Big Thief perform in The Current's studios

Big Thief perform in The Current's studio
Big Thief perform in The Current's studio (Emmet Kowler for MPR)
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Big Thief performs on The Current (music + interview)
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  • Big Thief performs on The Current (music + interview) 23:01
  • Big Thief - Capacity (Live on The Current) 03:51
  • Big Thief - Mythological Beauty (Live on The Current) 03:57
  • Big Thief - Mary (Live on The Current) 05:38

Big Thief are invested in the intricacies. As the Brooklyn indie rockers prepared to record their first session in MPR's Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser studio, they noodled back and forth with vocal parts and guitar pick-ups, deliberating between bass line options with soft voices and hearty opinions. That's why their two albums (Masterpiece and Capacity) have been so successful, some would argue: attention to detail paired with strenuous work.

The band -- Adrianne Lenker on guitar and vocals, Buck Meek on guitar, Max Oleartchik on bass, James Krivchenia on percussion, and guest performer Mat Davidson (of tourmates Twain) on piano -- backed up that hypothesis during their in-studio. While they performed "Capacity," "Mythological Beauty," and "Mary" from their new album Capacity, they exhibited care and discipline. But as mistakes happened, the band sagely rolled with them; Krivchenia, for one, embraced his "Mary" percussion fumble and started tossing all sorts of detritus to the floor.

Attentive listeners to "Mythological Beauty" may have picked up on the lyric referencing Nisswa, Minn., home of weekly turtle races and cutesy gift shops. Lenker lived there for a brief time, she told hosts Sean McPherson and Jill Riley. In fact, she moved around Minnesota for much of her childhood. During the band's stop in Minneapolis, they stayed with Lenker's grandma, eating "beautiful breakfasts" and drinking pot after pot of coffee.

Music of Big Thief's quiet, folk-rock genre tends to be described with a few key words, but this band manages to skirt the glossary. Their in-studio performance couldn't have been called enchanting, because there was nothing supernatural about it; not raw, because it sounded too pretty. Instead, "ideal" seemed to fit. Lenker's voice could not have been improved for its context. The unrelenting music soothed and stirred.

Hear Big Thief's interview and performance via the audio player above.

Songs performed

"Capacity"
"Mythological Beauty"
"Mary"
All songs from Big Thief's 2017 release, Capacity, available via Saddle Creek.

Hosted by Jill Riley and Sean McPherson
Produced by Anna Reed
Engineered by Michael DeMark and Matt Lentz
Visuals by Emmet Kowler
Web feature by Cecilia Johnson

Resources

Big Thief - official site

7 Photos

  • Big Thief perform in The Current's studio
    Big Thief perform in The Current's studio. L-r: Buck Meek, Adrianne Lenker, Max Oleartchik, James Krivchenia, Mat Davidson of Twain (Emmet Kowler for MPR)
  • Big Thief perform in The Current's studio
    Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief performing in The Current's studio (Emmet Kowler for MPR)
  • Big Thief perform in The Current's studio
    Adrianne Lenker and Max Oleartchik of Big Thief (Emmet Kowler for MPR)
  • Big Thief perform in The Current's studio
    Big Thief perform in The Current's studio (Emmet Kowler for MPR)
  • Big Thief perform in The Current's studio
    Big Thief perform in The Current's studio (Emmet Kowler for MPR)
  • Big Thief perform in The Current's studio
    Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief (Emmet Kowler for MPR)
  • Big Thief perform in The Current's studio
    Big Thief perform in The Current's studio (Emmet Kowler for MPR)

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