Saddle Creek Records has rarely, if ever, needed to renew its commitment to songwriters. From its early and most notable signees to the more recent heralding of bands like Hop Along and The Thermals, the Omaha label’s catalog finds both its standouts and safest bets prioritizing craft. Its two newest releases are no exception; in the last month Saddle Creek delivered the third full-length from Canada’s Land of Talk and the sophomore effort from Brooklyn’s Big Thief.
To start today’s double episode of On The Record, we explore Land Of Talk frontwoman Elizabeth Powell’s musings on the sense of loss that can pervade proper adulthood. Her new album, Life After Youth, is the product of a seven-year hiatus and keenly explores the anxieties spurred by oncoming middle age. Over a near-constant bed of bright yet fuzzy guitars, Powell sings in her crisp and politely Canadian lilt of the fight for genuine human connection and where and how it might not be too late to discover it.
At approximately the 13-minute mark, we move to Big Thief’s Capacity. Or more accurately, it moves us. The successor to Masterpiece has arrived after 13 just months, a turnaround that belies the seemingly endless well of feeling and composition that nourishes this new album. The oddity of songwriter Adrianne Lenker’s upbringing may no longer be a mystery to the world of indie rock, but the way she expertly transforms it into character voices across generations, state lines and natural metaphors certainly is.
Listen to our full podcast review here, and check out past OTR episodes featuring Conor Oberst, Bus Gas, Dave Ozinga and more below.
Podcast: Andrew Stellmon, Chance Solem-Pfeifer
Audio edit: Chance Solem-Pfeifer
Catch up with our On The Record podcast series this year and beyond with our playlist below. Recent episodes have covered albums by David Ozinga, Conor Oberst, Tim Kasher and John Freidel.