The band went to the desert and made an expansive, “on the brink” recording.

Big Thief

Two Hands

Big Thief’s second release of 2019, Two Hands, is raw. On the heels of their exceptional third album, U.F.O.F., the band moved into Sonic Ranch, located in hot, barren Tornillo, Texas, just over the Mexican border, and that stark environment informs the album. Recorded live, it’s a showcase for their interplay and sensitivity. But it has teeth, too. The album’s bedrock guitar tones are edgy, but that doesn’t overpower their nuance, hovering at the point of breaking up, which is the charm.

Two Hands’ peak is “Not,” which is pulsating, relentless, and boils over during Adrianne Lenker’s noisy, angular, dissonant fretwork that closes the track. “Wolf” follows, haunting and beautiful, in juxtaposition to “Not,” which, similar to the band’s barebones approach to recording, is illustrative of their depth. It’s a wonderful journey. A glimpse into an intimate, emotional space, but with room for growth and air to breathe.

Must-hear tracks: “Not,” “The Toy”

Bogner's beastliest amp is made miniature—and still slays.

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Bogner Ecstasy Mini


The original Bogner Ecstasy, released in 1992, is iconic in heavy rock circles. Though it was popularized and preferred by rock and metal artists (Steve Vai and Brad Whitford were among famous users), its ability to move from heavy Brit distortion to Fender-like near-clean tones made it appealing beyond hard-edged circles. Even notorious tone scientist Eric Johnson was enamored with its capabilities.

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