an Elizabeth II clone. Anyway, I'll focus on the music... The track is one of my favourites from Angel's wonderful album Burn Your Fire For No Witness LP, which you may have worked out has been released (just in time for Christmas) as a deluxe edition with five additional tracks.,, 

"Windows" is an emotive tour-de-force which epitomises Angel's dark, burning brilliance, her yearning vocals captivate throughout, her lyrical prose as ever, exemplary and the melody is full of rich, haunting melancholy.  For those of us who revel in the dark radiance in which Angel roams, it's utter heaven...

Angel Olsen #3 - All Right Now

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First a grumble, I really do not approve of the whole 'deluxe edition' thing (which usually come hand-in-hand with a Pre-Christmas marketing campaign) unless it comes with a free copy for the people who purchased the 'old' album when it was originally issued (and I've known that to happen twice, once Bloc Party, once The Staves). I can understand re-releasing a record to try and ride a wave of publicity or eek out a few extra sales but I'm really don't understand why it seems to come at the expense of early adopters, or fans as they should be known. Anyway, the net result here is that we're getting new music from one of the finest artists around today, so I'm not going to moan anymore...

Angel Olsen is to release an expanded edition of her Burn Your Fire For No Witness record on November 18th via Jagjaguwar, it comes with five additional tracks (or three if you have the Endless Road / May As Well 7" already) and the the stream of "All Right Now" provides fine ammunition to tempt you to part with your hard earned, a slow, sultry number that gives the listeners new and old the perfect insight to Angel's haunting vocal, here it dominates through meandering acoustic plucks and leaves the listener gasping for air with its simple, heartbreakingly beautiful air of splendour.

Angel Olsen #2 - Hi-Five

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Another of my recent favourites today, Angel Olsen came fully to my attention at End of the Road festival last summer (as I've previously mentioned) and I'm excited to have both her latest album and London gig (at Dingwalls on March 25th) coming within the first quarter of 2014.

Following from the rollocking and perhaps unexpected rock style of "Forgiven/Forgotten" is "Hi-Five", a track which finds the halfway house between the aforementioned heaviness and the mellower, stirring emotion in which Angel made her name, here her luxurious vocal melts glaciers amongst a fine full band sound as kicking percussion and distorted guitars are later met by driving piano in a melody sure to have you tapping along in agreement, the star of course remains that voice, a voice that deserve the breakthrough I think it will get this year.

Burn Your Fire for No Witness is due February 17th via Jagjaguwar.


Angel Olsen - Forgiven/Forgotten

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One person I've never actually covered here that I probably should have numerous times by now (I have mentioned her in my review of End of the Road) is Angel Olsen. 

She has one of my most listened to records of 2013, her 2012 album Half Way Home and the first time I caught her live, at her spellbinding show at the aforementioned EOTR (an acoustic show played in full afternoon sunshine; the perfect setting) I was sufficiently transfixed by her sensual voice and intoxicating, intimate songcraft...

Fast forward to last week and we were treated to the first track from Angel's next LP Burn Your Fire for No Witness (due for release Feb 18th via Jagjaguwar pre-order packages). The track, "Forgiven/Forgotten" takes all that hushed, fractured beauty and turns it completely on its head. I'd definitely forgive you for not recognising it as Angel Olsen at all. It wastes no time getting inside your head with a gruff, explosive melody that is propelled by fuzzed-up guitar and a forceful kick drum beat. It will no doubt prove divisive for fans of her earlier material but is bound to open Angel up to a whole new audience and there's plenty of time in the song for her unique voice to shine too. Basically "Forgiven/Forgotten" makes the hairs on your neck stand on end with a rollicking, raw blast of intensely perfect punk-pop.

I'm also posting about Angel's last release because I'd totally missed it until I took a visit to her website and noticed a track I'd not heard of... "Sweet Dreams" was released as a stand-alone 7" in February 2013 with another track "California" (you can order the 7" via Sixteen Tambourines now), it gave an earlier indication of the progression in her sound, saturated in a swampy glue of reverb and a voice I best read described as 'liquid gold', full of emotion and power, it's a talent that should see Angel Olsen follow in the footsteps of Sharon Van Etten on the like and move from blogger favourite to becoming a genuine indie star.


End of the Road Festival 2013 - Saturday Review

I actually have a decent night sleep and Saturday soon arrives, the kids are nice enough to lie-in until almost eight o'clock and it's already pretty warm. Shorts are definitely the order of the day and we had for breakfast on the double decker bus - the queue is long but the bacon sandwich and coffee soon make up for it.

We head for the craft area again and my five year old has the time of her life first decorating a record with paint, then colouring in on a massive colouring board and then after she spends a full hour and a half making a Bobby Dazzler doll - all free of charge.

I take the little one for a walk around the woods and have another coffee sitting under a tree - there's all sorts of installations and things hidden in trees to discover (a picture below a homage to Scooby Doo perhaps) as well as peacocks roaming around freely - a perfect chilled out morning is had.

At half one we head for music, it's nice when a band are clearly enjoying themselves and that's obviously the case with Laish a Brighton quintet I'd not seen since The Great Escape in 2012.

Their sound is hard to pigeonhole, it's more than your standard folk-rock band - sparked with life, booming percussion, string flourishes, wry lyrics and the delicious backing harmonies of Emma Gatrill (who I've featured here a few times) and Martha Rose all combine with impeccable ease.

Daniel Green drives it all forward with a voice that rises in fall in accordance with the instrumentation, from soft and gentle to soaring peaks. The audience is well sized and the people next to me rush to the stage after the show to take Daniel up on his offer of a free hug.

We stop for lunch, a game of Pucket (a board of which we later buy and now finds itself sitting on my table) and a drink. After an easy hour we head to the Garden Stage in full sunshine to see Angel Olsen. I had listened to her briefly beforehand and was expecting a stunning voice and heart-breaking songs and that we were, but her hour long set was much better than that.

Absolutely sublime from start to end, as beguiling vocal and intimate performance as you could hope to witness, Angel in complete control throughout, her guitar plucking combines modern contemporary folk with a timeless singer-songwriter sound that could have been written some sixty years ago. In this weather as Angel fights with a full sun in her view her sad, forlorn songs could easily find new meaning, either way it's hypnotic and devastatingly beautiful. The silence from the crowd confirms they're hooked to her every word too.

We take another mini break before the busiest two hours of the day. It's unfortunate that four acts I really wanted to see (all four featured in my pre-festival picks) clash heavily. I decide to catch some, if not all, of all four so we make our way to the Tipi Tent for Golden Fable.

The sound and environment is perfect for them and they sparkle with precise beats puncturing their soaring melodies, it's both expansive and enchanting with Rebecca's beautiful vocals casting a potent spell over the crowd. Five songs in when I decide it's time to head to the main stage I'm completely torn. Thankfully the decision is made easier as I'm seeing the band again in just a couple of weeks and so I head to the main stage for Warpaint, one of the weekends main attractions.

Things aren't quite right from the outset, the start is slightly delayed with technical hiccups, it unfortunately sets the tone for the gig. Muddy sound and perhaps the bands slight rustiness mean the guitar textures and harmonies don't really click until three of four songs in with "Undertow". There are four new tracks in the set, a couple introduce an electronic sound, one very 80's and I'll definitely need to hear them again. I love this band and have seen them a dozen times already but I struggle to really connect with this performance. As Emily takes up a solo finale of "Baby" I return to the Tipi Tent and discover the rather brilliant Freedom lager, it goes down far too easily. (One niggling complaint I'll mention now was the queues for the real ale tent - I think the demand was underestimated).

I'm here for Anna Von Hausswolff and I regret missing the first fifteen minutes of her set, it soon become the highlight of the weekend (along side David Byrne & St Vincent), as compelling and breathtaking as anything I've seen in a long while.

The quintet of musicians form a semi circle around the stage with Anna on one side hunched aside her organ. "Mountains Crave" utterly transfixes before the rest of the set manages to somehow raise the intensity even more so. Striking vocals and shimmering, searing instrumentation from her wonderful band (especially the drummer) make for a vast and dramatic sound that makes the audience react like very few I've witnessed during a festival set - completely hypnotised by its spellbinding brilliance there's no sound at all until the conclusion when Anna receives a huge applause, I don't think anyone was ready for it to end.

I head to the Garden Stage next for Daughter, I only manage to catch the last five songs and it's incredible to see quite how much Daughter have grown. The announcement of "Youth" is met with teenage squeals normally reserved for the likes of Take That, Elena' smiles at it too. What I hear is as emotional and haunting as I've become accustomed to. There's a massive crowd too, everyone grabs onto the warm and beauty the band deliver with such effortless ease.

Afterwards I return to the Tipi for more beer and check out Sigur Ros. I decide it's not really for me, take a little wander and then decide I'm old and as I know the kids will me waking me up early I head back to the tent - an early conclusion perhaps but another overwhelmingly satisfactory day ends.