Music News

Angel Olsen's Beautiful Folk Music Probably Won't Show Up in Car Commercials

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Luckily, Olsen says that word of mouth has done its part. It helps that Olsen lists time backing Bonnie Prince Billy on her résumé, and that her records sink deep hooks in listeners. Her debut, Strange Cacti, ensnares; Half Way Home plants itself deep in the creepiest corners of your brain, where Karen Dalton and Roy Orbison play cards and trade drinks. It's an easy record to recommend to a friend, at least the right kind of friend.

"It's cool when things happen that way, instead of it being this thing were someone's like, 'Oh yeah, I heard that song on three sitcoms and a car commercial,'" Olsen says of natural "got it from a friend" marketing.

"I understand that part of it, too, but it's cool when things happen that way, more organically. I don't know what the future of my music is, but I hope I don't have to put it in a car commercial or something," she laughs.

It's hard to imagine a self-respecting car company who'd have her. Though her music is undeniably beautiful, Olsen knows her way around a menacing vibe. It's hard to imagine a Lexus or Volkswagen commercial featuring her spectral voice, though her latest single, the surging "Sweet Dreams" might work in one of those '50s public service films films about the dangers of driving high or taking the curves of a moonlit coastal freeway too fast. "Sleep tight," she howls over distorted guitars.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.