Big Thief

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Big Thief
Big Thief performing onstage
Big Thief performing at Homecoming festival in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2018, from left to right: Buck Meek, James Krivchenia, and Adrianne Lenker (Max Oleartchik is obscured by Lenker)
Background information
OriginBrooklyn, New York, U.S.
GenresIndie rock, folk rock
Years active2015–present
Past membersJason Burger

Big Thief is an American indie rock band with folk roots based in Brooklyn, New York, United States. Its members are Adrianne Lenker (guitar, vocals), Buck Meek (guitar, backing vocals), Max Oleartchik (bass), and James Krivchenia (drums).[1] All four members of Big Thief attended the Berklee College of Music, but only formed a group after each had graduated.[2]

The band's first album, Masterpiece, was released on Saddle Creek Records on May 27, 2016.[3]

On April 4, 2017, Big Thief premiered a new single, "Mythological Beauty," on NPR.[4] The following day, the band released the single's official video and confirmed that the song would appear on their next LP, Capacity. The full album was released on June 9 via Saddle Creek.[5]

In 2019, Big Thief released two albums and several singles. In the lead up to their third album, U.F.O.F., the band released three singles, ''U.F.O.F", "Cattails", and "Century." The album was released on May 3, 2019. The band's fourth album, Two Hands, was later released on October 11, 2019. Its release was preceded by the singles "Not" and "Forgotten Eyes." Both albums received critical acclaim.


Masterpiece (2016)[edit]

The band's first album received generally favorable reviews from critics; it has a rating of 79/100 on Metacritic.[6] Bob Boilen wrote for NPR that Big Thief was "a band bound by great songs," and called the title track of Masterpiece "one of the best songs I've heard this year."[7] Jillian Mapes, writing for Pitchfork Media, gave Masterpiece a rating of 7.7 out of 10 and said that the songs on the album "sound cherry-picked over a lifetime of writing".[8] Robert Christgau described its songs as "Fragile, noisy images of a love perpetually out of reach".[9] Ben Salmon wrote in the Portland Mercury that on the album, Big Thief "alternately sounds like an unearthed field recording ("Little Arrow"), a pop band with a broken heart's pulse ("Vegas"), and a classic, buzzy indie-rock outfit ("Interstate")."[1]

Capacity (2017)[edit]

Capacity, the band's second album, received critical acclaim upon its release. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from music critics, the album received an average score of 81, indicating "universal acclaim", based on 15 reviews.[10]

Capacity appeared on multiple album-of-the-year lists, including #1 on NPR's "Bob Boilen's Top Ten Album's of 2017".[11] Boilen said, "I don't recall the last time I had the same band in my top five albums for two years in a row. But this year's Capacity (my No. 1 album) and last year's Masterpiece (my No. 4 album) did just that. SPIN named Capacity #2 on their "50 Best Albums of 2017",[12] citing the band's "open engagement with anguish in their bracing songs."

The song "Mary" appeared on Pitchfork's 200 Best Songs of the 2010s list, at #44.

U.F.O.F. (2019)[edit]

U.F.O.F., the band's third album, was announced on February 26, 2019. The album was recorded at Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, Washington. On the same day, they released the album's first single, its title track., "UFOF"[13][14] as well a new tour across America and Europe. The band released two more singles, "Cattails" and "Century" ahead of the album release on May 3, 2019. U.F.O.F. received critical acclaim upon its release. It received "Best New Music" by Pitchfork, scoring a 9.2,[15] and also came in at #33 on Pitchfork's 200 Best Albums of the 2010s list.[16] At Metacritic, the album received an average score of 87/100.[17] In the first album release week, U.F.O.F. reached the top of Billboard charts, including the #1 position on Alternative New Artist Albums, Americana/Folk Albums, Top New Artist Albums, #2 placement for LP Vinyl Albums, #6 placement for Current Alternative Albums, #8 placement for Current Rock Albums, and #142 for Billboard Top 200 Albums.[18] The band also had 3 sold out album release shows, one the night before the album release in LA at The Fonda Theatre on May 2, another in LA on May 3 at The Bootleg Theater,[19] and a third night in Brooklyn, NY at Elsewhere on May 5, 2019. U.F.O.F. was nominated for the Best Alternative Music Album for the 2020 Grammy Awards.[20]

Two Hands (2019)[edit]

Big Thief released their fourth album, Two Hands, on October 11, 2019. The album was recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas shortly after the recording of U.F.O.F. and is billed as its "Earth twin".[21][22]

Band members[edit]

Current members

  • Adrianne Lenker – vocals, guitar (2015–present)
  • Buck Meek – guitar, backing vocals (2015–present)
  • Max Oleartchik – bass guitar (2015–present)
  • James Krivchenia – drums (2016–present)

Former member

  • Jason Burger – drums (2015-2016)[23]



Title Details Peak chart positions



Masterpiece [A]
  • Released: June 9, 2017
  • Label: Saddle Creek
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
[B] 16
  • Released: May 3, 2019
  • Label: 4AD
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
142 8 26 81 80 21 68 41
Two Hands
  • Released: October 11, 2019
  • Label: 4AD
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
113 8 20 119 78 59 8 34
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released


  • "Dandelion" (Saddle Creek; 2016)
  • "Masterpiece" (Saddle Creek; 2016)
  • "Real Love" (Saddle Creek; 2016)
  • "Paul" (Saddle Creek; 2016)
  • "Mythological Beauty" (Saddle Creek; 2017)
  • "Shark Smile" (Saddle Creek; 2017)
  • "Haley" (Saddle Creek; 2017)
  • "U.F.O.F." (4AD; 2019)
  • "Cattails" (4AD; 2019)
  • "Century" (4AD; 2019)
  • "Not" (4AD; 2019)
  • "Forgotten Eyes" (4AD; 2019)
  • "Love in Mine" (4AD; 2020)

Music videos[edit]

  • "Masterpiece" (2016)
  • "Mythological Beauty" (2017)


  1. ^ Masterpiece did not enter the US Billboard 200, but peaked at number 10 on the US Heatseekers Albums Chart.[33]
  2. ^ Capacity did not enter the US Billboard 200, but peaked at number 9 on the US Heatseekers Albums Chart.[33]


Year Association Category Nominated Work Result Ref
2020 Grammy Awards Best Alternative Album U.F.O.F Nominated [34]
2021 Grammy Awards Best Rock Performance "Not" Pending [35]
Best Rock Song Pending


  1. ^ a b Salmon, Ben (6 July 2016). "Big Thief's Masterpiece Finds the Right Alchemy". Portland Mercury. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  2. ^ Maldonado, Eva (August 10, 2018). "Indie rock band Big Thief talks Berklee, Boston, and being vulnerable". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  3. ^ Weiss, Dan (1 June 2016). "Review: Big Thief Are Halfway to a Low-Strung 'Masterpiece'". Spin. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  4. ^ "New Mix: Son Lux, Public Service Broadcasting, Big Thief, More". Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  5. ^ "Big Thief Announce New Album Capacity, Share New "Mythological Beauty" Video: Watch | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  6. ^ "Masterpiece". Metacritic. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  7. ^ Boilen, Bob (19 May 2016). "Review: Big Thief, 'Masterpiece'". NPR. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  8. ^ Mapes, Jillian (6 June 2016). "Masterpiece Review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (8 July 2016). "Car Seat Headrest, the Julie Ruin, and Drugs". Vice. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Capacity by Big Thief",, retrieved 2018-01-18
  11. ^ "Bob Boilen's Top 10 Albums Of 2017". Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  12. ^ "50 Best Albums of 2017". 2017-12-18. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  13. ^ "Big Thief announce new album, U.F.O.F., share title track: Stream". Consequence of Sound. 2019-02-26. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  14. ^ "Listen to "UFOF" by Big Thief",, retrieved 2019-02-27
  15. ^ "Big Thief: U.F.O.F." Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  16. ^ Nast, Condé. "The 200 Best Albums of the 2010s". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  17. ^ U.F.O.F. by Big Thief, retrieved 2019-05-13
  18. ^ "Charts". Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  19. ^ "Photos: Big Thief at the Fonda Theatre". 2019-05-03. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  20. ^ "5 Takeaways from the 2020 Grammy Nominations". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  21. ^ "Two Hands (Vinyl) BIG THIEF". JB Hi-Fi.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-08-12. Retrieved 2019-08-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "Found In Sound; An Interview with James Krivchenia of Big Thief". November 22, 2017. Archived from the original on September 19, 2019. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  24. ^ "Big Thief Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  25. ^ "Big Thief Chart History: Independent Albums". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  26. ^ "Discografie Big Thief". Ultratop. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  27. ^ "Discografie Big Thief". Ultratop. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  28. ^ "Discography Big Thief". Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  29. ^ "Discografie Big Thief". Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  30. ^ Peaks in Scotland:
  31. ^ "Discography Big Thief". Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  32. ^ "Big Thief UK Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  33. ^ a b "Big Thief Chart History: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  34. ^ "Best Alternative Music Album | 2020 GRAMMYs". 2019-11-19. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  35. ^ "2021 GRAMMY Nominations: See the Full List". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 2020-11-24.

External links[edit]