Angel Olsen turns 30 in January. The American singer-songwriter and guitarist put out My Woman this year and what a revelation! Practising for my Big Year, that album-a-day obsession, has been tough, but this is the reward, disappearing into the deep musicality of this younger woman’s torchy, reverberating, serious, tuneful indie rock. What beauty! What profundity! How catchy! We can soar!
Let me point out one aspect of Angel Olsen that is, for me, crucial. She is in her 20s! She’s not in her mid 50s (a great gig from Mancunians James in November), late 50s (that brilliant Robert Forster album or the umpteenth sporadic brilliance of Robert Pollard or Nick Cave’s sublime Skeleton Tree), 40s (Okkervil River), late 30s (Band of Horses), mid 30s (Conor Oberst’s magical latest) or 30s (Eluvium’s majestic take on electronica).
You get the picture? I’m celebrating the fact that one of this year’s best listening experiences comes from an artist who is in her late 20s! When I was young, any singer or group aged over 23 was immediately a no-no. We knew that music, fresh vital music, came from the boldness of youth. Why don’t I listen to teenagers?
One answer to that puzzling question: I don’t know any young bands or singers or musicians. My sources – the music press, key websites, newspaper reviews – live just as much in the past as I do.
Well, sod that! Anyone out there who knows a vibrant young band, holler!