Hey! Manchester promotes gigs by folk, Americana and experimental bands from around the world in Manchester, England. Read more here, see below for our latest shows, check out our previous shows, contact us, or join our mailing list, above.

Upcoming shows: The Burning Hell... Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton... The Rural Alberta Advantage... Half Waif... Andy Shauf... Elisa... The Handsome Family... Man & The Echo... Meilyr Jones... Mark Eitzel... Hurray for the Riff Raff... Haley Bonar... Jens Lekman... The Unthanks... Skinny Lister... Lowly... Jenn Grant... Angel Olsen...

When: 7.30pm on Friday 14 October 2016
Where: Club Academy, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PR

PLEASE NOTE: This show is completely sold out! Join the mailing list (above) for information about future Angel Olsen and Little Wings shows.

We’re delighted to be promoting Angel Olsen’s biggest Manchester show to date!

Angel-Olsen-Club-Academy-Manchester

Anyone reckless enough to have typecast Angel Olsen according to 2013’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness is in for a sizeable surprise with her third album, My Woman. The crunchier, blown-out production of the former is gone, but that fire is now burning wilder. Her disarming, timeless voice is even more front-and-centre than before, and the overall production is lighter. Yet the strange, raw power and slowly unspooling incantations of her previous efforts remain, so anyone who might attempt to pigeonhole Olsen as either an elliptical outsider or a pop personality is going to be wrong whichever way they choose – Olsen continues to reign over the land between the two with a haunting obliqueness and sophisticated grace.

Given its title, and track names like ‘Sister’ and ‘Woman’, it would be easy to read a gender-specific message into My Woman, but Olsen has never played her lyrical content straight. She explains: “I’m definitely using scenes that I’ve replayed in my head, in the same way that I might write a script and manipulate a memory to get it to fit. But I think it’s important that people can interpret things the way that they want to.”

That said, Olsen concedes that if she could locate any theme, whether in the funny, synth-laden ‘Intern’ or the sadder songs which are collected on the record’s latter half, “then it’s maybe the complicated mess of being a woman and wanting to stand up for yourself, while also knowing that there are things you are expected to ignore, almost, for the sake of loving a man. I’m not trying to make a feminist statement with every single record, just because I’m a woman. But I do feel like there are some themes that relate to that, without it being the complete picture.”

Over her two previous albums, she’s given us reverb-shrouded poetic swoons, shadowy folk, grunge-pop band workouts and haunting, finger-picked epics. My Woman is an exhilarating complement to her past work, and one for which Olsen recalibrated her writing/recording approach and methods to enter a new music-making phase. She wrote some songs on the piano she’d bought at the end of the previous album tour, but she later switched it out for synth and/or Mellotron on a few of them, such as the aforementioned ‘Intern’.

My Woman is put together as a proper A-side and a B-side, featuring the punchier, more pop/rock-oriented songs up front, and the longer, more reflective tracks towards the end. The rollicking ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’, for example, appears early on – its nervy grunge quality belying a subtle desperation, as befits any song about the exhaustion point of an impassioned argument. Another crowning moment comes in the form of the melancholic and Velvets-esque ‘Heart-shaped Face’, while the compelling ‘Sister’ and ‘Woman’ are the only songs not sung live. They also both run well over the seven-minute mark: the first being a triumph of reverb-splashed, ’70s country rock, cast along Fleetwood Mac lines with a Neil Young caged-tiger guitar solo to cap it off. The latter is a wonderful essay in vintage electronic pop and languid, psychedelic soul.

Because her new songs demanded a plurality of voices, Olsen sings in a much broader range of styles on the album, and she brought in guest guitarist Seth Kauffman to augment her regular band of bass player Emily Elhaj, drummer Joshua Jaeger and guitarist Stewart Bronaugh. As for a producer, Olsen took to Justin Raisen, who’s known for his work with Charli XCX, Sky Ferreira and Santigold, as well as opting to record live to tape at LA’s historic Vox Studios.

As the record evolves, you get the sense that the “My Woman” of the title is Olsen herself – absolutely in command, but also willing to bend with the influence of collaborators and circumstances. If ever there was any pressure in the recording process, it’s totally undetectable in the result. An intuitively smart, warmly communicative and fearlessly generous record, My Woman speaks to everyone. That it might confound expectation is just another of its strengths.

Tour support comes from Little Wings. Kyle Field, professionally known as Little Wings, is a living legend. He is the modern embodiment of the traveling bard and the singing troubadour. Kyle’s discography is vast and impressive, full of tunes that are plucked from the lexicon of great American songwriting. On his latest effort, Explains, he crafts melodies so haunting and familiar; it’s as if he’s not composing them at all. He is tapping into something greater, acting as a vessel for the collective unconscious that is folk music.

This is an album that is immediately accessible and also unfolds slowly, revealing greater depth with each listen. Kyle’s lyrics are direct yet poetic, funny yet sad. Explains is a fantastic record that celebrates the enduring spirit of a great artist. Its release on Woodsist is all too fitting – a label whose very foundation seems based on lasting creative integrity.

PLEASE NOTE: This show is completely sold out! Join the mailing list (above) for information about future Angel Olsen and Little Wings shows.

Attend on: Facebook



All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.

Read our monthly gig guides on Creativetourist.com.