Posts Tagged ‘Buck Meek’

May be an image of 1 person, hair and outerwear

Buck Meek released a video for “Halo Light” this week. The video was filmed during the recording sessions for “Two Saviors” in the New Orleans Victorian house called Wonderland where the album was laid to tape. It’s the same take of the song as appears on the record and features Adam Brisbin (guitar), Austin Vaughn (drums), and Mat Davidson (guitar/pedal steel/bass). The video was shot and directed by Riley Engemoen and edited by Alex Winker (fellow Austinites!).

Some words from Buck about the song: “I wrote Halo Light in two seasons – first as a healing process to accept loss as the seed of new growth – then, by a long string of coincidences, I ended up at Joni Mitchell’s home on New Year’s Eve, at a party filled with her old friends, all standing around the piano singing,” says Buck. “She held court in the centre of the room in an easy chair, like an ascended master, speaking with people one at a time with absolute presence. I remember her eyes being purple. I spoke with her briefly at the end of the party, and was struck so deeply by how the ephemerality of the human body and soul can manifest a collection of work for others to reflect upon and live through for generations to come, expanding outward. I wrote the chorus and finished the song that night when I returned home.”

“While the Big Thief guitarist’s solo work makes more room for American country music than his main band, it offers much of the same warmth and whispery intimacy.” – Pitchfork

“A gentle, charming country-folk treasure from a songwriter and guitarist of real pedigree.” – Guitar Magazine

Guitar performed by Buck Meek and Adam Brisbin Drums performed by Austin Vaughn Pedal Steel and Bass performed by Mat Davidson Produced and Engineered by Andrew Sarlo

See the source image

Another delicate and devastating piece of music from the pen of Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker. Her deeply affecting, evocative lyrics are potent as ever on the Brooklyn band’s third album, and the music has that same free and unencumbered spirit as their best work in the past.

Adrianne Lenker is here for the journey. On rare breaks in her touring schedule, she travels. It’s a willing itinérance that confirms the singer-guitarist’s rapport with the unknown. “I’ve become very translucent,” she says. “I allow things to pass through me, rather than feeling them hit me, like a defense mechanism.”

Lenker and her band Big Thief has built their reputation on a transcendent live show, where the boundaries between performer and audience evaporate in the wake of Lenker’s vulnerability, words sprouting from her harrowing and beautiful depths. The folk-steeped indie-rock quartet has toured relentlessly since their 2016 debut Masterpiece and its 2017 follow-up Capacity became hits for Saddle Creek, playing hundreds of shows across North America, Europe, and Australia.

“I’m living out of my truck,” Lenker explains. Speaking from that vehicle, parked outside a café in Los Angeles, Lenker explains that life without a permanent home is freeing, but also has its drawbacks. “I’m driving this truck, and it’s a gas guzzler,” she says. “If I could afford it, I’d get an electric car, and I’ve been thinking about converting this one.”

The band’s third album, U.F.O.F., marks their debut for indie stalwart 4AD. Recorded with long time producer Andrew Sarlo at Bear Creek Studios near Seattle, the record showcases the locked-in nature of the band whose communal instinct has been honed by the intimacy of its live show, and the tacit bonds formed from an aggressive touring schedule. Capturing this spirit was essential in the recording process, and the band largely played live in a cozy, rustic room.  Big Thief, which includes guitarist Buck Meek, bassist Max Oleartchik, and drummer James Krivchenia. The group will live here together for a month, and eat, sleep, and rehearse for their upcoming tour. But today, the mountaintop hideaway is Lenker’s alone—one in a long line of interim homes for the songwriter, who ditched her Brooklyn apartment three-and-a-half years ago in exchange for a life on the road. “We basically set out on tour and kind of never went back,” she says. “When I’m not touring, I’m just visiting with people, or renting, staying in an AirBnB or a motel. I like it, but the grass is always greener in a way. I think I’m craving a space where I can be still. But I imagine if I had the stillness, I’d be longing for the road.”

“We wanted it to be one big moment of energy with lots of passions,” recalls Krivchenia. Many of the tracks on U.F.O.F. were recorded live—some in just one or two takes—in the studio’s cabin-like main room. “Dom had this focus on the microphones and capturing the sounds of our instruments, so we were able to dance a lot more,” recalls Lenker.

Lenker’s complicated relationship with her life in perpetual motion is one of the many inspiration points behind Big Thief’s latest record, U.F.O.F. Anchored by Lenker’s vocals, U.F.O.F. (the last F stands for “friend”) sounds as expansive as its title implies—a shimmering collection of songs about “the blood and the guts of the human experience and the outward wondering about the mystery of it all,” says Lenker. It’s the most ambitious music Big Thief have ever made. Compared to the band’s last two records, U.F.O.F.’s arrangements are fuller, brighter, and harsher, delivered with the kind of ease that can only come from years of living, working, and creating side-by-side.

“There’s always some element of that alchemy of us playing together in real time, rather than stacking everything,” Lenker says. “It’s important. When a band is actually playing together you can feel it in the recordings.” Though U.F.O.F.is sharp in its instrumentation—drums, bass, and guitars passing through one another with a patterned fluidity—it also exudes spontaneity. Ambient sounds and textures punctuate the songs, and Lenker’s vocals growl and skitter.

Led by Lenker’s stunning, vulnerable lyrics, Big Thief’s songs have the keen ability to command attention. Few do that as well as U.F.O.F.’s opening track, “Contact.” The song begins with Lenker’s trance-like voice and Meek’s droning atmospherics. “It started as this exercise about the movie “Contact,” says Lenker. “I was looking at this heroine [played by Jodie Foster] who was so brave and so passionate, but didn’t receive much recognition, and had to fight through life. She had this deep longing for contact with the unknown—she was so committed to it. I thought it was so inspiring. That’s what I want to be like. Sometimes I feel like I get there, but then sometimes I’m so far from that—I’m caught by the traps of my ego, or all these things that make me feel smaller. That whole beginning section [of the song] is this brooding, numb state—a state I’ve been fighting my whole life. When you’re depressed, you can go to this place where you could be run over and not even feel it. There’s this disassociation from the body. But at the same time, you can see the sun, you can see the wind, you can see all the life around you. You can recognize that there is life being breathed through everything, but somehow you just can’t feel yourself connected to it.”

Around the three-minute mark, “Contact” is jolted from its slow, languid rumination on depression by a jarring onslaught of noise, accompanied by Lenker’s big, blood-curdling scream. “The idea was this person who could sort of see the sunlight through the water, and suddenly they feel this hand on their arm and they get pulled up. Their lungs fill with oxygen and they can feel the joy, they can feel the loss, they can feel the beauty, they can feel the nastiness—they can feel everything suddenly because they’re alive. That scream is suddenly feeling the deepest and oldest wounds. It’s the scream of birth—of being knocked back into life.”

There’s an unexpected bite when she sings the phrase “screaming sound” on the fourth track, “From” (a song that also appeared on Lenker’s 2018 solo album abysskiss). The heart-rending enunciation poured out unexpectedly, and was a point of discomfort at first. “I’ve been practicing trusting the band, even to the point where I don’t always choose my vocal takes,” she says. “Even if I don’t like something, I let go of it if the collective thinks that it’s good. I’ve realized that I’m not a good judge of my own singing.”

Whether you’re losing your mind in the dizzying ‘From’, stomping your feet to the down-home Americana of ‘Cattails’, or bawling your eyes out to the title track – you’re not gonna get through this record without feeling some feelings.

Though her life isn’t tethered to possessions, there are aspects of keeping a home that she misses. “I imagine that if I lived in one place I would have a compost toilet, and would be gardening and cooking my meals, and biking around a lot,” she says. She’s also not remiss about the volume of disposable wares commensurate with life as a working musician. “It’s a pretty wasteful industry that we’re a part of, even making records,” she says. “All the paper products and fliers and water bottles and driving. Not to mention when you play festivals, there are all these products that are offered to you.”

This macro view of the music industry can feel staggering, so for now Lenker is focused on more easily attainable and conscious decisions when it comes to avoiding waste. “When I bring my little ceramic mug made by my friend into the coffee shop, and ask them to please put the coffee in there, I feel more myself,” she says. “It’s little things, like turning off the water when I’m brushing my teeth.” Though it can be easy to abandon these principles when rambling from green room to green room, she feels more grounded when honouring them. “I feel part of the earth in some small way,” she adds. “You can ignore these tiny thoughts, or you know, you can turn off the lights when you leave the room. The small things are really important.”

This spring, Lenker begins playing in support of U.F.O.F., marking the start of fifty tour dates at mid-sized clubs and European festivals stretching into November. She’ll have only July and September off to recharge, and admits that this amount of travel and outpouring of physical and emotional expression can be depleting—but to her, it’s mostly a blessing and an opportunity to connect.

“The only way we can do this is to try to knock walls down with our music,” she says. It’s in this open posture, on the road and in performances, that she’s found her greatest sense of self. “That’s Big Thief in a nutshell,” she says. “We’re digging through all these layers that separate us.”

Listen deeply and allow yourself to be taken by its subtle charms.

Image may contain: 1 person, text

When Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek asked the band’s go-to producer Andrew Sarlo to oversee his second solo album Sarlo agreed, but there were some non-negotiable conditions. Everything would be recorded live using just eight dynamic mics, there could be no overdubs and headphones were banned.

It’s a familiar rootsy, organic approach to that which enabled Big Thief to release four beguiling indie-folk albums in their first four years, and it works a charm on Two Saviors, recorded on a humble Tascam 38 eight-track at the humid height of a steamy New Orleans summer. Set up in a Victorian house one block from the Mississippi, Meek taught his band these gentle, unpolished country arrangements on the fly, recording everything inside a week. The songs had been written while Meek was on downtime following Big Thief’s pair of 2019 releases, Two HandsandU.F.O.F., following the end of his marriage to the band’s lead singer Adrianne Lenker a year earlier. The mood is pastoral and reflective, Meek looking back with fond perspective on a past chapter of his life.

Buck Meek’s new album, “Two Saviors”, one of the first records released this year, and I wouldn’t bet against it being one of the best. Recorded by Buck, alongside producer and engineer Andrew Sarlo, who also worked with Buck on a number of Big Thief records, “Two Saviors” marks a change of tone for Buck’s solo material. While his self-titled debut was a character driven snapshot of the American Dream, here Buck seems to tap into something more personal, with these almost cathartic confessions spilling out of him.

Ahead of the record’s release, Buck this week shared the latest track from the album, “Candle”, co-written with Big Thief bandmate Adrianne Lenker. Lyrically, the track is a somewhat troubling affair, a song that seems to always be attempting to run, yet keeps getting drawn back; the sweetness of, “the same love I always knew” contrasted with the sighing inevitability of, “I guess you’re still the first place I go”. The lyrical juxtaposition is set against a musical backing that seems to murmur along with the words, the slide-guitar that seems to exist like an exhale of sadness atop the warmth of the Rhodes-piano, as Buck’s vocal is at times joined by bandmate Mat Davidson, before he leaves again to let Buck travel on alone. This really feels like a master-craftsman at work, a songwriter who knows exactly how to ring every drop of magic out of a track: this is something truly special.

Guitar performed by Buck Meek and Adam Brisbin Drums performed by Austin Vaughn Pedal Steel and Bass performed by Mat Davidson Produced and Engineered by Andrew Sarlo

Two Saviors is out today via Keeled Scales.

“Pareidolia,” the second single from Buck Meek‘s new album was just released. “Pareidolia” is the first word that appears on Two SaviorsIt’s a word about recognizing shapes where none were intended to exist – like searching for images in the clouds. It serves as an apt guide through these new songs of Buck’s, which are themselves uncommon and beautiful, and which invite a deep, cloud-gaze state of attention.

“We have all painted forms onto the clouds; a phoenix, a fire truck, snakes, Elvis, and so on,” says Buck. “We saw these visions as children, we encourage children to search for them, and we can’t help but continue to project meaning and symbolism onto the sky, to see mountains in moving water, faces in knots in wood, hidden messages in music, and god in toast. Pareidolia is a phenomenon which threads mundane experiences such as staring at the ceiling in the morning with the seeds of mythology and spirituality.”

Discussing the inspiration behind the track, Buck has been quick to talk up the joys of pareidolia, of how we shape clouds into pictures, form the shapes of nature into recognisable human form, and how we should embrace that, as Buck puts it, “the physical world is inherently limited, but our minds take every possible opportunity to transcend”. Although a solo album of sorts, Two Saviors was recorded with a small band of musicians in New Orleans, near the banks of the Mississippi River, with everything recorded live, attempting to capture the, “human energy of a first take”. On Pareidolia, this manifests as a slice of front-porch Americana, Buck’s distinctive vocal twang accompanied by meandering Rhodes-like keyboards, steady brushed drums and lithe strums of acoustic guitar, as he sings of visions in the sky and past events that flicker in his memories. Whether solo or as part of Big Thief, any record Buck Meek touches seems to sparkle with the presence of life being led, a chronicler of the world around him, he exists in the great tradition of folk-music and on the evidence so far, Two Saviors is shaping up as the latest brilliant chapter in his increasingly stunning encyclopaedia.

Buck Meek’s new album Two Saviors will be out January 15th, 2021. This clear blue vinyl variant is limited to 300 copies and only available here. We’re down to less than 75 copies, so snag yours now if you want one.

Open uri20201006 25515 1dfgnzq?1601984403

Big Thief’s Buck Meek releases his new solo album, “Two Saviors”, on Keeled Scales. While his last album, 2018’s Buck Meek, is a yarn of blue-collar fairy tales and character driven narratives, Two Saviors emerges as a cathartic, naked confession of heartbreak, resiliency, and enchantment. The first word on Two Saviors is “pareidolia.” It is a word about recognising shapes where none were intended to exist – like searching for images in the clouds. It’s an uncommon word, with a beautiful sound, and serves as an apt guide through these new songs of Buck’s, which are themselves uncommon and beautiful, and which invite a deep, cloud-gaze state of attention.

Two Saviors was recorded by producer and engineer Andrew Sarlo (who produced the first four Big Thief LPs), under his specific conditions: they make the album in New Orleans, during the hottest part of the year, spend no more than 7 days tracking, all live, on an 8-track tape machine with only dynamic microphones, and no headphones, not allowing the players to hear back any takes until the final day. The band, featuring Adam Brisbin (guitar), Mat Davidson (bass, pedal steel, fiddle), Austin Vaughn (drums), and Buck’s brother Dylan Meek (piano, organ), set up in a Victorian house one block from the Mississippi River and worked within these limitations, encouraging every recording to be imbued with the living, intuitive, and human energy of a first take.

I wrote a handful of songs during the covid-19 lockdown, and asked Andrew Sarlo to produce a recording of one. “Roll Back Your Clocks” felt most appropriate. Andrew prompted me to record the song at home with an acoustic guitar, and send that solo version to each of my four band members separately. Then we overdubbed instrumental parts and vocals on top of my solo recording, without hearing any of the other band member’s contributions – with no outside direction or insight, and sent their stems to Sarlo, who took the parts and alchemized them into a mix, revealing a serendipitous union. This era has presented every human on earth with the challenge to relinquish all expectations and bend with the fragility of life and society. “Halo Light” is a gently rumbling rumination on “the afterglow of loss, humanity’s ephemera, and the eternal nature of love.”

All we are left with is ourselves, and our own capacity to find peace within. This was an attempt to embrace the quarantine – to try to make something beautiful and honest and new without denying the limitations, but to move within them. It was a reminder to trust our telepathic instincts, and to value the connection with our loved ones as something that we always have access to, even in solitude,

Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek returns with Two Saviors, his second solo record. Backed by a band featuring pedal steel, fiddle, and his brother Dylan on piano and organ, Meek takes a look at heartbreak and expands on the loose, easy going twang of his 2018 self-titled debut. The songs on this album shine with this wisdom and are not ostentatious about it. This is true to Buck’s nature. He is recording life, consciously and unconsciously on a broad spectrum of planes. A new album from him is a gift, a chance to wonder about ways we could be seeing, recording.

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument and night

Buck Meek released a new song Wednesday. “Roll Back Your Clocks” is an experiment in collaboration and a calm balm in this hectic noise.

Buck recorded the song at home on acoustic guitar and sent it to each of his four band members separately. Adam Brisbin (guitar), Mat Davidson (pedal steel & fiddle), Austin Vaughn (drums), and Ken Woodward (bass) then overdubbed instrumental parts and vocals on top of Buck’s solo recording, without hearing any of the other band member’s contributions and with no outside direction or insight. They sent their files to Andrew Sarlo (producer of all four Big Thief albums) who then alchemized them into what’s been released.

“Roll Back Your Clocks” is “a reminder to trust our telepathic instincts, and to value the connection with our loved ones as something that we always have access to, even in solitude, regardless of proximity,” says Buck.

I wrote a handful of songs during the covid-19 lockdown, and asked Andrew Sarlo to produce a recording of one. “Roll Back Your Clocks” felt most appropriate.
Andrew prompted me to record the song at home with an acoustic guitar, and send that solo version to each of my four band members separately then overdubbed instrumental parts and vocals on top of my solo recording, without hearing any of the other band member’s contributions – with no outside direction or insight, and sent their stems to Sarlo, who took the parts and alchemized them into a mix, revealing a serendipitous union
This era has presented every human on earth with the challenge to relinquish all expectations and bend with the fragility of life and society. All we are left with is ourselves, and our own capacity to find peace within. This was an attempt to embrace the quarantine – to try to make something beautiful and honest and new without denying the limitations, but to move within them. It was a reminder to trust our telepathic instincts, and to value the connection with our loved ones as something that we always have access to, even in solitude, regardless of proximity

Buck Meek “Roll Back Your Clocks”

Buck Meek – Vocals / Acoustic Guitar Austin Vaughn – Wheel / Kick Drum Ken Woodward – Bass Matt Davidson – Background Vocals / Electric Guitar / Violins / Electric Piano Adam Brisbin – Background Vocals / Reverse / Lead Guitars Andrew Sarlo – Belly

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument and guitar

In 2016 the indie rock band Big Thief, comprised of former students of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, released their first album. They’ve since released two more albums, including their latest, “Two Hands,” and they’re beginning a world tour. James Krivchenia, Adrianne Lenker, Buck Meek and Max Oleartchik joined “CBS This Morning: Saturday” to perform the song “Not.”

Big Thief’s fourth studio album Two Hands was released earlier this year, and following a stretch of recent tour dates throughout North America the band stopped by CBS This Morning to play as part of the show’s ongoing “Saturday Sessions” performance series.

As with other CBS This Morning performances, the group played a short three-song set, which here included the songs “Two Hands,” “Not,” and “Forgotten Eyes,” all of which appear on their latest album. While “Not” and “Forgotten Eyes” were both released as singles, the title track was later released as a standard track on the album. Two Hands is the second Big Thief album in less than a year following the excellent U.F.O.F. which was released this past May. “It has been two years [since their second album], and in that time Adrianne [Lenker] had just written so many songs,” guitarist and vocalist Buck Meek said in a recent interview with Stereogum “For a month we went through every song and built arrangements and hashed them out.”

The indie rock band Big Thief, James Krivchenia, Adrianne Lenker, Buck Meek and Max Oleartchik joined “CBS This Morning: Saturday” to perform the song “Forgotten Eyes.”

Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting, child and outdoor

In the years since Big Thief released Masterpiece, they have become enormously popular, touring at a near-constant clip. Sophomore album Capacity was critically lauded for its ability to tell small stories that spoke to a universal truth, and lead songwriter Adrianne Lenker is now widely regarded as one of the most technically skilled and lyrically incisive musicians to emerge over the past five years. Her affect is often described as “mystical,” and her songs have the predictive quality of an oracle,  she can tell the story of an entire life in under five minutes.

Cycles fascinate Lenker. Her most recent solo album, 2018’s abysskiss, opens with “Terminal Paradise,” a song about energy transference or reincarnation. “See my death become a trail/ And the trail leads to a flower/ I will blossom in your sail/ Every dreamed and waking hour,” she sings. A reworked version of the song appears on Big Thief’s new album, U.F.O.F., as does abysskiss track “From.” This is Big Thief’s first album for 4AD Records and it’s being billed as their most collaborative to date, but the re-imagining of two of Lenker’s solo tracks emphasizes how inextricably tied to her vision this band really is.

Though Lenker, guitarist Buck Meek, and bassist Max Oleartchik all attended the prestigious Berklee School Of Music, both Masterpiece and Capacity favored deceptively simple song structures over noodly, dense arrangements. U.F.O.F. maintains that sense of ease, but it is more impressionistic and more exploratory than the band’s previous work. Opening song “Contact” is slow and somber from the outset, but it descends into chaotic improvisation soon after. This album is, to put it plainly, loose and jammy at certain moments, which is the result of so much time spent on the road. Lenker is prolific, and writing on tour is as much a necessity as it is a method of self-preservation. “I’m not nervous to open up into that place,” she said of writing in front of her band mates during in-between moments on tour. “If I couldn’t write in front of them, I’m not sure how much I would write at all, because I’m always with them.”

It’s a crisis of capitalism that in order to flourish as a musician one must endure a relentless touring schedule, but through Lenker’s gaze, there’s something unquestionably romantic about her vagabondish lifestyle. On “Century,” she captures memories in short, bright flashes while James Krivchenia’s drums pitter patter like a gentle storm: “Dogs eyes/ In the headlights on the driveway/ Cool autumn rain/ Bugs died/ On your windshield on the freeway/ Wonder if you’ll be the same.” Still, transience means saying goodbye over and over again, and there is a sadness underlying many of the songs on U.F.O.F. The title track’s melody shifts with the changing wind as Lenker bids farewell to a “UFO friend,” her words dripping out in rapid succession, like a leaky faucet. Lenker’s best songs can often read as wordy on paper, a little bit overstuffed. When she sings, though, they tumble forth as if conjured from someplace outside of the atmosphere. It’s hypnotic.

That Big Thief were inspired by New Age music while writing this album is no great surprise. The natural world, and the forces that guide it, have always been of interest to this band, and though many of their songs address anonymous women (Jodi, Betsy, Caroline, Violet, and Jenni in the case of this album) they invoke Mother Earth with unrelenting regularity. Single “Cattails” contemplates nature’s steadfast hold, the elements that remain long after someone beloved passes away. In grief, it is only human to seek out places that remind you of the person you lost, and Big Thief lean into that instinct here: “With your wrinkled hands/ And your silver hair/ Leaving here soon and you know where/ To where the cattail sways/ With the lonesome loon/ You’ll be riding that train in late June.”

Death is the only constant, and as much as Big Thief languish in the beauty of the surrounding world, fatalism grounds this album in an unsettling certainty. “Orange” is a love song arranged simply on acoustic guitar that contemplates the inevitable death of a partner. As Lenker’s sights grow darker — hound dogs howl at the stars, pigeons fall like snowflakes — she works herself up to a climactic realization: “Fragile is that I mourn her death/ As our limbs are twisting in her bedroom.” On the hazy “Open Desert,” you hear Meek’s fingers slide across the fretboard as Lenker contemplates another ending, picturing the “white light of the waiting room/ Leaking through the crack in the door.”

These are the preoccupations that keep people up at night, but Big Thief don’t wallow in angst on U.F.O.F. Moments of bliss eclipse the sorrowful. The fact that this album was recorded live off the floor gives some tracks an in-the-moment, improvised quality. “Strange” is a jaunty funhouse of a song that unwinds like a twisted nursery rhyme, as Lenker sings about seeing a luna moth cry “lime green tears/ Through the fruit bat’s eye.” As Big Thief tunnel further into this psychedelia, the accompanying arrangement starts to lose its footing; Oleartchik’s bass bubbles up from below, Lenker’s voice reverberates outward, and a synthetic sighing mist descends. Something similar happens toward the end of the arid, hallucinatory “Jenni,” when Meek suddenly breaks free to play the same sustained chord over and over again, to be eventually overtaken by Krivchenia’s thundering drums.

Big Thief get weird on U.F.O.F., to great effect. On the earlier Masterpiece and Capacity, they were making folksy rock songs U.F.O.F. isn’t an outlier, not exactly, but it isn’t as conventional, and it’s exciting to consider the directions Big Thief might go in from here. Lenker has been putting out music since she was a teenager, and while it’s long been established that she’s a formidable songwriter, U.F.O.F. documents a band coming into their own, messing around with new ideas and having fun doing it. Listening to it feels like sharing in that experience.

U.F.O.F. is out 3rd May via 4AD Records.

Big Thief Share Second <i>U.F.O.F.</i> Single "Cattails," Expand Fall Tour

The next new single from Big Thief’s forthcoming effort “U.F.O.F.” (Due May 3rd on 4AD Records) has landed: the rustic “Cattails,” which follows on from the album’s gorgeous title track, released alongside its announcement in late February. “Cattails” opens on Adrianne Lenker’s jangling, finger-picked guitar and James Krivchenia’s steadfast drums before it’s later built out with a slow-rising synth hum and gleaming piano stabs. “Going back home to the great lakes / where the cattail sways / with the lonesome loon / riding that train in late June / with the windows wide by my side,” sings Lenker, her thoughts in transit somewhere between civilization and nature—she later insists, “you don’t need to know why / you don’t need to know why / when you cry,” deferring to the mysteries that run deep within the human heart.

Lenker recalls how the band’s new single came together in a statement:

“Cattails” came about while we were at the studio in Washington in the pine forest. Writing it was just one of those electric multicolored waves of connectivity just sweeping through my body. I stayed up late finishing the song and the next morning was stomping around playing it over and over again. We thought why not just record it, so James sat at the drums and we practiced, and by the time we’d finished practicing, Dom Monks—our engineer—had already sneakily set up mics and recorded it. It was beautiful that he’d captured it right away because when James and I were playing, it felt like a little portal in the fabric had opened and we were just flying. Listening back to it makes me cry sometimes.

‘Cattails’ by Big Thief, from the new album ‘U.F.O.F.’, released May 3rd on 4AD.

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor and close-up

Buck Meek’s songs are for the lost dogs of honest mechanics, good guys and girls born into a life of crime, runaways, snow spirits, the ghosts of Central Park, unsung diving-board stars, the affection shared through gambling, and so on. Bred in Texas, more bread in New York City, Meek spins outlaw ballads and quotidian fairy tales into a yarn,

Songwriter and guitarist Buck Meek has released his first bit of new music since putting out his self-titled solo debut on Keeled Scales last year. The song, titled “Halo Light,” is a sweet, folky rumination on eternal love and loss that finds Meek moving in a softer, more contemplative direction, recalling the slow, measured cadence of early Leonard Cohen and the pastoral quality of Harvest-era Neil Young. Before releasing his debut album last year, Meek put out a solo EP in 2015 called Heart Was Beat. He was also the lead guitarist and backup vocalist in Big Thief, and he released a pair of collaborative records with bandmate Adrianne Lenker in 2014 titled “a-sides and b-sides”. 

“Halo Light” is a gently rumbling rumination on “the afterglow of loss, humanity’s ephemera, and the eternal nature of love.” Written by Alexander Buckley Meek,