Angel Olsen, the Chicago-based singer-songwriter, released a gorgeous and haunted and joyous album last year titled Half Way Home (Bathetic). And when she was in Philly last winter, she stopped by the WXPN studio to record a Folkadelphia Session, where she performed three songs from it. One of them was an extended version of “Lonely Universe,” where Olsen tries to make sense of a tragic world where the source of life has just died. It’ll bring you to your knees, and then lift you back up on your feet. “You won’t always be walking the safest streets,” she sings. “But you can find your way home.”
Olsen has since signed with the Jagjaguwar label. A release date for her upcoming album has not yet been announced. But, she says, “I’m working on some new things. I don’t want to force them, though. I have some vague idea of when I might record, but we’ll see. It will be sooner than later because I don’t want to wait too long. It has to come naturally.”
In the meantime, you can catch Olsen live in Philadelphia as she performs an opening set for Kurt Vile on May 18 at Union Transfer. We recently caught up with Olsen while she was touring the West Coast, and we spoke to her about television shows, books, painters, movies, and some other stuff. Here’s what she said.
The Key: Hi Angel. What’s up?
Angel Olsen: Not much. I just played Phoenix. It was really fun. Now we’re in Tempe, Arizona. We’re looking for a swimming hole. We’re going to a place called Kenyon Lake. And now I’m drinking some coffee. I just woke up like 30 minutes ago, so I feel like I’m going to be very experimental with answering these questions.
TK: Good. It’s Friday, and everyone’s over everything. So I won’t ask you all the dumb questions interviewers usually ask like, “How did you get the name Angel Olsen?” I’ll just ask you some random questions like this one: Do you watch television?
AO: Not really. But I got really into Downton Abbey over the winter. Me and my friends did. It was pretty ridiculous. I don’t know what’s so good about it—I couldn’t tell you. I’ve never been a television person, but I watched a lot of that. And I always go back to Freaks & Geeks. Every episode is so perfect. But I only really watch television in the winter because there’s nothing to do in Chicago and I get tired of going out and forcing myself to do things. But, in the summer, I’m normally out riding my bike, or getting some tacos, or running around outside. You know, living. Continue reading