Posts Tagged ‘Capacity’

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It’s heartening that a new voice can still come along that requires you to stop everything, take notice and listen. The owner of these beautiful vocals is Adrianne Lenker, singer and guitarist with Big Thief, a four-piece from New York, who have more than delivered on their early potential.

As the front cover may allude to (it features vocalist Adrianne Lenker being held by her young Uncle), Big Thief’s sophomore album delves deep in to family history. There are stark accounts of death, domestic abuse as well as guttural romances themes littered throughout the LP. Though the true theme lie in the duality of life and the continued fight between the two. It’s a piece of work that sees Lenker and Co. at the height of their powers.
Intense yet generous, Capacity makes you wonder what the big deal is with second albums. That just 14 months separated the release of Masterpiece and Capacity ensured the band wouldn’t overthink their next move, but there’s more to it than prolificness. Adrianne Lenker’s lyrics and the music they inhabit rarely subvert each other via the more familiar way of placing words and melody at opposite emotional poles. Equally fluent in metaphor and memoir, Lenker blurs the two in a way that resists strict autobiography, while still inviting you into her worlds.

Only formed in 2015, the band are already onto their second album – Capacity is the follow-up to last year’s well-received debut Masterpiece – and the band have long been championed by BBC 6 Music.

The album’s cover – Adrianne Lenker’s uncle cradling her when she was a baby – gives a clue to the themes of family explored on the record. Standout track Mythological Beauty, recalls a childhood accident that almost killed Adrianne, considering the impact it had on her mother. In an interview reflecting on the familial story-telling, she reveals “I’m not quite sure if I’m writing the songs from myself to my future child, or to my inner child, or from my mother to me.”

Expect to hear more from this group as 2017 continues to unfold. They’ll be visiting the UK for gigs .

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To open the fourth season of the Gladden House Sessions, Big Thief’s lead singer and songwriter Adrianne Lenker stopped by to perform an intimate and haunting solo set in the early evening of that Thursday. The intense and soft-spoken Lenker, armed only with an acoustic guitar, captivated the festival goers in attendance with a curated selection of songs.

Lenker opened with a gorgeous rendition of the title track from Capacity (Saddle Creek). Her second song was an unexpected treat; an unreleased, and hereto yet to be recorded, song that she has rarely performed. This new track was a delight to the many fans of Lenker’s enthralling approach to performance. Lenker closed the set with another track off of “Capacity”, the album opener “Pretty Things.”

The trails that Brooklyn’s Big ThiefAdrianne 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 on Saddle Creek Records, 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 multi-facted 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.”

The b-side to Big Thief’s  7-inch, “Mythological Beauty,” “Breathe In My Lungs” is a sparse one-off that slowly but surely expands from a fireside strum to a lush almost-anthem.

“Big Thief’s quiet power propels songs of the flesh and soul. These are timeless songs, memorable and momentous.” – NPR Music’s Bob Boilen

Big Thief’s sophomore album beautifully excavates family history and trauma into a delicate, intricately built folk rock record, showcasing the gorgeous style of singer Adrianne Lenker. – Pitchfork

“their new album is a huge leap forward in just about every possible way, a record made with enormous confidence and intuition and empathy.” – Stereogum

Big Thief – Breathe In My Lungs
From the Mythological Beauty 7″ – Out Now!

It would have been natural for Big Thief’s second album,“Capacity” to expand on the richness of the previous collection “Masterpiece” by bathing the band’s new songs in lavish production. But if anything, Capacity takes Lenker to quieter and more private places, with an inward-facing sound to match her ever richer, altogether more intimate storytelling.

These are songs lush with detail, dotted with matter-of-factly dispensed places and proper names (Evelyn, Andrew, Mary, Haley), and yet they’re also abstract enough to retain an undercurrent of mystery. “Shark Smile” paints a vivid picture of a doomed drive, but instead of indulging in road-song clichés, Lenker prefers to linger on illuminative details  “the money pile on the dashboard, fluttering”  en route to a trip’s bad end. In “Watering,” “Mythological Beauty” and elsewhere, “Capacity’s” flashes of violence are rendered in bloody poetry, leaving the album’s back half to do the business of healing and adjusting.

There, “Capacity” takes several stunningly warm turns most notably in the song “Mary,” a love song to an enduring friendship. At five and a half minutes, it unfolds deliberately until a dense cluster of evocative words comes spilling out:

“What did you tell me, Mary / When you were there, so sweet and very / Full of field and stars you carried, all of time / Oh, and heavens, when you looked at me / Your eyes were like machinery / Your hands were making artifacts in the corner of my mind.”

Capacity spends a lot of time ruminating on scars — how they’re made, how they fade, how we learn to wear them comfortably. Which in turn makes “Mary,” and by extension the album, all the more cathartic in its soft celebration.

Big Thief – Mary
From the upcoming album “Capacity” – Out June 9th, 2017!

We are excited to announce Big Thief’s highly anticipated second album,“Capacity”, will be out June 9th. The trails that the band takes us down on Capacity are overgrown with a wilderness of souls. These are carnivorous stories, with pangs of sadness and joy. Songwriter Adrianne Lenker shows us the gentle side of being ripped open, and then recounts the second act of pulling oneself back together to prepare for it all to happen again.

The first song to be shared (which will also be available on Record Store Day as a 7″ Vinyl single b/w non-album track “Breathe in My Lungs”) is the utterly captivating and semi-autobiographical “Mythological Beauty” (learn more about the song via her interview with NPR Music’s Bob Boilen on All Songs Considered.

The video for “Mythological Beauty” features a cameo by Lenker’s mother (who also graced the cover of Masterpiece). The gorgeous video, directed by Vanessa Haddad and Adam Gundersheimer, leaves itself open to interpretation as it follows a resolute woman played by Adrianne carrying a stricken man played by Buck Meek through the woods.

Big Thief – Mythological Beauty
From the upcoming album Capacity – Out 6/9/17!