First Listen

First Listen: Angel Olsen, 'Burn Your Fire For No Witness'

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Angel Olsen's new album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, comes out Feb. 18. i i

Angel Olsen's new album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, comes out Feb. 18. Zia Anger/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Zia Anger/Courtesy of the artist
Angel Olsen's new album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, comes out Feb. 18.

Angel Olsen's new album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, comes out Feb. 18.

Zia Anger/Courtesy of the artist

Angel Olsen has made an unforgettable and entrancing record. Burn Your Fire for No Witness is the musical equivalent of a deep, questioning stare from a lover, and what draws me to her voice is its peaceful, subtle touch. It has me leaning in to listen. Leonard Cohen does that, too, and it's a fine line to walk between pale and enchanting. These are delicate songs, with lyrics stripped to their essence. "White Fire," the song that has the title of the album buried deep within, dispenses one killer line after another, including this:

I heard my mother thinking me right back into my birth
I laughed so loud inside myself it all began to hurt

John Congleton produced Burn Your Fire for No Witness, a record full of songs that took shape in Asheville, N.C., last summer. Olsen is working with a new band, including Josh Jaeger on drums and bass player Stewart Bronaugh. With Congleton's help, the trio found ways to make these songs calm and combustible. I've been living with this music for a few months, and it's become my friend, my comfort; it shakes me, saddens me and lifts me.

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Burn Your Fire For No Witness

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Album
Burn Your Fire For No Witness
Artist
Angel Olsen
Released
2014

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First Listen