It's hard not to develop some sort of crush on Angel Olsen. Her most recent release, 2014's Burn Your Fire For No Witness, is a sweetheart's testament to the lost, the lonely and the loved. Lyrics are sealed with a kiss. The music swoons from dark corners and out into the wilderness, hopping a few fences and kicking up a bit of dust. Olsen's voice has such conviction and purity that it lands somewhere between a window sill serenade and something you might hear at the Grand Ol' Opry. In "Lights Out," her vocals are filled with a kind of cry that lends some comparison to what Linda Ronstadt was going for in her mid-'70s country crusade.
- photo courtesy of Kelly Giarrocco
Olsen's street cred comes from being a vocalist for Will Oldham for a few years, but her solo flight has gained serious critical props. Burn Your Fire popped up on many Best of 2014 lists. Each track comes across like some lucid dream, perfect for the first waking moment of the day. It offers a kind of mystical flavor that could only be conjured from the mind of a Midwestern gal looking beyond her St. Louis roots. The icing on this cake is Olsen's kickass band, which nicely interprets the recordings for the stage with a simplified, precise and haunting beauty.
Angel Olsen plays the Top Hat Sat., Oct. 10, with openers Lion Limb. Doors at 8 PM, show at 9. $15 advance at tophatlounge.com.