Over the course of two albums, Big Thief have established themselves as one of the best and most fervently beloved bands in indie rock. It’s not entirely clear what to call the music they make because Adrianne Lenker’s songs can take many shapes, from trembling folk ballads to explosive roots-rock epics. Live lately, they’ve been playing up their louder side. Watching them this past spring at the National’s Homecoming Festival, I was taken aback by their ability to conjure the Heartless Bastards one moment, Sonic Youth the next. Lenker was ripping guitar solos like Jack White out there. It was incredible to behold.
Some of that was new material will make its way onto the next Big Thief album. In the meantime, Lenker is showcasing the softer side of her oeuvre on a new solo album out this fall. The project is intended to compile the songs that have been pouring out of her as Big Thief make their way around the world. In a press release, she explains, “I want to archive the songs in their original forms every few years. My first solo record I made was Hours Were The Birds. I had just turned 21 and moved to New York City where I was sleeping in a warehouse, working in a restaurant and photographing pigeons. Now five years later, another skin is being shed.”
Lenker recorded this latest solo collection, abysskiss, with Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic after two weeks traveling through the American South. Today we get to hear its lead single, a gentle folk lullaby called “Cradle” marked by mercilessly pretty arpeggios and a spectral vocal performance. Listen below.
01 “Terminal Paradise”
04 “Out Of Your Mind”
07 “Blue And Red Horses”
08 “abyss kiss”
09 “what can you say”
10 “10 miles”
abysskiss is out 10/5 via Saddle Creek.