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ANGEL OLSEN

Fresh grief, like fresh love, has a way of sharpening our vision and bringing on painful clarifications. No matter how temporary we know these states to be, the vulnerability and transformation they demand can overpower the strongest among us. Then there are the rare, fertile moments when both occur, when mourning and limerence heighten, complicate and explain each other; the songs that comprise Angel Olsen’s Big Time were forged in such a whiplash.

Big Time is an album about the expansive power of new love, but this brightness and optimism is tempered by a profound and layered sense of loss. During Olsen’s process of coming to terms with her queerness and confronting the traumas that had been keeping her from fully accepting herself, she felt it was time to come out to her parents, a hurdle she’d been avoiding for some time. “Finally, at the ripe age of 34, I was free to be me,” she said. Three days later, her father died and shortly after her mother passed away.

The shards of this grief—the shortening of her chance to finally be seen more fully by her parents— are scattered throughout the album. Three weeks after her mother’s funeral she was in the studio, recording this incredibly wise and tender new album. Loss has long been a subject of Olsen’s elegiac songs, but few can write elegies with quite the reckless energy as she.

If that bursting-at-the-seams, running downhill energy has come to seem intractable to her work, this album proves Olsen is now writing from a more rooted place of clarity. She’s working with an elastic, expansive mastery of her voice—both sonically and artistically. These are songs not just about transformational mourning, but of finding freedom and joy in the privations as they come.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Angel Olsen has always had a unique skill in writing melodies, but it's here on the heartbreaking 'Big Time' that her command of melody and atmosphere come together into the perfect whole. It's beautiful and sombre in parts, and downright jubilant in others. Beautifully balanced and achingly affectionate and tender.

TRACK LISTING

1. All The Good Times
2. Big Time
3. Dream Thing
4. Ghost On
5. All The Flowers
6. Right Now
7. This Is How It Works
8. Go Home
9. Through The Fires
10. Chasing The Sun

Angel Olsen / Karen Dalton

Something On Your Mind

    Light in the Attic is honored to be releasing Angel Olsen’s gorgeous cover of Karen Dalton’s moving interpretation of ‘Something On Your Mind,’ a song that enduringly underscores the unspoken thoughts, painful truths and buried emotions between people and within oneself. Thematically, the song is universal and resonates as much with listeners today emerging from a post-pandemic world as it did for Karen Dalton when she first recorded it in 1971 for her second and final studio album, In My Own Time. “‘Something On Your Mind’ for me is about letting yourself face something that keeps setting you back,” says Angel Olsen, who has come to the forefront of Karen Dalton appreciators around the world, both in her contribution of this new interpretation and as the voice of Dalton’s personal journals in the recent documentary, Karen Dalton: In My Own Time. As part of the latest installment of LITA’s long-running cover series, Angel’s cover is found on the a-side, while the flip includes Karen’s 1971 version.


    TRACK LISTING

    Something On Your Mind - Angel Olsen
    Something On Your Mind - Karen Dalton

    Angel Olsen

    My Woman - Love Record Stores 2021 Edition

      Love Record Stores Edition available instore from 10am on Saturday September 4th, any remaining copies will be available on online from 9pm on the same day.
      Limited to one per person.


      Angel Olsen

      Aisles

        While spending time trying to conquer the audio of live-stream athome performances, I got better acquainted with my friend Adam McDaniel, an engineer and producer in Asheville, NC. Adam and I had known each other for years. When the band was a bit smaller I’d often rent his studio, Drop of Sun, for pre-recording / pre tour rehearsals. Summer 2020 was tough for many reasons. But Adam and his wife Emily opened their home to me and made it a safe space to create and let go. I had an idea to record some covers and bring some of the band into the mix, or add other players. I wanted to record 80’s songs that I’d overheard walking the aisles at the grocery store, and I needed to laugh and have fun and be a little less serious about the recording process in general. I thought about completely changing some of the songs and turning them inside out.

        I’d heard “Gloria” by Laura Branigan for the first time at a family Christmas gathering and I was amazed at all the aunts who got up to dance. I imagined them all dancing and laughing in slow motion, and that’s when I got the idea to slow the entire song down and try it out in this way. I felt that “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats could be reinterpreted to be about this time of quarantine and the fear of being around anyone or having too much fun. It made me wonder, is it safe to laugh or dance or be free of it all for just a moment?

        I know it’s not really in my history to do something unintentional or just for the hell of it but my connection to these songs is pretty straightforward, I just wanted to have a little fun and be a little more spontaneous, and I think I needed to remember that I could!

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Barry says: It's Angel's turn on the 80's tip this time, with her voice perfectly fitting the melancholic swell of synths and slo-mo takes on these well recognised classics. There's just enough here to recognise the originals, but with Olsen's wonderfully athletic vocals and inventive production they take on a new life entirely.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Gloria
        2. Eyes Without A Face
        3. Safety Dance
        4. If You Leave
        5. Forever Young

        Angel Olsen

        Whole New Mess

          The time had come, Angel Olsen realized in the fading summer of 2018, to take her new songs out of the house. Olsen's 2016 marvel, My Woman, had been a career breakthrough, but it catalyzed a period of personal tumult, too: a painful breakup, an uneasy recovery, an inadequate reckoning. At home in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, Olsen penned songs that finally grappled with these troubles, particularly love:"how forever is too much to promise, how relationships can lock us into static versions of ourselves, how you can go through hell just to make someone else happy. These heartsore explorations shape Whole New Mess, Olsen's first solo album since her 2012 debut and an emotional portrait so intimate and vulnerable you can hear her find meaning in these crises in real-time.

          At least nine of the eleven songs on Whole New Mess should sound familiar to anyone who has heard All Mirrors, Olsen's grand 2019 masterpiece that earned high honors on prestigious year-end lists and glossy spreads in stylish magazines. "Lark," "Summer," "Chance" - they are all here, at least in some skeletal form and with slightly different titles. But these are not the demos for All Mirrors. Instead, Whole New Mess is its own record with its own immovable mood, with Olsen working through her open wounds and raw nerves with just a few guitars and some microphones, isolated in a century-old church in the Pacific Northwest. If the lavish orchestral arrangements and cinematic scope of All Mirrors are the sound of Olsen preparing her scars for the wider world to see, Whole New Mess is the sound of her first figuring out their shape, making sense for herself of these injuries.

          Considered alongside All Mirrors, Whole New Mess is a poignant and pointed reminder that songs are more than mere collections of words, chords, and even melodies. They are webs of moods and moments and ideas, qualities that can change from one month to the next and can say just as much as the perfect progression or an exquisite chord. In that sense, these 11 songs - "solitary, frank, and unflinching examinations of what it's like to love, lose, and survive -" are entirely new. This is the sound of Angel Olsen, sorting through the kind of trouble we've all known, as if just for herself and whoever else needs it.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: 'Whole New Mess' isn't as much different versions of the same songs as it is a retelling of the entire context they were given in. Beautifully raw at times, and even more poignant than the already mindblowing 'All Mirrors', if that was the story, this is the equal and opposite other side of the story. An absolutely necessary listen.

          TRACK LISTING

          Whole New Mess
          Too Easy (bigger Than Us)
          (new Love) Cassette
          (we Are All Mirrors)
          (summer Song)
          Waiving, Smiling
          Tonight (without You)
          Lark Song
          Impasse (workin’ For The Name)
          Chance (forever Love)
          What It Is (what It Is)

          The descent into darkness is a trope we find time again across history, literature and film. But there’s also an abyss above. There’s a winding white staircase that goes ever upward into the great unknown — each step, each turn, requiring a greater boldness and confidence than the one before. This is the journey on which we find Angel Olsen.

          Olsen’s artistic beginnings as a collaborator shifted seamlessly to her magnificent, cryptic-to-cosmic solo work, and then she formed bands to play her songs, and her stages and audiences grew exponentially. But all along, Olsen was more concerned with a different kind of path, and on her vulnerable, Big Mood new album, All Mirrors, we can see her taking an introspective deep dive towards internal destinations and revelations. In the process of making this album, she found a new sound and voice, a blast of fury mixed with hard won self-acceptance.

          “In every way —from the making of it, to the words, to how I feel moving forward— this record is about owning up to your darkest side,” Olsen said. “Finding the capacity for new love and trusting change, even when you feel like a stranger. This is a record about facing yourself and learning to forgive what you see. It is about losing empathy, trust, love for destructive people. It is about walking away from the noise and realizing that you can have solitude and peace in your own thoughts, that your thoughts alone can be just as valid, if not more.”

          STAFF COMMENTS

          Barry says: Swooning synth strokes, huge cavernous percussion and snappy mid-heavy bass form a fittingly retrophilic cushion for Olsen's always hypnotic voice, in this instance its commanding presence soars above the backdrop, both haunting and uplifting. 'All Mirrors' is a triumph.

          TRACK LISTING

          SIDE A
          1) Lark
          2) All Mirrors

          SIDE B
          3) Too Easy
          4) New Love Cassette
          5) Spring

          SIDE C
          6) What It Is
          7) Impasse
          8) Tonight

          SIDE D
          9) Summer
          10) Endgame
          11) Chance

          Angel Olsen

          Phases

            How does one best describe Angel Olsen? From the lo-fi, sparse folk-melancholy of her 2010 EP, ‘Strange Cacti’, to the electrified, polished rock ‘n’ roll bursting from 2016’s beloved and acclaimed ‘MY WOMAN’, Olsen has refused to succumb to a single genre, expectation or vision. Impossible to pin down, Olsen navigates the world with her remarkable, symphonic voice and a propensity for narrative, her music growing into whatever shape best fits to tell the story.

            ‘Phases is a collection of Olsen’s work culled from the past several years, including a number of never-before-released tracks. ‘Fly On Your Wall’, previously contributed to the online-only, anti-Trump fundraiser ‘Our First 100 Days’, opens ‘Phases’, before seamlessly slipping into ‘Special’, a brand new song from the ‘MY WOMAN’ recording sessions. Both ‘How Many Disasters’ and ‘Sans’ are first-time listens: home-recorded demos that have never been released, leaning heavily on Olsen’s arresting croon and lonesome guitar.

            The B-sides compilation is both a testament to Olsen’s enormous musical range and a tidy compilation of tracks that have previously been elusive in one way or another.

            Balancing tenacity and tenderness, ‘Phases’ acts as a deep-dive for longtime fans, as well as a fitting introduction to Olsen’s sprawling sonics for the uninitiated.

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: 'Phases' provides the linking thread between the varying facets of Olsen's songwriting, with B-sides and unreleased odes, come a further understanding of Olsen's innate songwriting ability and how important even these previously unused pieces can be! Lovely stuff.

            TRACK LISTING

            1 Fly On Your Wall
            2 Special
            3 Only With You
            4 All Right Now
            5 Sans
            6 Sweet Dreams
            7 California
            8 Tougher Then The Rest
            9 For You
            10 How Many Disasters
            11 May As Well
            12 Endless Road

            "Anyone reckless enough to have typecast Angel Olsen according to 2013’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness is in for a rethink with her third album, MY WOMAN. The crunchier, blown-out production of the former is gone, but that fire is now burning wilder. Her disarming, timeless voice is even more front-and-center. Yet, the strange, raw power and slowly unspooling incantations of her previous efforts remain.

            Over two previous albums, she gave us reverb-shrouded poetic swoons, shadowy folk, grunge-pop band workouts and haunting, finger-picked epics. MY WOMAN is an exhilarating complement to her past work, and one for which Olsen recalibrated her writing/recording approach and methods to enter a new music-making phase.

            As the record evolves, one gets the sense that the “My Woman” of the title is Olsen herself, absolutely in command but also willing to bend with the influence of collaborators and circumstances. An intuitively smart, warmly communicative and fearlessly generous record, MY WOMAN speaks to everyone. That it might confound expectation is just another of its strengths."

            STAFF COMMENTS

            Barry says: Whether she is banging out swooning gothic eyeshadow-pop choruses or walking us through rural America with swinging slide-guitar laden finger-clickers, Angel Olsen constantly manages with aplomb. The Melancholy lilt in some parts only serves exacerbate the impact of her more driven passages. This isn't a cheery listen, but it is touching and masterful. Highly recommended.

            TRACK LISTING

            1 Intern
            2 Never Be Mine
            3 Shut Up Kiss Me
            4 Give It Up
            5 Not Gonna Kill You
            6 Heart Shaped Face
            7 Sister
            8 Those Were The Days
            9 Woman
            10 Pops

            Received an 8.0 rating from Pitchfork!!!! After her highly-acclaimed debut Strange Cacti landed in the hands of listeners, it became very obvious the special presence Angel Olsen offered to listeners. She had a fresh edge to her sound, a warm and wonderful range, and a level of skill and charm out of this world. Obviously, fans ate it up. And now here we are, a mere 2 years since her initial Bathetic release—the original cassette version of Strange Cacti. The release of Half Way Home is something everyone has been excited for. We've always wanted to see and hear what Angel brings out through her music. Half Way Home is a continuation of her elegance brought forth.

            TRACK LISTING

            Acrobat
            The Waiting
            Safe In The Womb
            Lonely Universe
            Can't Wait Until Tomorrow
            Always Half Strange
            You Are Song
            Miranda
            The Sky Openend Up
            Free
            Tiniest Seed


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