Angel Olsen began performing in St. Louis coffee shops in her teenage years, eventually branching out and tapping into a network of like-minded artists. Olsen worked with California musician Emmett Kelly as part of his collective the Cairo Gang, singing harmonies on Bonnie "Prince" Billy's 2010 album The Wonder Show of the World, as well as its 2011 follow-up, Wolfroy Goes to Town. In 2010, Olsen released Strange Cacti, a cassette of original Americana songs that was later reissued as a 12", both with Bathetic Records. Half Way Home, a spare album with understated arrangements and a homespun approach somewhere between '50s country crooners and her indie contemporaries, was issued with the same label in 2012.
Olsen added drummer Josh Jaeger and bassist Stewart Bronaugh to flesh out her stripped-back sound, which added a brooding, garage rock appeal to her intimate music. Soon after forming the trio, Olsen returned to the studio with producer John Congleton to track sessions for her third album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, which saw release in early 2014 via Jagjaguwar. The record was critically well-received and marked Olsen's debut on the Billboard 200.
My Woman, touring as a six-piece to support its release. Jagjaguwar followed it in 2017 with Phases, a compilation of Olsen rarities such as early demos and unreleased material from the My Woman sessions.