WBEZ | Angel Olsen http://www.wbez.org/tags/angel-olsen Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Girl at Pitchfork: Day 1 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-07/girl-pitchfork-day-1-108124 <p><p><strong>Friday, July 19</strong>- I spent most of the first hot and humid day at Pitchfork by the Blue Stage, chugging bottled water and hoping that I&#39;d packed enough sunscreen to protect my delicate Irish skin from irreparable damage. Spoiler alert: I survived unscathed.</p><p>First up, <a href="http://www.missfrankierose.com" target="_blank">Frankie Rose</a>. The former member of Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts and Dum Dum Girls played many songs from her new solo album <i>Interstellar</i>, commanding the stage<i> </i>with a sweet, vivacious energy that instantly made me want to be her best friend. &quot;Hey, Pitchforkers!&quot; she shouted with glee, &quot;It sounds so dirty when I say that.&quot; Her set wasn&#39;t exceptional, but her personality sure was.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" height="411" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/20130719_0135.JPG" title="Trash Talk singer Lee Spielman (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" width="618" /></div><p>The hardcore revivalist band <a href="http://www.trashtalkhc.com" target="_blank">Trash Talk</a> came next, setting fire to what had previously been a more sleepy and subdued 4 p.m. crowd. Lead vocalist Lee Spielman incited a mosh by the second song; and by the third, he was crowdsurfing. Like a game of Simon Says (minus the trickery), Spielman commanded the audience to shake their fists in the air, &quot;sit the [bleep] down&quot; and rise up again at lightning speed. The only point of contention came when Spielman asked, &quot;Are you excited for R.Kelly?&quot; and heard some boos among the cheers. &quot;Why the [bleep] not?&quot; he wondered aloud. Oy vey.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" height="413" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/20130719_0207.JPG" title="Angel Olsen (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" width="620" /></div><p>Chicago folk singer/songwriter <a href="http://angelolsen.com" target="_blank">Angel Olsen</a> took the stage 15 minutes later; and in stark contrast to the heavy metal thrashing of Trash Talk, Olsen&#39;s lovely voice alone was enough to keep fans hanging on her every note. Still, I kept wishing for a more intimate setting, and wondering whether her quietly haunting music would be better suited for a smaller venue. Then I looked to the front row and saw a queue of men with their eyes gazed adoringly up at her, mouthing the words to every song. And I must admit, Olsen&#39;s celestial composure while warbling the repeated line &quot;I don&#39;t need my body/I&#39;m floating away&quot; made my knees go weak too.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" height="413" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/20130719_0326.JPG" title="Mikal Cronin (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" width="620" /></div><p><a href="http://mikalcronin.bandcamp.com" target="_blank">Mikal Cronin</a>&nbsp;had been wandering around the VIP area for most of the day, cute as a button and impossible to miss in his signature tie-dye shirt. But when he appeared on the Blue Stage around 6:15, the energy of the mostly 20-something crowd immediately jolted up a notch. Flanked by two other long-haired guitarists and backed by former Ty Segall Band-mate Emily Rose Epstein on drums, Cronin brought a tidal wive of California cool to Chicago with songs from his new solo album <em>MCII</em>. &quot;Shout It Out&quot; was the biggest crowd pleaser, as even the decidedly less drunk Pitchforkians couldn&#39;t resist jumping up and down with pure, unbridled joy.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/20130719_0680.JPG" style="float: left; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="Joanna Newsom (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" />I sacrificed the majority of Wire&#39;s set for Cronin, but I was able to catch some of <a href="http://www.dragcity.com/artists/joanna-newsom" target="_blank">Joanna Newsom</a>&#39;s ethereal melodies at&nbsp;the Red Stage about a half hour later. After some unabashedly hipster Chicago Diner-eating and Chirp Record Fair-shopping, I felt well prepared for the harp strumming and bird-like trilling that have become Newsom&#39;s undeniably precious indie trademark.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>Newsom did not appear to be everybody&#39;s cup of tea, as most people remained camped out at the Green Stage waiting for <a href="http://www.bjork.com" target="_blank">Björk</a>, and didn&#39;t pay much attention to the ponytailed songbird across the way. Still, despite the general lack of enthusiasm from my fellow concertgoers, I very much enjoyed her trickle of angelic calm before the storm.</p><p>And storm it did, cutting Björk&#39;s performance short and sending me home drenched as a result. However, the experience of seeing one of the weirdest and most beautiful acts in modern music was 100 percent worth it.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" height="414" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/20130719_0729.JPG" title="Björk (WBEZ/Andrew Gill)" width="620" /></div><p>Wearing a headdress that made her look like a cross between a lion and a spiky sea urchin, the iconic Icelandic performer veered from adorable to unnerving in her delivery of the alien-inspired &quot;Moon,&quot; &quot;Cosmogony&quot; and &quot;Army of Me.&quot; Buoyed by a sea of throbbing ambient noise, her voice echoed out into the night like a siren&#39;s song, lingering long after the lightning strikes and eventual downpour closed out Day One.</p><p><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer for WBEZ and co-host of&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D2" target="_blank">Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. Follow her on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px; font-size: 12px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue'; color: rgb(69, 69, 69); ">&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 20 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-07/girl-pitchfork-day-1-108124 Female artists shaking up Chicago's music scene http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/female-artists-shaking-chicagos-music-scene-107738 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" music="" queen="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/433343980_640.jpg" style="height: 302px; width: 600px; " sweet="" title="A still from Bone &amp; Bell's &quot;Sweet Queen Regina&quot; music video. (Vimeo/RooftopSessionsChicago)" video="" vimeo="" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Good news, Chicago music fans: the ladies are killing it.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><a href="http://boxxmagazine.com" target="_blank">Boxx Magazine</a>, a new Chicago-based publication that aims to balance gender inequality in media and give female artists the coverage they deserve, has observed a significant upswing in women making music.</p><p>&quot;There is a definite increase in the number of female artists&mdash;I&#39;d say even more so in the more alternative, heavier or underground genres where there is an increase in female attendance at shows as well,&quot; said Jordan Young, publisher and co-founder of Boxx.</p><p>Many of the year&#39;s breakout stars have been women producing their own heart-stoppingly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.stereogum.com/1356872/stereogums-top-25-albums-of-2013-so-far/top-stories/lead-story/" target="_blank">transcendent work </a>(like&nbsp;<em>Silence Yourself,</em>&nbsp;the explosive debut from British punk rock band Savages), and the women of Chicago are no exception.</p><p>So, in no particular order, here are my top Chicago music acts with some serious girl power:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/girlgroupchicago.blogspot.com_.jpg" style="height: 333px; width: 500px; " title="Girl Group Chicago. (girlgroupchicago.blogspot.com)" /></div><p><strong>Girl Group Chicago</strong></p><p>Looking for a mix of&nbsp;1960s girl group, bubblegum, soul and garagey goodness?&nbsp;Led by founder and lead vocalist Shana East, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/girlgroupchicago" target="_blank">Girl Group</a> consists of 20 talented women from different local projects (Bare Mutants, Mucca Pazza and Hollows to name a few) who have combined their love of &#39;60s girl groups like The Shangri-Las and their passion for fashion into an electrifying stage experience. Their &quot;wall of sound&quot; includes a five-piece horn section, a trio of strings and lush backup vocals to supplement those perfectly retro A-line dresses and riot grrrl rock band guitars.&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s next?</em>&nbsp;Opening for Neko Case, Young the Giant and Mavis Staples at the <a href="http://www.hideoutchicago.com/event/272643-hideout-block-party-v-fest-chicago/" target="_blank">Hideout Block Party &amp; AV Fest</a>&nbsp;Sept. 6-7.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/glaslux.net_.jpg" style="height: 404px; width: 500px; " title="Glass Lux. (GlassLux.net)" /></div><p><strong>Emily Morse (of Glass Lux)</strong></p><p>As one half of the Euro-pop duo <a href="http://www.glasslux.net" target="_blank">Glass Lux</a>&nbsp;(her partner is local producer/DJ Alfanso Mayen), Morse sings with a voice that haunts, soothes and excites in equal measure. Over Mayen&#39;s synth beats and pulsing electronica, she fits the &quot;Itala disco&quot; bill to a tee: beautiful, mysterious and endlessly unique.&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s next?&nbsp;</em>A roller-rink <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Glasslux" target="_blank">music video</a> for the song &quot;Disco Light.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/angelolsen.com_.jpg" style="height: 281px; width: 500px; " title="Angel Olsen. (AngelOlsen.com)" /></div><p><strong>Angel Olsen</strong></p><p>Olsen is a gifted <a href="http://angelolsen.com" target="_blank">psych folk songstress</a>&nbsp;who has been on the scene for a while, garnering heaps of critical praise for her second album (<em>Half Way Home</em>, released in September 2012) and signing with major indie label JagJaguwar. Still, the Chicago-based singer/songwriter hasn&#39;t forgotten her roots.&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s next?&nbsp;</em>Performing at the <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com" target="_blank">Pitchfork Music Festival</a>&nbsp;in Union Park&nbsp;on July 19.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/officialtink.com_.jpg" style="width: 500px; " title="Tink. (OfficialTink.com)" /></div><p><strong>Tink</strong></p><p>Chicago has catapulted several male rappers into the national spotlight (Kanye, Lupe, Common, etc.) and now it&#39;s the women&#39;s turn to shine. One of the most impressive female rappers to emerge this year is <a href="http://www.officialtink.com" target="_blank">Tink</a>, an 18-year-old powerhouse from Calumet City who is taking her R&amp;B mixtape songs and bubbly personality all the way to superstardom.&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s next?</em>&nbsp;A show in <a href="http://www.goglobalconcerts.com" target="_blank">Budapest, Hungary</a> (with Kid Ink and Mikkey Halsted) on July 25.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mygoldmask.com_.jpg" style="height: 496px; width: 500px; " title="My Gold Mask. (MyGoldMask.com)" /></div><p><strong>Gretta Rochelle (of My Gold Mask)</strong></p><p>As the female vocalist and drummer of goth-pop outfit&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mygoldmask.com" target="_blank">My Gold Mask</a> (Jack Armando provides male vocals and guitar, while James Andrew backs them up with electronic drums and keyboard), Rochelle is a lightning rod of art-nouveau magic. Her voice is spooky and versatile, and her ever-hypnotic onstage presence never fails to elevate Gold Mask&#39;s futuristic-gypsy &quot;music in the dark&quot; to new heights.&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s next: </em>The&nbsp;<a href="http://majesticdetroit.com/magic-stick-detroit/" target="_blank">Magic Stick Lounge</a> in Detroit on July 20 and the Hideout on June 21.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/manicstatic.blogspot.com_.jpg" style="height: 500px; width: 500px; " title="The Funs. (manicstatic.blogspot.com)" /></div><p><strong>Jessee Rose Crane (of The Funs)</strong></p><p>For a rambunctious yet expertly-controlled party of fuzzy punk and trash-pop, <a href="http://manicstatic.blogspot.com" target="_blank">The Funs</a> may be the band to beat. Crane is the perfect complement to partner Philip Jerome Plesicko; in fact, they switch roles on guitar and drums so effortlessly that they could the same person. That&#39;s what is so mesmerizing about Crane: her gender doesn&#39;t define her music or her onstage persona. She just rocks.</p><p><i>What&#39;s next:&nbsp;</i>A&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Funs/177221262302777" target="_blank">summer tour</a>&nbsp;and a show at the Empty Bottle on July 17.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Other awesome Chicago ladies worth a listen</strong>: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/BoneandBell" target="_blank">Heather Smith</a> of Bone &amp; Bell,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/PandaRiotBand?fref=ts" target="_blank">Rebecca Scott</a> of Panda Riot,&nbsp;LStreetz, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/blizzardbabies" target="_blank">Blizzard Babies</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/jennhallmusic" target="_blank">Jennifer Hall,</a> <a href="https://www.facebook.com/videotapenoise?fref=ts" target="_blank">Sophie Leigh</a> of Videotape, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/summergirlfriends?fref=ts" target="_blank">Summer Girlfriends</a>, and of course, the legendary <a href="http://www.patriciabarber.com/gigs/" target="_blank">Patricia Barber</a>.</p><p>Who else would you add to this list? Chicago is bursting at the seams with female music talent, and I want to hear them! Sound off in the comments below.</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 18 Jun 2013 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/female-artists-shaking-chicagos-music-scene-107738