An Album As Expansive As It Is Overwhelming

Angel OlsenAngel Olsen‘s Songs Made People Cry. Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen , recently featured on Mark Ronson’s Late Night Feelings” album, has dropped a video for Lark,” the second song to be released from her powerful fourth full-length album All Mirrors,” which arrives on Oct. 4. The first song and video from the album, its title track , was released in July.

All Mirrors is the Missouri-born musician’s grandest album yet. But for Olsen, letting multiple musicians into her private sonic world wasn’t always easy.

I know the acoustic versions, when we get to hear them, will be great — partly because every Angel Olsen album has been great. She’s four for four. We’ll probably get to hear Olsen’s songs a little more clearly when she removes all the bells and whistles, and I trust that she’s not going to put some bullshit on the market. Still, part of me hopes the acoustic take on the album never comes out, if only because I can’t imagine that it’ll be any better than this.

The song is even more stunning because it’s bolstered by incisive instrumentation that allows Olsen’s frustration to boil over in a natural, affecting way. Unfortunately, All Mirrors doesn’t maintain this subtlety, in large part because the high-alert string arrangements overpower the album’s dynamics and delicacy. The synth-cloaked New Love Cassette” is dragged down by a plodding tempo that’s exacerbated by these heavy-handed accents, while the nuance of other songs is overshadowed.

Angel Olsen’s fourth studio album is her most adventurous to date and almost certainly her best. The Missouri-born alt-country singer has turned down the guitars on All Mirrors, with strings and synths utilised dreamily to create a symphonic soundscape that perfectly compliments her otherworldly holler. Where her earlier albums were more earthy, All Mirrors is an aesthetic creation that works in juxtaposition with her emotional lyrics, mostly drawn from experience.

Months before beginning work on the recording, Olsen had gone to Anacortes, Wash., to record a bare-bones solo version of her latest set of songs. I got to make my ‘Nebraska,’ ” she told me, referring to Bruce Springsteen’s famously spare album, originally recorded as a set of demos. Once these raw, pure versions of the songs were safely preserved, she felt free to make something stranger and more layered from them. Without that process, I wouldn’t have been able to allow this change to happen,” she says.

It’s 3pm in Asheville, North Carolina, and Angel Olsen is sipping on apricot brandy. It’s been a long day already,” she laments, adding that she desperately wanted to end her forthcoming European tour in Ireland , to no avail. Every time I play there, I always tell myself ‘This is gonna be a sober Irish show. I am going to be sober.’ But no matter what, I wake up the next day feeling like I am a walking human example of purgatory.

Angel Olsen has given us reverb-shrouded poetic swoons, shadowy folk, grunge-pop band workouts and haunting, fingerpicked epics over her first two albums.

All Mirrors arrives on October 4 via Jagjaguwar and is available to pre-order now A limited edition bundle of the album includes a 7″ vinyl featuring two versions of the title track, the album version and the ‘We Are All Mirrors’ solo version.

My birthday is January 22, and when I was a kid, my parents would take me to the symphony to see The Nutcracker. I liked listening and singing and writing when I was really small, and I would go home and make these tapes, recording in different places around the house to get different sonics and training my voice to sing a certain way. I must have been 9 or 10. When we made this record, we booked a session at United A Studio A at the famed United Recording in L.A. with the string players, and the second day was my birthday. It would have been a day I went to the symphony.

All Mirrors is Olsen’s best representation of change – how big or small it really feels like. Her sad-girl persona, thrust upon her unwittingly by music media, transforms into its most dramatic form. It’s a brazen sadness echoed through crashing symbols and spacious synths. The songs are devastating, but also nourishing: it’s a whole new version of Olsen.



On the set of Olsen’s All Mirrors” video shoot in Brooklyn, Ashley Connor — the collaborator from that barn shoot seven years earlier — stood in the cool, darkened studio, setting up a key shot, in which Olsen would rise up into a room full of mirrors and smoke, passing one reflection after another, her image refracted and multiplied dramatically. The entire shoot had been scheduled for a single day, and the crew was moving from task to task with unflagging intensity, approaching the midpoint of a 15-hour shift. In the adjacent studio, techs were breaking down an ethereal white staircase that Olsen descended earlier in a glittering, sage green Gucci gown, shaggy with tassels. At one point, the staircase had been canceled for budget reasons, but some local carpenters, who happened to be Angel Olsen fans, volunteered to build it at cost.

Olsen’s artistic beginnings as a collaborator shifted seamlessly to her magnificent, cryptic-to-cosmic solo work, and then she formed bands to play her songs, and her stages and audiences grew exponentially. But all along, Olsen was more concerned with a different kind of path, and on her vulnerable, Big Mood new album, ‘All Mirrors,’ we can see her taking an introspective deep dive towards internal destinations and revelations. In the process of making this album, she found a new sound and voice, a blast of fury mixed with hard won self-acceptance.

Following a tumultuous end to her MY WOMAN tour, Angel Olsen is back with her fourth record All Mirrors, her most hopeful work yet. What It Is” is the sixth track from Angel Olsen’s fourth studio album All Mirrors”.

On title alone, Olsen’s recent follow-up All Mirrors appears to play with that endless refraction: ironically, people immediately took it in a different direction.

Partnered with the fluid instrumental styles, though, this introspection retains a sense of timelessness, of endurance. ‘New Love Cassette’, ‘Too Easy’, ‘All Mirrors’, ‘Spring’, ‘Chance’, and ‘Summer’ are awash with the Americana of Olsen’s home.

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.

The song, the first track on the album, begins quietly and builds into a towering string arrangement, with Olsen singing at the top of her powerful voice. The video, filmed in her home state of North Carolina, following the song’s progression as she leaves her house after an argument.

All Mirrors isn’t an indie rock album. It’s too rich and lush and open. Its scope is too big. It demands to be heard in concert halls with ornate domes and tapestries and shit. None of the possible reference points are quite right, but All Mirrors will send you scrambling for classics to come up with any kind of sonic precedent: Early-’70s Scott Walker, Berlin-era Bowie, scores for mid-period Kubrick movies. It’s a thick, heady, transporting piece of music.


It was ultimately reductive, though: My Woman, Olsen’s third album, is a maelstrom of ideas and images. It’s precisely the sort of album that defies neat thesis through-lines, jumping in tone and sound between sick love songs (‘Shut Up Kiss Me’), eerie synth ballads (‘Intern’) and sprawling, ’70s influenced epics (‘Woman’).

How do you best describe Angel Olsen? From the lo-fi, sparse folk-melancholy of her 2010 EP, Strange Cacti, to the electrified, polished rock ‘n’ roll bursting from 2016’s beloved and acclaimed My Woman, Olsen has refused to succumb to a single genre, expectation, or vision. Impossible to pin down, Olsen navigates the world with her remarkable, symphonic voice and a propensity for narrative, her music growing into whatever shape best fits to tell the story.

How do you best describe Angel Olsen? From the lo-fi, sparse folk-melancholy of her 2010 EP, Strange Cacti, to the electrified, polished rock ‘n’ roll bursting from 2016’s beloved and acclaimed My Woman, Olsen has refused to succumb to a single genre, expectation, or vision. Impossible to pin down, Olsen navigates the world with her remarkable, symphonic voice and a propensity for narrative, her music growing into whatever shape best fits to tell the story.

Having perfected her craft from an early age and discovering her unique tone and incredible range, Olsen began performing at local coffeehouses in St Louis during her teenage years. Taking on backing vocal duties in 2010 with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and the Cairo Gang the albums The Wonder Show of the World” (2010) and Wolfrey Goes to Town” (2011), Olsen toured and recorded with them for much of 2010.

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