Every week, a different FADER editor compiles a playlist to highlight a new release and give you a guide to that artist’s web of influences and peers. These Staff Selects live in our Spotify app, alongside GEN Fs from our archives and playlists for each issue. This week, it’s Emilie Friedlander on Angel Olsen’s new Half Way Home LP and the historical Anglo-American psych-folk bards it makes us want to revisit.
“Acrobat,” the second single from Angel Olsen’s terrifically fragile Half Way Home LP, immediately brought me back to the first time I heard Vashti Bunyan’s 1970 outsider folk gem Just Another Diamond Day. It was about half a decade ago, and we were huddled up in a nippy college dorm room listening to her quivering soprano by candlelight; something about the smallness of the British folkstress’ voice made me decide that winter was actually a really nice time of year, and that the right kind of very intimate music can make being cold under a down comforter strangely pleasurable. Olsen’s instrument is naturally much bigger-sounding than Vashti’s, but the Chicago-based Will Oldam collaborator sings with a nuance and emotional range that seems just as conducive to solitary contemplation. For this installment of Staff Selects, I’ve brought Olsen together with a few of my favorite, under-sung vocalists from the Anglo-American psych-folk tradition that she mines, with a special focus on female voices over sparse arrangements of guitar or piano.
New Playlist: Solitary Introspection with Angel Olsen