Last week, I saw Angel Olsen at Dingwalls in London. I have been listening to Angel near-exclusively since last September, and it was so special to see her live. The gig was great, one of those ones that seemed to go by in mere minutes, even though she played for about an hour or so. In a strange way, the show was both enchantingly intimate yet so entertaining: lively and unpolished, dimpled with little flecks and flaws here and there. And that’s what I like about Angel’s music anyway. I know, it’s a cliché, but there is this piercing, rawness to her lyrics as much as there is an ethereal wonder to her voice, and she herself, so smiley and cheeky on stage – almost like a naughty little girl – is both of the slick but sullied here and now, and much as she seems to be of an older, folkish, sepia-tinted time.
What seems so rare about Angel is that there is nothing ‘put on’ or exaggerated about her performance, lyrics (albeit the odd ‘darling’ might stray into this territory from time to time) or look – no flippy, hippy skirts, beads or fringes and equally nothing too trendy, rather just Cuban-heeled boots and a sweater. That’s what gets to me about her music: it’s all so luminescent, soaring and otherworldly without relying on costumes, gimmicks or theatrics as so many musicians and bands do nowadays; but is so precisely in its tender corporeality firmly rooted in terrestrial planes.