Sweet Sirens of Melancholy Folk

Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten often sound one beat away from melting down.

Angel Olsen

Phases

Jagjaguwar 

Whether performing stark acoustic folk or giving her confessional songs a jolt of electricity, Angel Olsen always sounds like she’s one beat away from a complete meltdown. Intended to fill the gap between 2016’s triumphant My Woman and her next studio project, Phases is a collection of odds and ends that works surprisingly well as a coherent album. Compiling outtakes, demos and other ephemera, this riveting 12-track set includes a slow-burning, seven-minute “Special” that compares favorably with early Velvet Underground, and a compelling unplugged cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher Than the Rest.” Regardless of setting, the centerpiece is Olsen’s tense, commanding voice, which creates the uneasy sensation of spying on someone else’s crisis.

 

Sharon Van Etten

(it was) because i was in love

Vinyl Me Please/self-release

An expanded edition of Sharon Van Etten’s 2009 debut shows another way to bide time until the next new release. Retitled slightly and adding two more tracks from the same era, (it was) because i was in love conveys a sense of emotional devastation not far removed from Olsen’s, but in a sweeter, gentler fashion. Van Etten’s melancholy folk-pop has acquired more polish over the years, but the wounded soul on display in “Consolation Prize” and “Tornado” hasn’t changed substantially. Fans who discovered Van Etten recently through her striking performance on the rebooted “Twin Peaks” won’t be disappointed by this haunting archival gem.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate