Soulful shitting soundtracks: Angel Olsen invites listeners to find the humour

Monday 13th, June 2016 / 22:23
By Liam Prost

UPDATE: The new LP that Angel Olsen teased to BeatRoute during last month’s interview with her has since been revealed as titled MY WOMAN, out Sept. 2.

Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen offers just a tease on new music to come.

Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen offers just a tease on new music to come.

CALGARY — “I don’t want to sound serious anymore, that’s not the full picture of me.” A suggestion that is obvious to BeatRoute as we’re on the receiving end of her quips and liberal use of the word “dude.”

There’s a lot written about Angel Olsen, a crooning songwriter whose wavering vocal crescendos are as ‘jazz-singer’ as they are ‘horror-movie soundtrack.’ Within the indie-darling-discourse of Olsen, the centre-point is obviously her beautiful, heart-rending music, which broaches freak-folk in the intimate moments, and lo-fi rock at its edge. Her most recent release Burn Your Fire for No Witness (2014) is a tremendous record of fragmented sentiments, a cavalcade of visceral emotions and haunting lyrics. Burn Your Fire cut “White Fire” opens with the cutting line “everything is tragic, it all just falls apart.” For most other singer-songwriters, the self-seriousness of such a sentiment would be striking, but this particular lyrical moment is one she wants people to shit to. In a 2014 interview with Spin, Olsen said that she wants her music to soundtrack Lena Dunham defecating in the HBO ensemble dramedy Girls, a show which she respects for “showing every angle” of “daily life,” even those angles to which camera lenses do not often focus. This remark is revealing both of Olsen’s music as a method with which to reconfigure expectations about tone and emotionality, but also of her sense of humour.

Olsen is a hugely buzzed about act with media attention all over the place and an outrageous Twitter personality. Her lack of self-seriousness dares listeners to read humour into her often-dour music. Despite her success and newfound public profile, she still opines that “it’s a privilege to be interviewed.” Those who read her interviews or listen to her music “get to carve the piece anyway,” and get acquainted with their own vertical slice of Angel Olsen. She tells us that “you have to embrace the character that you are,” and it became clear that no one knows Angel Olsen better than Angel Olsen.

While tight-lipped about details regarding her material, Olsen teases that we can expect something “very soon” and that “it’ll still be wordy,” with some “upbeat poppy shit” and of course, more “introverted material.” An impending release to which Olsen admits to being “so relieved and so excited.”

Angel Olsen performs at Central United Church on June 22nd as part of Sled Island Music and Arts Festival.

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