Salami Rose Joe Louis: “This year I felt really emboldened to get to play and explore.” (12/12 at WCL)

You may have seen singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Salami Rose Joe Louis opening for Alice Phoebe Lou at Johnny Brenda’s in 2021, or supporting The Comet Is Coming at...

You may have seen singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Salami Rose Joe Louis opening for Alice Phoebe Lou at Johnny Brenda’s in 2021, or supporting The Comet Is Coming at Underground Arts last year, but the former climate scientist, formally known as Lindsay Olsen, recently relocated to our neck of the woods, after establishing herself in Oakland’s music and arts scene.  “I just moved to Philly, but I did live [in Oakland] for a long time.  It was a very warm community of musicians who are very supportive of each other.  There’s a collective called SMARTBOMB, and it felt like you could really experiment in venues that really let you freak out and do some weird shit, but since the tech industry moved in, it’s become impossible to find affordable housing,” she explains of her move to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection during a recent phone chat.  However, she tells me that the city certainly isn’t new to her: “My sister lives here and I have a lot of family here…  I basically put my stuff in storage a bunch of years ago, and would just tour and then stay here with my sister.”

Fortunately, Olsen found a local studio space that she’s very happy with and, next Tuesday, December 12th, she will be playing her first show in the 215 since her move.  She’ll be headlining The Lounge at World Café Live with support from friends and family (literally) Mavis the Dog and Flanafi.  The show will also be the first area appearance for Salami Rose Joe Louis since the release of her latest full-length, Akousmatikous, which dropped this May.  The album is the narrative sequel to 2019 LP Zdenka 2080, which presents a dystopian Earth, ravaged by the politics of capitalism.

Akousmatikous revolves around a dimensional collapse that transforms the heads and hands of humans into screens, ultimately trapping them in a feedback loop brought upon by an interdimensional being who wants nature to reclaim Earth.  However, a former lover (and album’s namesake), from a distant planet, comes to Earth to discuss his plans with him, in hopes of not eternally imprisoning humans amidst his quest to liberate the plants.  You can read about it in detail here.

Salami Rose Joe Louis – whose music has been characterized as embodying elements of jazz, hip-hop, R&B, and experimental pop — has been signed to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder since Zdenka 2080.  She’s also joined Flying Lotus on the Flamagra Tour, in addition to earning support slots on jaunts with The Cinematic Orchestra, Tune-Yards, and Toro y Moi, whose “Magazine” she featured on.

Despite all of these musical friends, in the past Olsen rarely collaborated with other musicians on her own work.  However, Akousmatikous features a number of collaborations, including Brijean and Soccer96 (featuring Danalogue and Betamax of The Comet Is Coming).  “This is the first project where I really tried to do a lot more collaborations, so it really took on a new life, because I normally record by myself,” she tells me.  She also admits that they all went really well: “It was such an incredible experience.  It really opened my mind…  I’m really shy, and I find it hard to express my ideas, because I’m really introverted.”

When I ask Lindsay about some recent highlights, she admits that these collabs were right up there: “Some of the collaborations have been like bucket list.”  However, she also says that putting together her new live show has been just as much of a highlight: “The live set has been really, really exciting.  It’s the first time I’ve worked with a band to come up with something for the live context that allows the songs to take on a new life.”

Of her upcoming show at World Café Live, Olsen tells me that it will definitely be different from her shows at Johnny Brenda’s and Underground Arts, where she was playing solo: “I feel very lucky that I get to play with some of my favorite musicians.  The songs take on a whole new life, and it took a lot of crafting and time…  A lot of beats I make are really robotic and weird, and getting to interpret that in a live setting is really cool.”

Considering how her recent(ish) Philthy shows at a “mini rock n’ roll ballroom” (JB’s) and a basement punk/metal venue (UA) might compare to her upcoming show in the city’s most noted listening room, I ask Lindsay if she has an ideal setting to play, and she tells me that, for her, configuration isn’t ultimately what matters: “To be honest, the most important thing is just how it sounds.”  But she does admit that the vibes matter, as well: “I love the feeling of a really cozy place, and ideally a space that’s all ages, a welcoming space.”

Discussing 2023 in general, Lindsay tells me that it’s been a big year for Salami Rose Joe Louis, and suggests that she’s been feeling more inspired than ever: “Playing with a live band has been really special, and I’m really grateful for that…  Music is a really special and sacred thing, but the industry can be hard…  This year I felt really emboldened to get to play and explore.”  And she tells me that there’s much more already in the works for 2024: “I’m so excited to record music.  There’s lots of albums in the works.  I’m chomping at the bit!”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.