Big Thief have announced their new album, Two Hands, due on 11 October, and present its lead single ‘Not’. The quartet have also confirmed worldwide tour dates that will extend to the Spring of 2020 including details of a special intimate London show next week.
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.
“Two Hands has the songs that I’m the most proud of; I can imagine myself singing them when I’m old,” says Adrianne. “Musically and lyrically, you can’t break it down much further than this. It’s already bare-bones.” Lyrically this can be felt in the poetic blur of the internal and external. These are political songs without political language. They explore the collective wounds of our Earth. Abstractions of the personal hint at war, environmental destruction, and the traumas that fuel it. Across the album, there are genuine attempts to point the listener towards the very real dangers that face our planet. When Adrianne sings “Please wake up,” she’s talking directly to the audience.
Take a listen to new single ‘Not’, below…
Engineer Dom Monks and producer Andrew Sarlo, who were both behind U.F.O.F., capture the live energy as instinctually and honestly as possible. Sarlo teamed up with James Krivchenia to mix the album, where they sought to emphasize raw power and direct energy inherent in the takes. The journey of a song from the stage to the record is often a difficult one. Big Thief’s advantage is their bond and loving centre as a chosen family. They spend almost 100% of their lives together working towards a sound that they all agree upon. A band with this level of togetherness is increasingly uncommon. If you ask drummer Krivchenia, bassist Max Oleartchik or guitarist Buck Meek how they write their parts, they will describe—passionately—the experience of hearing Adrianne present a new song, listening intently for hints of parts that already exist in the ether and the undertones to draw out with their respective instruments.
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.
Next week, on Monday 19th August, Big Thief will play a very special intimate show for fans at Bush Hall, London. To ensure fans are able to attend, the only way to get access to buy tickets is by signing up via No Purchase Necessary or pre-ordering the Two Hands on any format via 4AD.
Sign up or pre-order before Noon UK on Thursday 15th August to receive a unique code, with tickets on-sale from 10AM UK on Friday 16th. All details and links HERE.
Tour dates below…
August 14-17 – SAINT MALO, FR, La Route Du Rock Festival
August 15-18 – BRECON BEACONS, GB, Green Man Festival
August 16 – HASSELT, BE, Pukkelpop Festival
August 19 – LONDON, GB, Bush Hall
October 9 – BROOKLYN, NY, Brooklyn Steel
October 10 – NEW YORK, NY, Webster Hall
October 11 – NEW YORK, NY, Webster Hall
October 12 – SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT, Higher Ground
October 13 – BOSTON, MA, Wilbur Theatre
October 15 – MONTREAL, QC, La Tulipe
October 16 – TORONTO, ON, Phoenix Concert Theatre
October 17 – DETROIT, MI, Majestic Theatre
October 18 – CHICAGO, IL, Metro
October 19 – MADISON, WI, The Sylvee
October 21 – MINNEAPOLIS, MN, First Avenue
October 24 – PORTLAND, OR, Crystal Ballroom
October 25 – VANCOUVER, BC, Vogue Theatre
October 26 – SEATTLE, WA, Moore Theatre
October 28 – SAN FRANCISCO, CA, The Fillmore
October 29 – OAKLAND, CA, Fox Theater
October 30 – SANTA ANA, CA, The Observatory
November 1 – PHOENIX, AZ, Crescent Ballroom
November 2 – ALBUQUERQUE, NM, Sister
November 4 – AUSTIN, TX, Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheatre
November 5 – DALLAS, TX, Trees
November 7 – ATLANTA, GA, Variety Playhouse
November 8 – SAXAPAHAW, NC, Haw River Ballroom
November 9 – PHILADELPHIA, PA, Union Transfer
November 10 – WASHINGTON, DC, 9:30 Club
November 11 – COLUMBUS, OH, The Athenaeum Theatre
February 17 – LISBON, PT, LAV
February 18 – PORTO, PT, Hard Club
February 19 – MADRID, ES, Joy Eslava
February 20 – BARCELONA, ES, La 2 de Apolo
February 22 – BOLOGNA, IT, Locomotiv
February 23 – MILAN, IT, Magnolia
February 24 – LYON, FR, Epicerie Moderne
February 25 – PARIS, FR, Cabaret Sauvage
February 27 – LONDON, GB, Eventim Apollo
February 29 – NOTTINGHAM, GB, Rock City
March 1 – MANCHESTER, GB, Albert Hall
March 2 – GLASGOW, GB, Old Fruitmarket
March 5 – BRUSSELS, BE, AB Ballroom
March 6 – AMSTERDAM, NL, Paradiso
March 7 – COLOGNE, DE, Luxor
March 8 – HAMBURG, DE, Uebel & Gefährlich
March 9 – BERLIN, DE, Astra
March 11 – COPENHAGEN, DK, Vega Main Hall
March 12 – GOTHENBURG, SE, Pustervik
March 13 – STOCKHOLM, SE, Debaser
March 14 – OSLO, NO, Rockefeller
March 15 – AARHUS, DK, Voxhall