Monday Mixtape


Hello again people, this week we have another change of tempo for you.

One of the greatest musical discoveries I have made in the last few years is Angel Olsen. The Chicago based singer-songwriter has captivated my attention unlike any other songwriter or performer for quite sometime. Her music is, in many ways, simple and not particularly innovative. Traces of influence from folk/country singer Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, who she cut her touring and recording teeth with for his Wolfroy Goes To Town album, are evident and brush strokes of the 1960s San Francisco music scene are clear. But the music she creates, within the parameters of the genre she operates in, is so perfectly crafted any criticism seems minor. What is most appealing about Angel Olsen, though, is her mesmerising voice. She creates a sense of intimacy and directness that makes it is easy to imagine she is a close friend of yours, whilst her voice is so beautiful you just want to get lost in the sounds she creates. This week’s mix tape takes Angel as a starting point and is accompanied by some of the female sing-songwriters over the last few years who, like Angel, have kept me coming back again and again. (listen here)

1)    Angel Olsen – The Waiting

The second track on her beautiful debut album, Half Way Home, ‘The Waiting’ is a testament to what simplicity and intelligence can achieve for songwriting. With only three chords, limited instrumentation, great lyrics and her voice, she crafted a gorgeous track.

2)    Jessica Pratt – Night Face

Like Angel, traces of the 60s San Francisco can be heard all over Jessica Pratt’s sound. Her self-titled debut album summons a nocturnal atmosphere perfect for late night with a glass of wine listening.

3)    Julia Holter – Horns Surrounding Me

Loud City Song, Holter’s third album, is one of this years stand out records. Her dreamy, breathless vocals glide over her sumptuously produced and arranged songs.

4)    Cat Power – Ruin

A veteran songwriter now, Chan Marshall, a.k.a. Cat Power, has few peers. The lead single off her latest album Sun, ‘Ruin’ is lyrically righteous and angry, and musically it is a step away from the stripped down melancholic sound she honed throughout the 90s.

5)    Fiona Apple – Hot Knife

Fiona Apple’s return last year was more than welcome. Idiosyncratic, playful and incredible, the only fault there of Apple is her sporadic output. But, then, every new Apple record is more than worth the wait.

6)    Marnie Stern – The Chronicles of Marnia

Something a little different, Marnie Stern kicks out the jams better than most guitar based artists around today. Her now trademark finger-taping guitar style is used to brilliant effect; the childlike innocents of her voice and lyrics on this track are joyful to listen to.

7)    Sharon Van Etten – Give Out

Unlike the others on this mix tape, Sharon Van Etten was a grower for me, but once I had given in to her I couldn’t stop listening. A songwriter to watch, with each new album Etten is maturing her style and sound, and ‘Give Out’ is her standout track so far.

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