SXSW Live Shot: Angel Olsen

Missouri singer matches name to venue

SXSW Live Shot: Angel Olsen
by Sandy Carson

Two core members of Blondie are blonds. Despite that trademark band sobriquet, I’ve never witnessed a musical act tht matched their name as perfectly as Angel Olsen playing Central Presbyterian Church Friday night.

The stone-faced Midwesterner quieted an already austere sanctuary setting with a wavering, guarded alto and sustained guitars pulled straight from the Fifties. Although she wasn't cloaked in white or toting a harp, Olsen was nothing short of angelic against this backdrop.

Leaning on the quiet songs from her brand-new, full-band debut and sophomore LP, Burn Your Fire for No Witness on Jagjaguwar, she could just as easily fire off guitar riffs that soared into the balconies. The drum snap of “Windows” cut through the church’s acoustic echo, sharp and jarring as Olsen’s warble bounced through the pews.

The singer changed hats with “High and Wild,” which touched on surf-rock sensibility, but Olsen remained demure throughout the set, never offering much glimpse beyond her otherworldly songs. As she wound down with the gentle “Tiniest Seed,” the couple in front of me rested their heads on each other, taken to another place entirely.

More Angel Olsen
Fun Fun Fun Fest Interview: Angel Olsen
Fun Fun Fun Fest Interview: Angel Olsen
Indie rock and folk breakout steps up to festival status

Neph Basedow, Nov. 6, 2014

More by Abby Johnston
Top 10 National Albums of 2016
Top 10 National Albums of 2016
Our favorite picks from across the country

Dec. 30, 2016

Texas Platters
Twenty (Record Review)

Dec. 23, 2016


Angel Olsen, SXSW Music 2014, Jagjaguwar

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)