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Angel Olsen Pitchfork Review: A Powerful Singer on the Rise

The local girl with a strong set of pipes entranced a Friday afternoon audience.

Photo: Ray Whitehouse

 

Ever since local buzz girl Angel Olsen, 26, released her album Halfway Home in 2012, her his rise to fame has been meteoric. That buzz was ablaze as the former Bonnie “Prince” Billie collaborator took the stage on Friday afternoon.

The whispers were practically louder than Olsen’s entrance—the Missouri-born singer / songwriter is not one for theatrics—but as soon as she opened her mouth, Olsen had the audience in a trance. (It helped too that the afternoon was reaching its peak heat and most listeners were already somewhat delirious.)

Though Olsen’s stage personality is somewhat muted, her powerful pipes are are a force to be reckoned with. Imagine Julie Cruise with gusto. As Olsen began her set, I found myself picking up sound bites of the conversations around me, each one charting Olsen’s potential. “She should really play at Coachella” said one onlooker. “She should do an album of Elvis covers,” said another.

As Olsen began “The Acrobat,” the first track on Halfway Home and her second song in the set, her quiet falsettos and her deep, diaphragm-based vibratos in full force, I had my own prophetic vision: she should cover Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. Olsen is a rare artist whose talents are so wide-ranging that it’s only natural to imagine what else she could accomplish. Certainly signing with Jagjaguwar is a start; so is a killer Pitchfork set.

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