Big Thief Preview

Author: Shaun Soman

Big Thief is having a moment. Having released not one, but two of the year’s best albums (U.F.O.F. and Two Hands are respectively the 24th and 3rd most highly ranked albums based on at least fifteen critical reviews on Album of the Year), the folk-and-indie-rock hybrid act firmly has — or should have — our collective attention. The astounding thing about Big Thief’s (almost) unprecedented success is that they’re hardly even in their prime. 

2016’s Masterpiece has a cute, tongue-in-cheek name, and standout track “Paul” is a rare tune that is sexy as hell even as it reduces listeners to crying messes, but the album could suggested room for improvement. Well, here we are just three and a half years later, and we are facing the possibility that Big Thief have released four straight classic records. At the very least, it would be unsurprising if, say in ten or fifteen years, we were to glance back on this fruitful period of their existence with reverence. 

Beyond Masterpiece, you genuinely cannot go wrong with any track. Need a rough-around-the-edges crooner? Adrianne Lenker’s vocals on “Shark Smile” will destroy you. Seeking a hazy romp through ambient dreamscapes? “Strange” has you covered. Think you’d like to try out a slow-burning gem? “Not” is straight fire for six minutes. One could wax poetic about dozens of other tracks, but if will suffice to say a few things:

a) Big Thief is damn good.

b) Their upcoming show at The Sylvee promises to be legendary. 

c) You, dear reader, should go to this.

As if Big Thief wasn’t enough to satiate concert-goers, Ellen Kempner’s Palehound will open the show. Having toured alongside Mitski prior to Miyawaki’s (indie) mega-stardom, it feels as if this tour will help launch Kempner to the next tier of indie rock stalwarts. Not familiar with Palehound, or hesitant about where to begin? Try out “Aaron” — just make sure you have tissues. The track offers a tender narrative about Kempner’s partner and may just be a highlight of the evening. 

Even though there are only two bands on the lineup, Saturday night’s show at The Sylvee is, without a shred of doubt, stacked. Take your friends. Take your lovers. Take your mail-person. Whatever you do, just be there because Big Thief and Palehound are doing special things at this point in space and time.