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Alternative & Indie - Released October 11, 2019 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music
Less than six months after releasing their highly acclaimed third album, U.F.O.F., the Brooklyn indie-folk band Big Thief returns with Two Hands. While its Irish twin sounds incredibly controlled and labored over, the majority of Two Hands are one-take recordings (tracked live in the middle of a Texas desert) with no overdubs, capturing the arresting beauty of their live performances. Lead single "Not" is the loudest and most intense Big Thief song to date. Frontwoman Adrianne Lenker’s croon is pushed to a panting rasp during the track’s teetering climax, and its second half is overtaken by a gangly, drawn-out guitar solo gracelessly deconstructing into ringing noise. However, despite the crashing drum fill that kicks off the record, "Not"’s striking diversion from their signature serenity is the album’s only moment of its kind. The main difference is that here, Big Thief sound looser and less concerned with painstaking prettiness. Instead, they let the tape roll and see what happens. Perhaps the most commendable aspect is that even without the benefit of studio wizardry, this band can still make magic happen. © Eli Enis / Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 3, 2019 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
UFO we understand. But UFOF? The additional F is for Friends according to Big Thief. UFOs and friends then? The band’s singer Adrienne Laker gives us a loose explanation: “Making friends with the unknown… All my songs are about this” With the guitarist Buck Meek, the bassist Max Oleartchik and the drummer James Krivchenia, Laker releases her third album. The Brooklyn quartet’s music is a sort of folk mixed with indie rock. Without sounding too much like them, this 2019 album sometimes contains the DNA of Sonic Youth (such as on Jenni). The result is alluring, almost shimmering. But upon a closer look, “UFOF” is a bizarre and strange, almost abnormal record. And like the late Elliot Smith (Laker’s idol that one recalls on Betsy), the beautiful melodies and tremendously artisanal guitars hide an evident melancholy and unusual, unnerving situations. Perhaps that would explain the UFOs? A less ‘polished’ and luxurious record than Masterpiece (2016) and Capacity (2017), UFOF shows a group ready to question itself and evolve its art. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Electronic/Dance - Released February 21, 2020 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Rising from the darkness of the Canadian rave scene at the start of the 2010s, Grimes quickly made her way up the ladder of success. Her synthetic hit Vanessa allowed her to amass a fanbase that was obsessed with her post-teenage voice and elfish look, and at the end of the 2010s, Pitchfork named Oblivion (written following a sexual assault and taken from her 2012 album Vision) the second-best song of the entire decade. It’s this kind of distinction that reminds us that she is an artist that knows exactly how to transcribe emotions into songs, and not just the girlfriend of multi-billionaire Elon Musk. Miss Anthropocene sees Grimes morph into a climate supervillain, a ‘goddess of plastic’ that’s here to take some of the heat off climate change. Musically, Grimes has not drastically changed, with a signature synth-pop sound that borrows from rock on My Name Is Dark, drum’n’bass on the excellent 4ÆM or trip-hop on So Heavy (I Fell Through the Earth), which reminds you of Massive Attack or Transglobal Underground. Well inspired, Grimes continues to hit the mark. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 6, 2020 | 4AD

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
U.S. Girls isn't as much a band as an ever-mutating organism. Begun by experimental songwriter Meg Remy in the late 2000s as a noisy solo act backed by reel-to-reel tapes, the project grew into a monolith of larger-than-life pop. 2018's In a Poem Unlimited was one of Remy's finest moments, with her polymathic songwriting bending disco-funk, glam rock, and ambient composition into new forms. Heavy Light expands on the colorful complexities of In a Poem Unlimited, with Remy dipping her toes in different styles on almost every song but retaining the experimental intensity that has always been at the core of U.S. Girls. Album opener "Four American Dollars" juxtaposes a light, summery soul instrumental with lyrics about destitution, poverty, and the inevitability of death. It's one of several moments on the album where Remy is joined by a host of powerful backing vocalists, a technique that's been flirted with on previous albums but is utilized to its fullest on these songs. This shows up in the form of girl group melodrama on eerie, beautiful songs like "IOU" and "Denise, Don't Wait" and theatrical synth-heavy glam rock on "The Quiver to the Bomb." The brief spoken interludes that showed up a few times on In a Poem Unlimited are swapped out here with several similar pieces, this time various voices stacked on top of each other answering survey questions about childhood memories. These interludes underscore themes of nostalgia and painfully looking back that become central to Heavy Light. "Woodstock '99" mulls over a stream of melancholic younger memories over a syrupy lite rock instrumental borrowed from late-'60s AM radio hit "MacArthur Park." Looking back also takes the form of several songs revisited from the U.S. Girls back catalog being reworked to various degrees of reinvention. Album standout "Overtime" takes on new life with the dramatic emphasis of newly added backing vocals, and album closer "Red Ford Radio," originally a dark smear of distorted vocals and looped drums on 2010's Go Grey, becomes a shockingly clear statement of fear and intensity. Remy takes a personal inventory throughout Heavy Light, sometimes contemplating the present but oftentimes remembering or returning to different threads from the past. It's another huge step forward for the uncontainable U.S. Girls organism, one that skillfully combines the immediacy of personal memories with Remy's uncanny ability to inject her singular creative voice into every sound she touches. ~ Fred Thomas

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