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coverpic flag US - Illinois - Full Moon 215 - 03/16/14

Angel Olsen
Burn Your Fire For No Witness

"Last December, Angel Olsen opened for Neko Case at the Forum, one of London's draughtier old theatres. For half an hour, it was Olsen, her stark electric guitar and her basilisk stare versus a demi-interested crowd, still trickling in from work. Some there might have heard of Olsen's first album, 2012's Half Way Home (Bathetic Records), a collection of acoustic songs that veered more towards the 1940s than they did the wispiness of folk." (The Guardian)

Angel Olsen's second album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness sparkles and shines, and all of a sudden Olsen stands out as one of the hottest singer-songwriters around. Hail Olsen, hail Jagjaguwar. Hail Burn Your Fire For No Witness. It is an album with quite a glow and passion, almost like there's blood (maybe also sweat and tears...) all over the tracks. Angel Olsen is raw and mild and energetic and laidback at the same time. She's a Juliana Hatfield, a Liz Phair, and maybe a Maryrose Crook of The Renderers made into one. According to Matthew Didier, of Jagjaguwar, she has "...ended up somewhere west of Sharon Van Etten or north of Cat Power, in the neighbourhood of the Breeders by way of Leonard Cohen." She's said to be capable of leaving her audiences spellbound and speechless simply just like that [snap!], and I believe that's the truth. All of her songs have got this nerve and attitude lifting them to another higher level. Burn Your Fire for No Witness is a burning fire that will not burn out.

Angel Olsen started her career in her local St. Louis, exploring her vocal and songwriting skills, capacity and range. Her homespun and self-released debut recording, an EP entitled Strange Cacti, was a collection of songs rooted on her Midwestern background. She eventuallty landed in Chicago, where she also sung backing vocal harmonies for and performed/coolaborated with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (as part of his backing band The Cairo Gang, for albums The Wonder Show of the World, 2010, and Wolfroy Goes to Town, 2011). Burn Your Fire for No Witness is a stunning album, holding highly personal, touching and enigmatic songs of sorrow, created and born out of 'heartbreak, travel, and transformation'. Songs showing bare skin and a naked and open soul. To quote Matthew Didier, of Jagjaguwar: "Thankfully for us, Olsen has decided to channel a lot of this newfound power into the ethereal, hypnotic performances of her new and revealing songs, sharing with us the full grace and beauty of her transformative moments." Check out "Unfucktheworld", "Stars", "Forgiven/Forgotten", "Windows", and/or "Dance Slow Decades" to name a few of the songs from the album.

That night, she sang with controlled intensity, coaxing echoey prangs out of her instrument. Olsen didn't actually bring the activity at the bar to a halt, as she did at one gig in New York. But those increasingly caught up in her spell latched intently on to the frequencies in Olsen's guitar and voice - not the silkiest instrument, not the most athletic voice, but a pairing that reverberated with a kind of otherworldly intensity, like on an old 78rpm. Olsen now walks a tightrope between pressed flowers and sepia tints and taut, city swagger." (The Guardian)

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