Angel Olsen: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

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The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It’s the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Angel Olsen plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert.
Angel Olsen plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert.

Angel Olsen is sitting on the porch of her new Asheville, N.C., home singing “Whole New Mess.” She wrote it long before she bought this house. The song is actually about addictions, defining her “home” amidst a life of touring that kept her on the road for large chunks of time. Much like this Tiny Desk performance, the original recording is just her stunning voice and guitar (minus the birds and the trees), recorded in a church-turned-studio a few years ago.

Angel Olsen also plays “Iota,” a song that wishes “that all the world could see something for what it is at the same time.” I’ve always thought of this as a hopeful song, and hearing it a half-dozen years after its release, the hope feels beyond her reach; nevertheless, for the handful of minutes she’s singing, I feel comforted. Angel leaves us with “Waving, Smiling,” a farewell song. She says goodbye to the sounds around her, the birds, the chainsaws, and leaves us with a theme of acceptance, bittersweet but without regret.


  • “Whole New Mess”
  • “Iota”
  • “What It Is (What It Is)”
  • “Waving, Smiling”


  • Angel Olsen: guitar, vocals


  • Video By: Josh Sliffe
  • Audio By: Adam McDaniel for Drop of Sun Studios
  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Video Producer: Morgan Noelle Smith
  • Audio Mastering Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
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