Get local news delivered straight to your phone
Support City Paper!
“Are you lonely, too? High five! So am I,” Angel Olsen moans with disarming buoyancy on the crunchy, galloping “Hi-Five,” but she’s doing more than just leavening a downer sentiment with irony and maximum forward thrust. By this point in the song, she’s already adapted a Hank Williams line—“I feel so lonesome I could cry,” sung in a pretty, distorted warble—connecting her dusty electric folk to an old tradition of lovelorn balladry. Pretty much all of Olsen’s new album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, is a musical high five, but the St. Louis artist isn’t just parroting Williams—or Lucinda Williams, for that matter, or Gram Parsons, or her occasional singing partner Will Oldham. Songs like “Forgiven/Forgotten” and “High & Wild” are ecstatic barnburners framing lyrics about dejection, disappointment, and isolation. “Stars” is a rusty cri de coeur that widens a personal struggle to universal scale: “I wish I had the voice of everything, to scream the animals, to scream the earth, to scream the stars out of our universe,” Olsen sings before a crash of thunder-clap percussion, guitar clang, and synthesized organ sends her sorrow sky-high. Soon she comes back down, taking us with her: “I’ll close my eyes so tightly for the world, till you could change my mind with just a smile.” Angel Olsen performs with Promised Land Sound at 8 p.m. at Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. $14. (202) 388-7625. rockandrollhoteldc.com.