Look Homeward, Angel Olsen

Photo by Amanda Marsalis

Angel Olsen isn’t in hiding — she’s just looking for a little break from human interaction. “I feel a little covert, because I don’t want to tell a bunch of people I’m here,” she says, calling from Chicago, where she lived for a stint before landing in the beautiful, haute-hippie mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina. She’s been staying at her bassist Emily Elhaj’s house while she’s been in the city, and made sure to wear her sunglasses the other day while going for a jog. “I realized as I was running that I was passing some of my friends’ places. And I thought, ‘Oh no. What if they see me.’ But I just want to look at stuff instead of talking to people.”

You could say that Olsen wanted some things to disappear in plain sight when she released the teaser for her third album, My Woman, this past summer. It’s a clip from the LP’s rather haunting opener, “Intern,” sung by Olsen — except not really. Wearing a silver glitter wig that reappears again in the video for “Shut Up Kiss Me,” it’s her and not her all at once. The bangs: they’re short and familiar to her usual crop, her face fair but not pallid. It’s not a disguise, but a way to trick us into looking and listening differently.

Olsen sounds different on “Intern,” too. The slow, solemn strum of the guitar heard on her 2014 LP, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, has been replaced by slow, solemn synth — recognizable yet morphed, just like Olsen in that silver headpiece, with her penetrating vocal still front and center. “It’s super misleading on purpose, which is always fun,” says... Sign In to Keep Reading

To view this content,

Join Today

or Sign In

The Benefits of Membership:

  • Limited-time FREE Feature Magazine Content
  • Exclusive access to members-only contests and giveaways
Click to Join

We've started a free American Songwriter membership. Click here to learn more.