11 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On her third album, Angel Olsen rides waves of emotional intensity that take her from the depths of despair to the heights of hope. Burn Your Fire for No Witness is a worthy successor to her 2012 breakthrough Half Way Home, revisiting many of the earlier album’s themes with greater focus and maturity. Tracks like “Forgiven/Forgotten,” “Lights Out,” and “Enemy” probe the subtle torments of love with an unflinching hand. Olsen’s phenomenal vocal range—shifting from murmurs to howls and yodels with impressive control—brings out the expansive vision of “Iota” and the confrontational power of “High & Wild.” The album's pervasive angst gives way to a desperate yearning for healing and peace in the convulsive “Stars” and the tender “Windows.” Olsen’s expressive guitar work is lent sympathetic support by bassist Stewart Bronaugh and drummer Joshua Jaeger, who help her leap from the distorted alt-country of “Hi-Five” to the Leonard Cohen–like folk balladry of “White Fire” and the French chanson feel of “Dance Slow Decades.” Finely crafted and fearlessly sung, Burn Your Fire smolders with dark brilliance.

EDITORS’ NOTES

On her third album, Angel Olsen rides waves of emotional intensity that take her from the depths of despair to the heights of hope. Burn Your Fire for No Witness is a worthy successor to her 2012 breakthrough Half Way Home, revisiting many of the earlier album’s themes with greater focus and maturity. Tracks like “Forgiven/Forgotten,” “Lights Out,” and “Enemy” probe the subtle torments of love with an unflinching hand. Olsen’s phenomenal vocal range—shifting from murmurs to howls and yodels with impressive control—brings out the expansive vision of “Iota” and the confrontational power of “High & Wild.” The album's pervasive angst gives way to a desperate yearning for healing and peace in the convulsive “Stars” and the tender “Windows.” Olsen’s expressive guitar work is lent sympathetic support by bassist Stewart Bronaugh and drummer Joshua Jaeger, who help her leap from the distorted alt-country of “Hi-Five” to the Leonard Cohen–like folk balladry of “White Fire” and the French chanson feel of “Dance Slow Decades.” Finely crafted and fearlessly sung, Burn Your Fire smolders with dark brilliance.

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About Angel Olsen

Raised in St. Louis, Missouri and later relocating to Chicago, Illinois, indie folk singer/songwriter Angel Olsen began performing in St. Louis coffee shops in her teenage years, eventually branching out and tapping into a network of like-minded artists. Olsen worked with California musician Emmett Kelly as part of his collective the Cairo Gang, singing harmonies on Bonnie "Prince" Billy's 2010 album The Wonder Show of the World, as well as its 2011 follow-up, Wolfroy Goes to Town. In 2010, Olsen released Strange Cacti, a cassette of original Americana songs that was later reissued as a 12", both with Bathetic Records. Half Way Home, a spare album with understated arrangements and a homespun approach somewhere between '50s country crooners and her indie contemporaries, was issued with the same label in 2012.

In early 2013, Olsen added drummer Josh Jaeger and bassist Stewart Bronaugh to flesh out her stripped-back sound, which added a brooding, garage rock appeal to her intimate music. Soon after forming the trio, Olsen returned to the studio with producer John Congleton to track sessions for her third album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, which saw release in early 2014 via Jagjaguwar. The record was critically well-received and marked Olsen's debut on the Billboard 200.

By then resettled in Asheville, North Carolina, she expanded her sound still further on her fourth LP, 2016's My Woman, touring as a six-piece to support its release. Jagjaguwar followed it in 2017 with Phases, a compilation of Olsen rarities such as early demos and unreleased material from the My Woman sessions. ~ Fred Thomas & Scott Kerr

HOMETOWN
St. Louis, MO
BORN
1987

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