Following up their massively successful 2022, the indie folk-rock group Big Thief released a new single on July 19th titled “Vampire Empire,” along with a double-single vinyl pre-order. The new track will be backed with “Born For Loving You,” which will be released digitally on Sept. 13th.
“Vampire Empire” has become a staple of the band’s recent live shows. The song officially debuted to the internet through a performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that aired March 1st, leaving a studio version to be sought after – until now. The track opens with sparse instrumentation, centering vocals and bass while the gravelly guitar hides in the back. Upon the chorus’s entrance, singer/songwriter Adrianne Lenker crafts a memorable hook with her line-ending high notes. She proceeds to cue in a roar of the guitar with her passionate “falling, yeah” calls, only for it to disappear again for the second verse. Throughout the song, the band finds ways to build dynamics with their arrangement; cutting out chunks of instrumentation or ramping up the intensity of the vocal performance.
In a press release, Lenker breaks down the meaning behind the lyrics. “It’s about getting out of toxic internal patterns…learning about what healthy boundaries are, and finding the power to implement them…” she stated. The lines “Where you can’t seem to hold me, can’t seem to let me go / So I can’t find surrender, and I can’t keep control,” paint the problems of this relationship out, as Lenker reaches her emotional tipping point with this partner.
Big Thief will release a 7” vinyl containing “Vampire Empire” and “Born For Loving You” on Oct. 20th. “Born For Loving You” has also been captured by fans during recent live shows, commonly performed by Lenker as a slower, acoustic track. This run of vinyl is “very limited,” according to label 4AD.
The vinyl release can be pre-ordered now via 4AD or Bandcamp, and the single “Vampire Empire” can be streamed below. To catch Big Thief on the remainder of their North American tour, visit their website for tickets.