Big Thief - Two Hands

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the tweeter in question is a music editor at the nyt

oh boiee

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 16:40 (eight months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RXwe-v72rE

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 16:47 (eight months ago) link

make up your mind, is it gonna be 'to each his own' or 'fuck you if you say anything against this obvious gem'

― j., Tuesday, October 15, 2019 9:37 AM (fourteen minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

it's "don't even think of @-ing me"

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 16:51 (eight months ago) link

as a critical posture it's both dismissive and defensive, two things i think criticism should strive not to be but ymmv

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 16:52 (eight months ago) link

I am always more interested in critical writing that involves subjectivity and really digs into it that way, vs this sort of objectivity lording over how others are supposed to feel. There’s of course a middle ground, a vast one occupied by many. Idk i think there’s a bit more room for being generous towards music if you start to dig into your own reactions, maybe. But I think the ego of a decent number of writers means more personal opinions being passed off as fact, much more dismissiveness and contempt. Don’t @ me w/r/t this post.

omar little, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 16:56 (eight months ago) link

make up your mind, is it gonna be 'to each his own' or 'fuck you if you say anything against this obvious gem'

― j., Tuesday, October 15, 2019 11:37 AM (twenty minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

I mean I'm really not saying it's an "obvious gem," I just don't think "emperor's new clothes" is really an apt criticism? I don't particularly like Lana Del Rey, but I don't think she is "emperor's new clothes." Like there is objectively *something* there.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:01 (eight months ago) link

right i agree with you there, i'm not sure what the exact original formulation was but my interest is not in seeing the band as new-clothesey or as hype-driven epiphenomena of the criticism industry. someone itt put it better, i think, that they seem to be an instance of a more general phenomenon where actually musically respectable bands get caught in waves of overestimation by critics-fans because of their role in the impoverished indie rock milieu but rapidly subside in esteem—yet you would expect critics to be more reflective about this when praising bands like this.

j., Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:05 (eight months ago) link

you could also expect so-called critics to maybe explain why they don't like a piece of art rather than dropping a "this sucks and everyone who likes it is dumb" stink bomb and refusing to engage with anyone.

flopsy bird (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:07 (eight months ago) link

^^^^ this

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:09 (eight months ago) link

it's called editing!!!!!!!!!

j., Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:10 (eight months ago) link

I can't get over this choad referring to "'my charges." It reminds me of a National Review editor yelling at interns for using soy milk instead of REAL FUCKING CREAM in his coffee.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:14 (eight months ago) link

I mean, fwiw I've almost never enjoyed most of the NY Times' music criticism. Their house vibe seems to be very boring people trying to prove how fun they are through their appreciation of popular music.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:15 (eight months ago) link

doesn't it imply a custodial relationship, like the ones whom she has been tasked with shaping into fine critical wordsmiths and journalistic pros

j., Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:16 (eight months ago) link

I've always been annoyed by the whole "don't @ me" thing anyway, but it's one thing tagged onto the end of an obviously jokey tweet, another thing at the end of a weird (and, I'd say, misguided) blanket dismissal of any piece of art from a critic for a national outlet.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:19 (eight months ago) link

somehow i missed that this band switched drummers between masterpiece and capacity, previously i thought jason burger had developed a sudden restraint on the latter record lol. james krivchenia's quiet, understated, very in the pocket playing feels much more tied to the spirit of the band than the sick fills burger unleashes all over "real love" but i love those sick fills regardless

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:21 (eight months ago) link

haha so how many other ppl thought they had honed their intuitive communication when really they just dumped their lunkhead caveman

j., Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:24 (eight months ago) link

i mean it's both tbh

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:25 (eight months ago) link

anyway, i finally checked out two hands and it's unsurprisingly great. i think capacity is still my favorite of the three--they maybe hadn't turned into world-beaters yet, but the best songs on capacity still hit me the hardest (haley, mary, mythological beauty, great white shark).

everyone otm about how 'not' hits even harder in context of the record.

flopsy bird (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:26 (eight months ago) link

huh, I actually didn't realize that either, only I assumed Krivechnia had been the drummer on Masterpiece. I think that explains a big part of why I find that record more uneven as much as I like it. I always felt like the title track wasn't done the way it deserved to be due to that big rock splash it tries to make.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:26 (eight months ago) link

i don't think it's necessarily all his playing. there are many great songs on there that don't feel secure in their arrangements, some of them drumless ("velvet ring"). weird to think "paul" points the way to the rest of their discography but it does

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:36 (eight months ago) link

and "randy." good ol paul and randy, pointing the way

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:43 (eight months ago) link

"Paul" is still one of my very favorite songs of theirs

Simon H., Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:43 (eight months ago) link

Handwringing over Big Thief like this is giving me flashbacks to Music Tumblr

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:46 (eight months ago) link

if your guitarist is named buck, chances are he's pretty good, ex. big thief, blue öyster cult

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:46 (eight months ago) link

the buckaroos

mizzell, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:51 (eight months ago) link

R.E.M.

flopsy bird (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 17:51 (eight months ago) link

10,000 Maniacs

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 18:04 (eight months ago) link

i made a thread for masterpiece bc i heard the title track and "real love" and thought they were pretty tight and also at the time they were on saddle creek, who put out hop along's painted shut the year before. both bands felt special in a similar way. i'm def an unwitting victim of the pr machine

― american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, October 15, 2019 10:01 AM (three hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

ha my old roommate was a super trad rock dude who had white stripes posters on our living room wall. He would play new rock sometimes & I mostly found it super boring. I got into the first Big Thief album bc it was the best thing he played to my ears -- was a little embarrassed for liking it at first bc it had some indie-pop perpetua vibes which has never been my aesthetic wheelhouse but her voice was distinct enough & there were some surprisingly good songs on it, esp for such a familiar aesthetic, and after a few times hearing it I started listening to it on my own

had no idea the band was going to broaden its sound like it did but it was such an organic discovery process for me its difficult to follow that tweet

ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 18:20 (eight months ago) link

i don't like what i have heard of the new album which is not a lot but i would never ever dare to say it is not good. that's a very patronising statement. it's more like my ears and eventually my brain do not seem to be made to appreciate it. but i liked large chunks of the album before.

je est un autre, l'enfer c'est les autres (alex in mainhattan), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:01 (eight months ago) link

I feel the same as you, voodoo chili. Myself, what keeps me from full-bore adoring these most recent two albums are the Extremely Strong Lyrics that I was hearing on Capacity which are largely absent

i could chug a keg of you (flamboyant goon tie included), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:05 (eight months ago) link

i do not perceive as much of a gap between the lyrics of capacity and the following two records as you do fgti, but i get where you're coming from. the songs on capacity feel like they all have this personal specificity and inwardly-searching quality, and together they end up touching on gender and power dynamics, family, presence and absence, scenes of horror and beauty lining up simultaneously without a sense of irony and more with a sense of this is just how things happen. ufof is much more mystical and outwardly-directed and about getting kissed by the flicker of a lake but songs like "from" and verses like "driving through the night / rings of crystal, crystal light / every gulp of the warm suburb air / betsy's auburn, auburn hair"... idk it's less specific but i'm still stunned and a little terrified. i do not have a grip on two hands lyrically at the moment; imo "shoulders" is a capacity-quality lyric but "shoulders" is as old as capacity is

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:27 (eight months ago) link

in trying to make that post not horrible i ended up reading a lot of big thief lyrics and capacity's title track just has this perfect verse tucked away inside of it

Slipping away from the party
Totally vacant
Everyone gone from their bodies
You were outside kissing another
She was a friend of mine
I was surprised to discover
I wrapped my arms around her
She was a beautiful figure

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:29 (eight months ago) link

also really love "evelyn's kiss was oxygen / i leaned over to take it in" from "shark smile"

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:30 (eight months ago) link

shit doesn't even rhyme right

Whiney G. Weingarten, Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:35 (eight months ago) link

lyrics on UFOF were very hard for me to get a hold on (other than maybe From and Terminal Paradise). These already seem a little easier but still not as immediate as Capacity. I feel like she is very much not trying to write with the same level of immediacy though and is going for something more abstract and oblique.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:36 (eight months ago) link

shit doesn't even rhyme right

― Whiney G. Weingarten, Tuesday, October 15, 2019 12:35 PM (four minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

oh no i take it all back

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:39 (eight months ago) link

When she holds me in her jaw
All my blood dripping
Will I be free
To cease gripping?

is one that has been standing out for me so far

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:45 (eight months ago) link

tell me i'm rare

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:47 (eight months ago) link

When she holds me in her jaw
All my blood dripping
Will I be free
To cease gripping?

is one that has been standing out for me so far

― longtime caller, first time listener (man alive),

that's from "Wolf," right? It stood out in the car this morning, in part b/c there's nothing lupine about the arrangement.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:48 (eight months ago) link

capacity had beautiful, inward-facing lyrics that gave the quiet arrangements a steely intensity. UFOF had these super-intuitive, earwormy melodies that still pop into my head even though i haven't gone back and listened for a while. Two Hands, so far, is a more visceral listening experience with moments that show off just how tight these guys have become, but i'm feeling less emotional connection to the songs. there is still time for them to worm their way into my head like the last two albums did.

flopsy bird (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:53 (eight months ago) link

in about 20 years of seeing live music constantly, i can count on one finger the number of times i've seen a band perform a new song and have it immediately become my favorite of theirs. heck i've been all over the big thief threads obsessing over 'not' for about a year now.

preaching to the choir here, but this band is special

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 19:55 (eight months ago) link

Yeah I felt that way when I saw her solo live, and also "From" became my favorite song of theirs for a while after just watching a video of it once. In fact, when I saw her live I enjoyed hearing the unfamiliar songs much more than the familiar ones, and when she played "Paul" it almost felt trite.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 20:09 (eight months ago) link

Listening to this album now... not quite what I expected (one way or another) for something that kicked up all this discourse, but it's good... I like the song "Not" a lot. Her singing, and some melodies, remind me a bit of Will Oldham.

drunk on hot toddies (morrisp), Tuesday, 15 October 2019 22:59 (eight months ago) link

Will Oldham is a good reference point, yeah. I really like Two Hands, I don't know if more than U.F.O.F., but not less in any case. Song for song, it may be stronger.

It's funny to me for Big Thief to get called out as indie darlings, because I've had an aversion to a lot of indie darlings — TVOTR, Arcade Fire, most of the Strokes and Animal Collective — but I don't feel that way at all about them. Obviously they are indie darlings by definition, 9.0 in Pitchfork and all, but I think that's mostly because they're a good, interesting band. They remind me of some things I like, Blonde Redhead was the first thing that came to mind in some places, but are their own distinct and odd entity. The interplay between the musicians is as interesting as the songwriting, they have a particular cohesiveness that reminds me of Sonic Youth or R.E.M. in their earlier years, when you can hear the whole unit really coming together and exploring what they can do.

a man often referred to in the news media as the Duke of Saxony (tipsy mothra), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 02:13 (eight months ago) link

i know it doesnt choogle in the same way, but i feel like the psych guitar solo freakout of "not" lives in the same neighborhood as "ramble tamble" by ccr

i'm not a government man; i'm a government, man. (m bison), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 02:23 (eight months ago) link

this record has so many classic rock touchstones which is kinda refreshing in 2019.

still on not which is a monster, but the way the drummer lets fills go past the first of the next measure beat feels v mick fleetwood. the major-minor switch is p beatlesly and shows up a lot. there's a lot of traditional i-iv and i-iv-v chord progressions which i dont recall them using as much on previous records. uh, the second song reminds me of tom petty for some reason? "wolf" sounds kinda fahey-ish to me. it's like there's familiarity but enough variation where it's not just a pastiche. i dont know if i like this as much as capacity of ufof yet, altho "not" is absolutely my fav song by them. there is so much mileage out of those three chords. (someone better at music theory feel free to correct me, im an amateur)

i'm not a government man; i'm a government, man. (m bison), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 02:28 (eight months ago) link

i hear so much Silkworm in it but I'm sure that is entirely coincidental

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 02:46 (eight months ago) link

Silkworm was the first band I thought of when I heard the solo the first time.

Tim Midyett from Silkworm agrees, he tweeted this about "Not"

Missed the one after Masterpiece (so far), wasn't nuts about UFOF. Here once again tho...*very closely aligned* with my band's own jams and my overall preferences for a life in music, including the melody-wrecking coda (mmmmmwhah). So I love it

the solo is the most Andy Cohen thing i've ever heard that isn't Andy or Karl Hendricks. which is good, world needs more of it

woman in the dunes, Wednesday, 16 October 2019 03:25 (eight months ago) link

there's a lot of traditional i-iv [...]chord progressions which i dont recall them using as much on previous records

'we have the same power, we have the same power'

love ufof now btw, will revisit this one once i've played it out

lumen (esby), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 05:01 (eight months ago) link

not that they’ve never used it ofc

i'm not a government man; i'm a government, man. (m bison), Wednesday, 16 October 2019 10:43 (eight months ago) link


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