Blood Harmonies on the Breeze: Tracing Angel Olsen’s Roots

Angel Olsen’s approach to rock—a little bit of folk, a little bit of fuzz, a whole lot of white-knuckle honesty—has made her one of its most exciting artists. But while the North Carolina-based crooner’s been at the vanguard of the indie since she first struck out on her own, the records that helped create her sound are the sorts of dusty albums that populate crate-diggers’ dreams. Her headiest songs are influenced by what she calls “blood harmonies,” those chords that can only come from groups of vocalists who are somehow related, like The Everly Brothers, while her matter-of-fact poetry derives its influences from soul titans like Donny Hathaway and American bards like Bob Dylan.