Olivia Jean’s new album Raving Ghost is populated by mysterious characters in various states of danger: cursed lovers, doomed souls, and women deliriously haunted by unseen forces.
Over the course of its 12 spellbinding tracks, the Detroit-born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, Olivia Jean, amplifies that drama with her wildly melodic take on garage rock, handling each riff with the power and precision she’s previously shown as a member of the Black Belles, and as an in-demand session and touring musician who’s played with legends like Wanda Jackson. A stunning evolution of the retro-surf sound of her past solo work, Raving Ghost ultimately makes for the most magnificently heavy and mesmerizing output yet from this endlessly fascinating artist.
Featuring backing from top musicians such as My Morning Jacket keyboardist Bo Koster, Jellyfish co-founder Roger Joseph Manning Jr, and drummers Carla Azar (T-Bone Burnett, Nikki Lane) and Patrick Keeler (The Raconteurs, The Afghan Whigs), songs such as the serpentine title track and a frenetic cover of Enya’s classic “Orinoco Flow” stand tall as a feverish collision of goth-punk, power-pop, and classic garage, charged with an energy so intense that the speakers to several of Valentine Recording Studios’ vintage amps ended up blowing out during the sessions.
Growing up on the outskirts of Detroit, Olivia Jean found her first musical love in 1960s instrumental surf bands and the outrageous art pop of the B-52's. Taking up guitar at an early age, she soon became enamored by Detroit’s thriving garage rock scene, drawing inspiration from its unique rawness. As a teenager, Olivia began recording her own original instrumental surf music, often skipping school to do so. After years of self-recording, she put together a demo and handed out copies at a Detroit show by the Dead Weather – a move that soon led to the co-founding of the Black Belles and the band’s signing to Third Man Records. Olivia Jean followed the release of the Black Belles’ 2011 debut album with her own first full-length, 2014’s Bathtub Love Killings, returning in 2019 with her self-produced sophomore effort, Night Owl.
“Ever since I was a kid, writing songs and playing guitar has been an addiction that nothing else can touch,” Olivia Jean says. “My guitar is an appendage. I could never put my guitar down even if I tried.”