Tonight’s selections from Big Thief’s fifth album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (let’s refer it to as “Dragon” from here on out). An ambitious double album that echoes the sounds of Emmylou Harris, Dylan with The Band, Cowboy Junkies, Will Oldham and Neil Young. Take those artists as reference points; Big Thief offers up a fresh take on classic sounds.
As a friend of mine recently said of Dragon, “The kids on Twitter love that album” — with good reason; it’s a great record!
The problem with listening to albums by Big Thief is that at some point between the first and last tracks, there always comes a song so arresting that it forces you to stop. Much as you might want to follow instructions and dutifully stay seated with your ears inside the vehicle for the duration of the ride, there’s no choice but to back up, put the culprit on repeat, study the lyrics, marvel at a live version, and hopefully figure out how a song can simultaneously sound as if you were born knowing it and as if you’ve never heard anything like it before. The only way for me to push past “Paul” to reach the rest of Masterpiece, or to escape the pull of “Not” midway through Two Hands, is to listen to it too much. If I hammer it hard enough into my brain, I can gradually demagnetize it until the hold it has on me loosens. Only then can I accept, with some regret, that I still need other songs in my life, starting with the one waiting patiently on the playlist for me to overplay its predecessor.
Thus, it’s taken me almost a month to achieve a few familiarity milestones: the point where I recall the names and sequencing of songs; the point where I can sort of sing and air drum along to intonation and instrumentation without necessarily knowing every word; and most important, the point where the opening seconds of the next song start to tickle my brain during the closing seconds of the current song, creating an itch that gets scratched in satisfying, reassuring fashion as soon as the new number starts. But the extra time it took to map the many musical avenues of Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You (not to mention memorize its name) was well worth it, because Big Thief’s biggest album also happens to be their most richly rewarding. It’s a sweeping, high-concept statement that sounds like an impromptu, private performance, and its range of instruments, musical styles, and production techniques suits its size, approximating the platonic ideal of a double album. — The Ringer
Red Moon 
“What should we do now?” someone asks off-mic at the end of Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You. “Blue Lightning,” the last song, has just ended, its homey folk-rock atmosphere made briefly uncanny by the entrance of cheap synthetic brass in the final minute, punching out a two-note fanfare that an ordinary band would have assigned to an actual horn section. The speaker—presumably one of the three men in Big Thief who orbit singer-guitarist Adrianne Lenker—sounds dazed but satisfied. Clearly, they have nailed the take. So what next?
As punctuation for Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You, an album as gleefully overstuffed as its title, this moment of studio chatter feels deliberate despite its offhandedness. In 20 songs, Big Thief have rambled far beyond the bounds of their previous catalog. There is trip-hop that flickers like busted neon and a couple of country tunes so saturated with fiddle and close harmony that they seem at first like jokes. You might check the liner notes to divine the source of the strangely expressive clicking you hear in the background of a particular instrumental passage and find that someone has been credited with playing icicles.
Lenker’s subject matter, stated as briefly as possible, is everything: internet signals and falling leaves, vape pens and wild hairdos, the wounds we inflict on the planet and each other, the Book of Genesis, the mystery of consciousness, and yes, the humble potato. Dragon is as heavy in its lyrical concerns as any previous Big Thief record, and more ambitious in its musical ideas than all of them. But it also sounds unburdened, animated by a newfound sense of childlike exploration and play. Twenty times, it asks “What should we do now?”, and twenty times it finds a new answer. — Pitchfork
In this case, stuff like “Spud Infinity,” a song that arrives early to unfurl Big Thief’s freak flag once and for all. Complementing the aforementioned fiddle and down-home harmony vocals—from Twain’s Mat Davidson, who appears on several songs—is the unmistakable boing of a jaw harp, boinging jubilantly and relentlessly, blissfully and diabolically, on every last beat. The cumulative effect is something like a full-band version of the goofy southern accent Mick Jagger puts on when he sings country songs, which seems, for him, like a way of putting genre in quotation marks, signaling his awareness of his own inauthenticity by amplifying the hokiest parts of the put-on. Though Big Thief have taken many approaches to their music over the years, this sort of winking magpie postmodernism has not been one of them, so it’s strange to hear them leaning into a shtick.
But the longer you sit with “Spud Infinity,” and “Red Moon,” its closest counterpart, the less their hillbilly trappings come across like winks. The settings seem to have a liberating effect on Lenker’s relationship to language, giving her access to a conversational new register where quotidian details reflect the big picture in miniature, and silliness is a route to profundity. In the third verse of “Spud Infinity,” she rhymes “finish” with “knish” and laments human inability to kiss our own elbows, joints that spend their time “rubbing up against the edges of experience.” The song’s good-natured stroll from the dirt to the cosmos recalls John Prine or Michael Hurley, songwriters whose breezy humor has never previously worked its way into Big Thief’s music. — Pitchfork
Spud Infinity 
I was born into a religious cult in Indianapolis, straight up. They had an apartment complex in this one area, and there were all these rules. My parents met through church and got married really shortly after, when they were both searching for connection and meaning, just like everyone is when they’re 20.
They both carried heavy burdens from their childhoods and were growing up as they were raising us. And the church wasn’t like, “Hey, come join our cult”—they just made them feel like part of a community, beckoned them in with this warmth and acceptance. Then it revealed itself for what it was, and thank God my parents were just like, “We’re out of here.” I was only there until I was 4, but there was a lot of residual debris—I was coming out of what felt like a cloud of judgment and control for another four years.
At that point we lived out of our big blue van. I remember staying with all kinds of characters for a while, all around the Midwest. We stayed in Coon Rapids [Minnesota] in a tiny apartment with this Russian family: two parents and their five little kids, then three of us kids and my parents in a two bedroom. We stayed with these two women who were living this Amish lifestyle, so my sister and I had to wear dresses and scarves around our heads. I remember when my dad said we could wear pants—I was so stoked because I was a tomboy. I went straight into wearing long, baggy shorts and backwards hats.
We lived in 14 different houses until I was 8, renting here and there. My dad suddenly had this realization about the religious stuff. He felt like he’d been deceived and he was almost throwing religion off himself. It was like this pendulum that had swung all the way to one side with being repressed and pent up, so it just had to go to the other. My parents became very open, and it was a traumatic shift. We went from not celebrating any holidays to having our first Christmas and Halloween when I was 8 or 9.
At that point my parents bought a house [in the Minneapolis suburbs], but right before we bought the house, my dad was like, “We’re selling everything and moving into a bus, this is what God is telling us to do.” So, we sold all of it. And then, sure enough, that wasn’t what we were supposed to do. When we moved into the house, we just didn’t have anything, only lawn chairs in the living room, blankets and pillows to sleep on. — Adrianne Lenker
WHO’S TALKING TO WHO?
Jimmy Kimmel: Gwen Stefani, Jude Hill, Wilderado (R 3/24/22)
Jimmy Fallon: Sienna Miller, Judd Apatow, Big Thief
Stephen Colbert: Jane Krakowski, James McAvoy, Arlo Parks
Seth Meyers: Ben Stiller, Rose Matafeo, Brooke Colucci
James Corden: Maria Bakalova, Stephen Merchant, Wet Leg
Trevor Noah: pre-empted
Hey — Big Thief are on Fallon tonight!
A late night gathering for non serious palaver that does not speak of that night’s show. Posting a spoiler will get you brollywhacked. You don’t want that to happen to you. It's a fate worse than a fate worse than death.
Chicago neo-soul rockers. Love the mariachi outfits in this video. Singer/Guitarist is from Florida; she used to play drums in FL punk rock bands.
Waltzer :: Ugly Misfits 
LAST WEEK’S POLL: IN A LIFE OR DEATH SITUATION, WHICH ARE YOU MORE LIKELY TO DO?
Beat LeBron James in a game of 21 0% 0 votes
Get a hit off of Noah Syndergaard 0% 0 votes
Stop a free kick from Messi 22% 2 votes
Survive one round with Conner McGregor 0% 0 votes
Pick up Thor's Hammer 11% 1 vote
Forget it, I'm dead 67% 6 votes
Alright, which of y’all picked Messi?
STAR WARS TRILOGY
STAR WARS TRILOGY