Angel Olsen's Beautiful Folk Music Probably Won't Show Up in Car Commercials
Singer/songwriter Angel Olsen skipped out on SXSW 2013. Though she's hardly indignant about it, the industry showcase just doesn't speak to the sensibilities displayed on Olsen's gorgeous noir-folk Half Way Home, released by Bathetic Records in 2012. Those songs, like the wounded but sensual "Lonely Universe" and the earthy "Tiniest Seed," with Olsen's voice sailing carefully over a country lilt of snare drum, bass, and guitar, demand more than a "Sponsored by Doritos" banner or a "Powered by Red Bull" advertisement.
Emmett Kelly Angel Olsen
Luckily, Olsen says that word of mouth has done its part. It helps that Olsen lists time backing Bonnie Prince Billy on her résumé, and that her records sink deep hooks in listeners. Her debut, Strange Cacti, ensnares; Half Way Home plants itself deep in the creepiest corners of your brain, where Karen Dalton and Roy Orbison play cards and trade drinks. It's an easy record to recommend to a friend, at least the right kind of friend.
"It's cool when things happen that way, instead of it being this thing were someone's like, 'Oh yeah, I heard that song on three sitcoms and a car commercial,'" Olsen says of natural "got it from a friend" marketing.
"I understand that part of it, too, but it's cool when things happen that way, more organically. I don't know what the future of my music is, but I hope I don't have to put it in a car commercial or something," she laughs.
It's hard to imagine a self-respecting car company who'd have her. Though her music is undeniably beautiful, Olsen knows her way around a menacing vibe. It's hard to imagine a Lexus or Volkswagen commercial featuring her spectral voice, though her latest single, the surging "Sweet Dreams" might work in one of those '50s public service films films about the dangers of driving high or taking the curves of a moonlit coastal freeway too fast. "Sleep tight," she howls over distorted guitars.