Tag Archives: Alternative Rock

On “U.F.O.F.,” Big Thief Encounter the Unknown

Big Thief

Photos by Alex Bortz

When I reach Adrianne Lenker by phone she’s just arrived in California—specifically, at an empty house in the hills of Topanga Canyon overlooking the ocean. In a few days, the house will become a temporary home for Lenker’s band Big Thief, which includes guitarist Buck Meek, bassist Max Oleartchik, and drummer James Krivchenia. The group will live here together for a month, and eat, sleep, and rehearse for their upcoming tour. But today, the mountaintop hideaway is Lenker’s alone—one in a long line of interim homes for the songwriter, who ditched her Brooklyn apartment three-and-a-half years ago in exchange for a life on the road. “We basically set out on tour and kind of never went back,” she says. “When I’m not touring, I’m just visiting with people, or renting, staying in an AirBnB or a motel. I like it, but the grass is always greener in a way. I think I’m craving a space where I can be still. But I imagine if I had the stillness, I’d be longing for the road.”

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Horsebeach Updates the Singular Melancholy of Manchester


Pick apart the celebrated scenes stemming from Manchester, England, and you’ll find a certain darkness lurking beneath all of them. Some of the touchpoints are obvious: the dystopian gloom of Joy Division, every word Morrissey’s put to paper. But even through the fog of Madchester’s ecstasy-fueled release, there was a sense that it existed partly because there was a need to escape from drudgery.

As Horsebeach, Ryan Kennedy makes a similar kind of comfortingly familiar, jangly music as his American peers like Real Estate and Beach Fossils—but his first two albums are hardly lazy-day beach highway road trips. Kennedy sings of loss, longing, and desire against a backdrop of reverb-drenched guitars. Throughout both records, escapism is coated in a greyish melancholy undertone—the kind that can only be found in Manchester.

Kennedy has a long history with the city. For years, he’s worked at celebrated record store Piccadilly Records—which is where the desire to start Horsebeach began.

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