Big Thief

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Big Thief
Big Thief performing onstage
Big Thief performing 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, indie folk
Years active2015–present
Labels
Websitebigthief.net
Members
Past membersJason Burger

Big Thief is an American indie rock band with folk roots based in Brooklyn, New York. Its members are Adrianne Lenker (guitar, vocals), Buck Meek (guitar, backing vocals), Max Oleartchik (bass), and James Krivchenia (drums).[1]

The band's debut album, Masterpiece, was released on Saddle Creek Records in 2016. Their second studio album, Capacity, was released in 2017. In 2019, the band signed to 4AD and released two studio albums: U.F.O.F. in May 2019 and Two Hands in October 2019. Both albums received critical acclaim; U.F.O.F. was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, and the song "Not", was nominated for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. The band's fifth studio album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You was released in February 2022.

History[edit]

2013–2015: Early years[edit]

Adrianne Lenker met Buck Meek at a show in Boston, and after meeting him again in Brooklyn as undergraduates, the pair began performing as a duo.[2][3] They toured as a duo in 2013, and released two EPs, a-sides and b-sides, in 2014. In 2015, after performing for two years and developing a small grassroots following, they began looking for additional members to accompany them, and formed the band Big Thief with the arrival of Max Oleartchik, a bassist and longtime friend of Meek's. James Krivchenia joined the band later, originally as a sound engineer and then as a drummer.[3][2] All four members of Big Thief attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.[4]

2016–2018: Masterpiece and Capacity[edit]

The band's debut studio album, Masterpiece was released on Saddle Creek Records on May 27, 2016.[5] It received generally favorable reviews from critics; it has a rating of 79/100 on Metacritic.[6] Bob Boilen from NPR wrote 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 saying the songs on the album "sound cherry-picked over a lifetime of writing".[8] Robert Christgau described the album's songs as being "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] On April 4, 2017, Big Thief premiered a new single "Mythological Beauty" on NPR.[10] The next day the band released the single's official video and confirmed that the song would appear on their second studio album, Capacity. The full album was released on June 9 via Saddle Creek.[11] Capacity received critical acclaim upon its release. On 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.[12]

Capacity appeared on multiple album-of-the-year lists, including #1 on NPR's "Bob Boilen's Top Ten Album's of 2017".[13] 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",[14] 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.

2019–2020: U.F.O.F. and Two Hands[edit]

U.F.O.F., the band's third studio 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. "U.F.O.F.",[15][16] and announced a new tour across America and in 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 was called "Best New Music" by Pitchfork scoring a 9.2[17] and came in at #33 on Pitchfork's 200 Best Albums of the 2010s list.[18] At Metacritic the album received an average score of 87/100.[19] In the first album's 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.[20] 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,[21] and a third night in Brooklyn, NY at Elsewhere on May 5, 2019.

U.F.O.F. was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.[22]

Big Thief released their fourth studio 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".[23][24] The album's lead single "Not" was nominated for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.[25]

2021–present: Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You[edit]

On August 10, 2021, the band released the songs "Little Things" and "Sparrow", both which were produced by Big Thief drummer James Krivchenia.[26] "Little Things" was recorded with Shawn Everett at Five Star Studios in Topanga, California in October 2020. "Sparrow" was recorded with Sam Evian at Flying Cloud Recordings in the Catskills, New York in July and August 2020.[27]

On September 7, 2021, the band released a song "Certainty"[28] followed by another song "Change", on October 6. They also announced plans for a North American tour in 2022.[29]

In the November 2021 issue of Mojo, Big Thief announced their plans to release a 20-track double album in early 2022. The album was recorded in four different locations across the United States after the band quarantined in the Vermont woods for two weeks in July 2020.[30][31] Later that month the band confirmed the album's title Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You and a February 11, 2022 release date.[32]

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)[33]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions
US
[34]
AUS
[35]
BEL
(FL)

[36]
BEL
(WA)

[37]
GER
[38]
IRE
[39]
NL
[40]
SCO
[41]
SWI
[42]
UK
[43]
Masterpiece [A]
Capacity
  • Released: June 9, 2017
  • Label: Saddle Creek
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
[B]
U.F.O.F.
  • Released: May 3, 2019
  • Label: 4AD
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
142 26 81 80 21 68 41
Two Hands
  • Released: October 11, 2019
  • Label: 4AD
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
113 99 20 119 78 59 8 34
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You
  • Released: February 11, 2022
  • Label: 4AD
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
31 19 6 60 24 22 6 5 35 15
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released

EPs[edit]

  • Demos Vol. 1 (2020)
  • Live at the Bunker Studio (2021)[45]

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US
AAA

[46]
BEL
(FL)
Tip

[36]
"Masterpiece"[47] 2016 Masterpiece
"Mother"[48] Non-album singles
"Dandelion"[49]
"Mythological Beauty"[50] 2017 Capacity
"Shark Smile"[51]
"Mary"[52]
"U.F.O.F."[53] 2019 [C] U.F.O.F.
"Cattails"[54] [D]
"Century"[55] [E]
"Not" 30 Two Hands
"Forgotten Eyes"[56] [F]
"Love in Mine"[57] 2020 Non-album single
"Off You"[58] 2021 Bills & Aches & Blues
"Little Things" / "Sparrow"[59] Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You
"Certainty"[60] 34
"Change"[61]
"Time Escaping"[62]
"No Reason" / "Spud Infinity"[63]
"Simulation Swarm"[64] 2022 18
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Music videos[edit]

  • "Masterpiece" (2016)
  • "Humans" (2016)
  • "Mythological Beauty" (2017)
  • "Red Moon" (2022)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Masterpiece did not enter the US Billboard 200, but peaked at number 10 on the US Heatseekers Albums Chart.[44]
  2. ^ Capacity did not enter the US Billboard 200, but peaked at number 9 on the US Heatseekers Albums Chart.[44]
  3. ^ "U.F.O.F." did not enter the Flanders Ultratop 50, but charted as an "extra tip" on the Ultratip chart.[36]
  4. ^ "Cattails" did not enter the Flanders Ultratop 50, but charted as an "extra tip" on the Ultratip chart.[36]
  5. ^ "Century" did not enter the Flanders Ultratop 50, but charted as an "extra tip" on the Ultratip chart.[36]
  6. ^ "Forgotten Eyes" did not enter the Flanders Ultratop 50, but charted as an "extra tip" on the Ultratip chart.[36]

Accolades[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated Work Result Ref
2020 Grammy Awards Best Alternative Album U.F.O.F Nominated [65]
2021 Grammy Awards Best Rock Performance "Not" Nominated [66]
Best Rock Song Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Salmon, Ben (6 July 2016). "Big Thief's Masterpiece Finds the Right Alchemy". Portland Mercury. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b Petrusich, Amanda (October 12, 2020). "Adrianne Lenker's Radical Honesty". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Naddaff-Hafrey, Benjamin (9 November 2017). "The Lore Of Big Thief". NPR. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  4. ^ Maldonado, Eva (August 10, 2018). "Indie rock band Big Thief talks Berklee, Boston, and being vulnerable". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  5. ^ Weiss, Dan (1 June 2016). "Review: Big Thief Are Halfway to a Low-Strung 'Masterpiece'". Spin. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  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. ^ "New Mix: Son Lux, Public Service Broadcasting, Big Thief, More". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  11. ^ "Big Thief Announce New Album Capacity, Share New "Mythological Beauty" Video: Watch | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  12. ^ "Capacity by Big Thief", Metacritic.com, retrieved 2018-01-18
  13. ^ "Bob Boilen's Top 10 Albums Of 2017". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  14. ^ "50 Best Albums of 2017". Spin.com. 2017-12-18. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  15. ^ "Big Thief announce new album, U.F.O.F., share title track: Stream". Consequence of Sound. 2019-02-26. Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  16. ^ "Listen to "UFOF" by Big Thief", Pitchfork.com, retrieved 2019-02-27
  17. ^ "Big Thief: U.F.O.F." Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  18. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 2010s". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  19. ^ U.F.O.F. by Big Thief, retrieved 2019-05-13
  20. ^ "Charts". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  21. ^ "Photos: Big Thief at the Fonda Theatre". Buzzbands.la. 2019-05-03. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  22. ^ "5 Takeaways from the 2020 Grammy Nominations". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  23. ^ "Two Hands (Vinyl) BIG THIEF". JB Hi-Fi.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-08-12. Retrieved 2019-08-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Adrienne Lenker". www.grammy.com. Retrieved March 12, 2021.
  26. ^ Minsker, Evan (August 10, 2021). "Big Thief Share New Songs "Little Things" and "Sparrow": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  27. ^ "Big Thief: 'Little Things / Sparrow'". 4AD. August 10, 2021. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  28. ^ Legaspi, Althea (2021-09-07). "Big Thief's New Song 'Certainty' Was Recorded Using a Cigarette Lighter". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2021-10-10.
  29. ^ "Big Thief share dreamy new single 'Change' and North American tour dates". NME. 2021-10-06. Retrieved 2021-10-10.
  30. ^ Aston, Martin (November 2021). "Big Thief Trust Themselves To Find Mystery On Album Five". Mojo. No. 336. p. 22.
  31. ^ Brodsky, Rachel (October 4, 2021). "Big Thief Prep Double LP For 2022". Stereogum. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  32. ^ "Big Thief: 'Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You'". 4AD. November 16, 2021. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  33. ^ "Found In Sound; An Interview with James Krivchenia of Big Thief". Ghettoblastermagazine.com. November 22, 2017. Archived from the original on September 19, 2019. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  34. ^ "Big Thief Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  35. ^ Peaks in Australia:
  36. ^ a b c d e f "Discografie Big Thief". Ultratop. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  37. ^ "Discografie Big Thief". Ultratop. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  38. ^ "Discographie Big Thief". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  39. ^ "Discography Big Thief". irish-charts.com. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  40. ^ "Discografie Big Thief". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  41. ^ Peaks in Scotland:
  42. ^ "Discography Big Thief". swisscharts.com. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  43. ^ "Big Thief UK Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  44. ^ a b "Big Thief Chart History: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  45. ^ Redfern, Mark (May 11, 2021). "Big Thief Announce Fall Tour Dates, Release New Live EP and Share Live Video for "Shoulders"". Under the Radar. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  46. ^ "Big Thief – Chart History: Adult Alternative Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  47. ^ "Masterpiece - Single by Big Thief on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  48. ^ "Mother - Single by Big Thief on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  49. ^ "Dandelion - Single by Big Thief on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  50. ^ "Mythological Beauty - Single by Big Thief on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  51. ^ "Shark Smile - Single by Big Thief on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  52. ^ "Big Thief – "Mary"". Stereogum. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  53. ^ "Big Thief – "UFOF"". Stereogum. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  54. ^ "Big Thief – "Cattails"". Stereogum. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  55. ^ "Big Thief drops melodic and laidback new single "Century": Stream". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  56. ^ "Big Thief – "Forgotten Eyes"". Stereogum. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  57. ^ "Love in Mine - Single by Big Thief on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  58. ^ "Off You - Single by Big Thief on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  59. ^ "Little Things/Sparrow - Single by Big Thief on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  60. ^ Hussey, Allison (September 7, 2021). "Big Thief Share New Song "Certainty": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 8, 2021.
  61. ^ Minsker, Evan (October 6, 2021). "Big Thief Announce 2022 North American Tour, Share New Song "Change": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  62. ^ Darville, Jordan (November 16, 2021). "Big Thief share "Time Escaping," announce new album". The Fader. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  63. ^ Minsker, Evan (December 14, 2021). "Big Thief Share New Songs "No Reason" and "Spud Infinity": Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  64. ^ Hussey, Allison (January 19, 2022). "Big Thief Reschedule European Tour, Share New Song "Simulation Swarm"". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 19, 2022.
  65. ^ "Best Alternative Music Album | 2020 GRAMMYs". GRAMMY.com. 2019-11-19. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  66. ^ "2021 2021 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Winners & Nominees List". GRAMMYs. Retrieved 2021-03-25.

External links[edit]