If you’ve read this far, chances are you already know who Angel Olsen is: the belle of the ball at the indie roots-rock hootenanny. What you really need to know: is her new collection of b-sides and rare cuts truly necessary?
Well, yes! For one reason, Phases sees the return of the excellent band she assembled for her acclaimed 2016 album, My Woman. Watch the new video (directed by Olsen herself) for the unreleased track “Special” and consider how its inclusion would have made My Woman a double album.
With older cuts taken from her earlier folk material, this album highlights the remarkable journey Angel Olsen has taken literally in pursuit of her voice. Phases almost sounds like it collects three or four different vocalists, from a tremulous country yodeler; to a breathy, still soprano; to the “naturalistic” nasal-toned singer of late, a fetching cross between Stevie Nicks and Brenda Lee. Although the album’s title suggests Angel Olsen might have grown out of vocal styles, a recent live performance of a 2015 demo “Sans” shows the musical ease and artistic purpose with which she dips back into older voices.
ANGEL OLSEN ON TOUR:
Sat. Nov. 18 — Mexico City, DF @ Corona Capital
Tue. Nov. 28 — Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater
Wed. Nov. 29 — New York, NY @ Town Hall
Thu. Nov. 30 — New York, NY @ Town Hall
Fri. Dec. 1 — Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
Sat. Dec. 2 — Portland, ME @ State Theatre
Mon. Dec. 4 — Boston, MA @ House of BlueS
Tue. Dec. 5 — Montreal, QC @ Rialto Theatre
Wed. Dec. 6 — Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
Thu. Dec. 7 — Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
Fri. Dec. 8 — Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre
Sat. Dec. 9 — Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
Sun. Dec. 10 — Louisville, KY @ Mercury Ballroom
Tue. Dec. 12 — Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Wed. Dec. 13 — Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Thu. Dec. 14 — Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Sat. Dec. 16 — Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
A sociology professor living in upstate New York, Leonard Nevarez is patiently waiting until his kids are old enough for a family roadtrip to Maryland Deathfest. He blogs at musicalurbanism.org and is writing a book about Martha & the Muffins and the late 70s/early 80s downtown Toronto music scene.