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BIG THIEF

Big Thief

Two Hands

    Big Thief had only just finished work on their 3rd album, U.F.O.F. – “the celestial twin” – days before in a cabin studio in the woods of Washington State. Now it was time to birth U.F.O.F.’s sister album – “the earth twin” – Two Hands. 30 miles west of El Paso, surrounded by 3,000 acres of pecan orchards and only a stone’s throw from the Mexican border, Big Thief (a.k.a. Adrianne Lenker, Buck Meek, Max Oleartchik, and James Krivchenia) set up their instruments as close together as possible to capture their most important collection of songs yet. Where U.F.O.F. layered mysterious sounds and effects for levitation, Two Hands grounds itself on dried-out, cracked desert dirt.

    In sharp contrast to the wet environment of the U.F.O.F. session, the southwestern Sonic Ranch studio was chosen for its vast desert location. The 105-degree weather boiled away any clinging memories of the green trees and wet air of the previous session. Two Hands had to be completely different— an album about the Earth and the bones beneath it. The songs were recorded live with almost no overdubs. All but two songs feature entirely live vocal takes, leaving Adrianne’s voice suspended above the mix in dry air, raw and vulnerable as ever. With raw power and intimacy, Two Hands folds itself gracefully into Big Thief’s impressive discography. This body of work grows deeper and more inspiring with each new album.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: It's October, and this is already the second Big Thief album this year. It would be understandable to think that such prolific creation would dilute the end product a little (it often does...) but in the case of Lenker, Meek and co, it couldn't be further from the truth. Arresting, heartfelt and beautiful throughout. Yet another stunning outing from the unstoppable Big Thief.

    U.F.O.F., F standing for ‘Friend’, is the name of the highly anticipated third record by Big Thief, set to be released by 4AD on May. It was recorded in rural western Washington at Bear Creek Studios with engineer Dom Monks, and producer Andrew Sarlo who was also behind their previous albums.

    The New York-based band, featuring Adrianne Lenker (guitar, vocals), Buck Meek (guitar), Max Oleartchik (bass), and James Krivchenia (drums), has spent the last 4 years on an incessant world tour, winning the devotion of an enthusiastic and rapidly expanding audience.

    Their songs represent an emotional bravery and realness that weaves intimate relationships with the listener, a phenomenon that has made them one of the most widely-respected bands of the current era.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Big Thief are one of our favourites in Piccadilly, and this latest iteration of their sound really shows why. Skilfully toeing the line between mournful acoustic balladry, simmering country and more upbeat melodic indie, Big Thief have once again brought us an eminently listenable and transportative triumph.

    The trails that Brooklyn’s Big Thief -- Adrianne Lenker (guitar, vocals), Buck Meek (guitar), Max Oleartchik (bass), and James Krivchenia (drums) -- take us down on Capacity, the band’s highly anticipated second record out 6/9 on Saddle Creek, are overgrown with the wilderness of pumping souls. After last year’s stunning Masterpiece, Capacity was recorded in a snowy winter nest in upstate New York at Outlier Studio with producer Andrew Sarlo. The album jumps right into lives marked up and nipped in surprisingly swift fashion. They are peopled and unpeopled, spooked and soothed, regenerating back into a state where they can once again be vulnerable. Lenker’s songs introduce us to a gallery of multifacted women and deal with the complicated matters of identity — at once dangerous and curious, though never unbelievable. Lenker shows us the gentle side of being ripped open. Tricked into love, done in and then witnessing the second act of pulling oneself back together to prepare for it to all happen again, but this time to a sturdier soul, one who is going to take the punches better than ever before and deal some jabs and roundhouses of their own. The album is thick with raw, un-doctored beauty: most of the songs on Capacity were played for the first time in the studio and were recorded the same day. “There is a darker darkness and a lighter light on this album,” Lenker explains. “The songs search for a deeper level of self-acceptance, to embrace the world within and without. I think Masterpiece began that process, as a reaction from inside the pain, whereas I feel Capacity examines the pain from the outside.”

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Laura says: Following on from their aptly titled debut "Masterpiece", this Brooklyn four piece once again bring us a stunning collection of heartfelt songs. It's a beautiful album, at times sounding quite stripped back, with gently strummed guitars over crisp drum patterns, but it's the gentle intensity of Adrianne's vocals that really sets it apart.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Big Thief's music, rooted in the songs of Adrianne Lenker, paints in vivid tones "the process of harnessing pain, loss, and love, while simultaneously letting go, looking into your own eyes through someone else's, and being okay with the inevitability of death," says Adrianne.

    Masterpiece, Big Thief's debut album, is filled with characters and visceral narratives, songs that pivot in the space of a few words. Adrianne's voice and guitar playing speak of rich emotional territory with grace and insight. In her words, the record tracks "the masterpiece of existence, which is always folding into itself, people attempting to connect, to both shake themselves awake and to shake o¬ the numbness of certain points in their life. The interpretations might be impressionistic or surrealistic, but they're grounded in simple things.”

    Adrianne met her longtime musical partner, guitarist and singer, Buck Meek, in Brooklyn a few years ago, and they quickly formed a creative bond tempered by the experience of traveling and performing for months on end in old dive bars, yards, barns, and basements together. They recorded a pair of duo albums (A-Sides and B-Sides), and Adrianne showcased her songs on a solo album, Hours Were The Birds.

    Now, as a full rock and roll band, with Buck on guitar, Max Oleartchik on bass, and James Krivchenia on drums, they bring a steady wildness, giving the songs an even deeper layer of nostalgia. "These guys feel like a pack of wolves at my back," says Adrianne, "they make the songs howl and bark with a fierce tenderness that gives me courage."
    After spending last July in an old house that they turned into a studio on Lake Champlain with producer Andrew Sarlo, the resulting collection soars on what Big Thief fan Sharon Van Etten calls "...a real journey, with intelligent stories and twist-and-turn melodies.



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