Angel Olsen

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Angel Olsen
Olsen performing live at Rockefeller in Oslo, Norway, 2020
Olsen performing live at Rockefeller in Oslo, Norway, 2020
Background information
Born (1987-01-22) January 22, 1987 (age 33)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
OriginChicago, Illinois, U.S.
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
  • synthesizer
Years active2009–present
Associated acts

Angel Olsen (born January 22, 1987) is an American singer-songwriter and musician from St. Louis, Missouri[6][7] who lives in Asheville, North Carolina.[8]

To date, Olsen has released five studio albums: Half Way Home (2012), Burn Your Fire for No Witness (2014), My Woman (2016), All Mirrors (2019) and Whole New Mess (2020).

Early life and education[edit]

Angel Olsen was born on January 22, 1987 in St. Louis, Missouri. At age three, Olsen was adopted by a foster family that had cared for her since shortly after her birth. The difference in years between her and her parents left an impression. "Because there are so many decades of difference between us, I became more interested in what their childhood was like," she says of her parents, both of whom still live in St. Louis. "I fantasized about what it was like to be young in the ’30s and ’50s, more so than other kids my age."[8] Olsen explained that "my mother just has this capacity for children."[8]

Despite early adolescent aspirations to be a "pop star", her interests later shifted in high school. Olsen became more introverted, regularly attending punk rock and noise music shows at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center and the Creepy Crawl as well as Christian rock shows throughout the city.[9] She began learning the piano and guitar and writing her own music.[8][10] At the age of 16, she joined a local band called Good Fight, self-described as "a meeting of early No Doubt and punk rock."[11] Two years after graduating from Tower Grove Christian High School, Olsen moved to Chicago.[9]


Pitchfork Music Festival 2017 in Chicago, Illinois, 2017
Olsen performing at the Sinclair (2016).

After releasing her first EP, Strange Cacti,[12] and a debut studio album, Half Way Home,[13] on Bathetic Records, Olsen signed with Jagjaguwar,[14] ahead of her first full-band record, Burn Your Fire for No Witness,[15] which was released on February 17, 2014.[16][17] The closing track of the album, "Windows", was featured in the final episode of the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why in 2017.

Olsen's third studio album, My Woman, was released on September 2, 2016.[18][19] In a review for Consequence of Sound, critic Ciara Dolan described the album as a "startling record of unimpeachable strength and honesty",[20] while Pitchfork's Jenn Pelly described it as "her best record yet".[21]

In addition to her work with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and the Cairo Gang, Olsen has collaborated with a number of other notable figures of American indie rock, including Tim Kinsella of Cap'n Jazz, LeRoy Bach of Wilco and Cass McCombs.[22] Her collaboration with Kinsella and Bach, as well as with Chicago poet Marvin Tate, resulted in the album Tim Kinsella Sings the Songs of Marvin Tate by Leroy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen which the group released on Indianapolis label Joyful Noise Recordings on December 3, 2013.[22]

Olsen's fourth studio album, All Mirrors, was released on October 4, 2019 to critical acclaim. Laura Snapes of Pitchfork described the album as "breathtaking", and a "strong wind" that blows in and "leaves you undone",[23] while Alexis Petridis of The Guardian described it as "challenging and intriguing", and Luke Saunders of Happy Mag described it as a change of "theatric transcendency",[24] when compared to her previous releases.

Olsen plays a vintage Gibson S-1 guitar from 1979.[25]

On August 28, 2020, Olsen released her fifth studio album Whole New Mess through Seasick Records.[26]



Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions

Half Way Home
Burn Your Fire for No Witness 71 81 146 64
My Woman
  • Released: September 2, 2016[34]
  • Label: Jagjaguwar[35]
  • Formats: CD, LP, cassette, digital download
47 29 36 185 43 38 84 58 40
All Mirrors
  • Released: October 4, 2019[36]
  • Label: Jagjaguwar[37]
  • Formats: CD, LP, cassette, digital download
46 199
74 49
13 69
62 28
Whole New Mess
  • Released: August 28, 2020
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • Formats: CD, LP, cassette, digital download

Collaborative albums[edit]

List of collaborative albums
Title Details
Tim Kinsella Sings the Songs of Marvin Tate by Leroy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen[43]
(with Tim Kinsella, Martin Tate and Leroy Bach)

Compilation albums[edit]

List of compilation albums
Title Details
  • Released: November 10, 2017[45]
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays
Title Details
Strange Cacti
  • Released: July 2010
  • Label: Bathetic Records
  • Formats: LP, cassette, digital download
Lady of the Waterpark
  • Released: September 2010
  • Label: Love Lion
  • Format: Cassette
  • Released: January 15, 2013
  • Label: Sixteen Tambourines
  • Format: 7"


As lead artist[edit]

List of singles, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"Sweet Dreams" / "California" 2013 Sleepwalker
"Forgiven/Forgotten" Burn Your Fire for No Witness
"Hi-Five" 2014
"Intern" 2016 My Woman
"Shut Up, Kiss Me"
"Fly On Your Wall" 2017 Phases
"All Mirrors" 2019 All Mirrors
"Whole New Mess" 2020 Whole New Mess

As featured artist[edit]

List of collaborations, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"California Paranoia"
(Lawrence Rothman featuring Angel Olsen)
2015 The Book of Law
"Heartstruck (Wild Hunger)"
(Hamilton Leithauser featuring Angel Olsen)
2017 Non-album single
"Safe in the Car"[46]
(Jeff Ament featuring Angel Olsen)
2018 Heaven/Hell

Guest appearances[edit]

With Bonnie "Prince" Billy[edit]

  • Island Brothers (Vinyl 10"), February 2011, Drag City Records
  • Wolfroy Goes to Town (CD/LP), October 2011, Drag City Records
  • Now Here's My Plan (CD/LP), July 2012, Drag City Records
List of guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other performer(s) Album
"If It's Alive, It Will" 2011 N/A Deep In The Woods: An Introduction to Bathetic Records
"In the Morning" N/A Twosyllable Records Chicago Cassette Compilation
"Acrobat" 2012 N/A Miracle of Love: A Bathetic Records Compilation
"The Blacksmith" 2015 N/A Shirley Inspired
"Attics of My Life" 2016 N/A Day of the Dead
"Oblivion" Chilvarous Amoekons, Will Oldham Fanatic Voyage
"Dance With Me" 2017 Jaye Bartell "Dance With Me / Slow Going" — Single
"Fly On Your Wall"[47] N/A Our First 100 Days
"Stranger's Kiss" Alex Cameron Forced Witness
"Red Rocks" High Aura'd No River Long Enough Doesn't Contain a Bend
"Give Erin a Compliment" Jaye Bartell In a Time of Trouble a Wild Exultation
"Who's Sorry Now" N/A Resistance Radio: The Man in the High Castle Album
"True Blue" 2019 Mark Ronson Late Night Feelings


List of music videos, showing year released and director
Title Year Director(s)
"Tiniest Seed" 2013 Angel Olsen, Randy Sterling Hunter, Ashley Connor, Zia Anger
"Forgive/Forgotten" Zia Anger
"High & Wild" 2014 N/A
"Hi-Five" Zia Anger
"Windows" Rick Alverson
"Intern" 2016 Angel Olsen
"Shut Up Kiss Me"
"Sister" Angel Olsen, Conor Hagen
"Pops" 2017 Angel Olsen, Jethro Waters
"Special" Angel Olsen
"All Mirrors" 2019  Ashley Connor
"Whole New Mess" 2020


  1. ^ Richardson, Mark (September 25, 2019). "'All Mirrors' by Angel Olsen Review: A Surprising Turn". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  2. ^ Terich, Jeff (September 30, 2019). "Album of the Week: Angel Olsen – All Mirrors". Treble. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  3. ^ Thomas, Fred. "Angel Olsen biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  4. ^ Donelson, Marcy. "My Woman – Angel Olsen". AllMusic. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  5. ^ Todd, Bella (August 29, 2016). "Angel Olsen: indie's dark star tackles 'the complicated mess of being a woman'". The Guardian. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "Angel Olsen Playlist - Adding Some Glam To The Gloom". Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  7. ^ Paul Lester. "Angel Olsen (New band of the day No 1,676) | Music". Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d Bevan, David (March 24, 2014). "Angel Olsen Will Be Heard". Spin. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Appelstein, Mike. "Angel Among Us: An Oral History of Angel Olsen's Time In St. Louis". Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  10. ^ Lamont, Tom (March 30, 2014). "Angel Olsen: 'I had to learn someone else's songs. Now I teach people my material'". The Guardian. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  11. ^ "PearShaped Magazine Archive | Angel Olsen". Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  12. ^ "Strange Cacti 12 EP". Bathetic Records. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  13. ^ "Half Way Home". Bathetic Records. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  14. ^ "Angel Olsen". Jagjaguwar. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  15. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (February 17, 2014). "Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire for No Witness Album Review". Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  16. ^ "Angel Olsen Breaks Down Her Smoldering New Jagjaguwar Debut". Billboard. February 13, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  17. ^ Fred Thomas. "Burn Your Fire for No Witness - Angel Olsen | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  18. ^ Pearce, Sheldon; Monroe, Jazz (June 6, 2016). "Angel Olsen Announces New Album My Woman | Pitchfork". Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  19. ^ Dolanon, Ciara (August 31, 2016). "Album Review: Angel Olsen – My Woman". Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  20. ^ "Album Review: Angel Olsen - My Woman". Consequence of Sound. August 31, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  21. ^ "Angel Olsen: My Woman". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  22. ^ a b Joyful Noise Recordings. "Tim Kinsella sings the songs of Marvin Tate by LeRoy Bach featuring Angel Olsen". Joyful Noise Recordings. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  23. ^ Snapes, Laura. "Angel Olsen: All Mirrors". Pitchfork. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  24. ^ "Most psychedelic sensory overload music videos on Youtube". Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  25. ^ Taylor, Luke (May 7, 2017). "The Current's Guitar Collection: Angel Olsen, 1979 Gibson S-1". The Current. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  26. ^ "Angel Olsen". Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  27. ^ "Discografie Angel Olsen". Ultratop. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  28. ^ "Discographie von Angel Olsen". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  29. ^ "Discography Angel Olsen". Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  30. ^ "Discographie Angel Olsen". Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  31. ^ "Angel Olsen | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  32. ^ "Angel Olsen - Half Way Home". Discogs. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  33. ^ "Burn Your Fire For No Witness, by Angel Olsen". Angel Olsen. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  34. ^ "MY WOMAN, by Angel Olsen". Angel Olsen. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  35. ^ "Angel Olsen is beginning to see the light". The Fader. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  36. ^ Strauss, Matthew (July 30, 2019). "Angel Olsen Announces New Album All Mirrors, Shares Video for New Song: Watch". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  37. ^ "All Mirrors - Angel Olsen | Secretly Store". Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  38. ^ @billboardcharts (October 14, 2019). "Debuts on this week's #Billboard200 (2/3)" (Tweet). Retrieved October 15, 2019 – via Twitter.
  39. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. October 14, 2019. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  40. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums Fusionnes – SNEP (Week 42, 2019)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved October 22, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ "Irish Albums Chart: 11 October 2019". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  42. ^ "Top 100 Albumes – Semana 41: del 4.10.2019 al 10.10.2019" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  43. ^ Fred Thomas. "Tim Kinsella Sings the Songs of Marvin Tate by LeRoy Bach". AllMusic. Retrieved February 18, 2014.
  44. ^ "Angel Olsen announces career-spanning rarities compilation, shares unreleased track 'Special'". The 405. Archived from the original on September 21, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  45. ^ "Phases, by Angel Olsen". Angel Olsen. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  46. ^ "New Single By Ament". Ten Club. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  47. ^ "Our First 100 Days". Bandcamp. Archived from the original on May 3, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2017.

External links[edit]