By Kathryn Pinto
Beginning the new year with a quiet intensity, Angel Olsen plays an early show tonight at the Bootleg Bar, LA's dark and brooding Matt Kivel opens. Olsen propels thoughtful songwriting with a flexible soulful voice, suedelike and deeply textured like vine charcoal rubbed on newsprint. "Where is my harmony?/Where is my friend?" Olsen asks in "Tiniest Seed" each line aching with longing and restraint. Touring in support of her second album Halfway Home, released in September on Bathetic records, Olsen is in a league with artists like Sharon Van Etten and Kathleen Edwards, as well as Bonnie "Prince" Billy who she has joined on tour.
Tonight's show is a chance to see an very talented performer in a small room. As Ben Ratliff noted in the New York Times "Ms. Olsen has found her sound — her voice, alone and untreated and slow, conjoined with the specific resonance of her guitar — and she’s able to replicate a private discovery in front of a crowd. That’s a lot." The Bootleg is a very warm-sounding room; there are times when there is a closeness between the artist and audience that feels like room magic. There is little doubt that this evening's show will be one of those nights.