Posts Tagged ‘Julien Baker’

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Lots of new albums announced this week that is keeping us busy. Out this week the new Julien Baker album, which is very good indeed. It’s her third album ‘Little Oblivions’ shows off more of his incredible story-telling with an intimate stripped-back focus some copies in limited coloured vinyl with a free postcard available.

Very limited 7″ single fromKings Of Leon, released as a taster for the album out next week.

Beautiful new record from Lost Horizons with an excellent set of guests vocalists on limited coloured 2LP . Lost Horizons release their new album “In Quiet Moments” on Bella Union label. The album features a stellar array of musical guests including John Grant, C Duncan, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio, Penelope Isles, Karen Peris (the innocence mission), Tim Smith (of Midlake), Ren Harvieu and many more. With all those voices, it’s testament to its creators’ judgment that it all flows so beautifully.

This week’s Neil Young release is ‘Way Down In The Rust Bucket’, a live album from 1990, on a 4LP set and a deluxe box set.
A ‘Greatest Hits’ double album from The White Stripes is out too. The new Alice Cooper album “Detroit Stories” is worth a listen.
PJ Harvey
finally gets round to reissuing ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’. plus A ‘Demos’ edition of the labrum available for the first time too!
Stereolab
offer us a fourth instalment of their ‘Switched On’ compilations.
50th anniversary
reissue of the seminal ‘Tapestry’ album from Carole King.
4AD label reissue two early albums by The National as well an EP – ‘The National’, ‘Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers’ and ‘Cherry Tree’ all available now.

Sooo many quality reissues as usual  from PJ Harvey, Stereolab, The White Stripes Greatest Hits, The National, Deftones, Neil Young, Black Crowes, Alan Vega and the Melvins.

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Julien Baker – ” Little Oblivions “

Little Oblivions is the third studio album by Julien Baker. Recorded in Memphis, TN, the record weaves together unflinching autobiography with assimilated experience and hard-won observations from the past few years, taking Baker’s capacity for storytelling to new heights. It also marks a sonic shift, with the songwriter’s intimate piano and guitar arrangements newly enriched by bass, drums, keyboards, banjo, and mandolin with nearly all of the instruments performed by Baker.

 

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Neil Young and Crazy Horse – ” Way Down In The Rust Bucket “

Recorded on November 13th 1990 in Santa Cruz, CA, where the band were rehearsing for their upcoming Weld tour, Neil Young and Crazy Horse played a club show at The Catalyst which is now released here for the first time. The show comprised three different sets along with a 12 minute encore of Cortez The Killer and all 3 sets including that encore are brought together here in over 2 hours of music. Said to be one of the great live shows that Neil Young and Crazy Horse performed, the album includes live versions of songs from their Ragged Glory album, released just prior, along with classics from across their catalogue.

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Mt Mountain – ” Centre “

Hailing from Perth, Australia, Mt. Mountain deal in a sprawling, motorik psychedelic rock sound that journeys between tranquil, drone-like meditations and raucous, full-throttle wig-outs that’ll blow your mind as much as your speakers. Taking cues from Krautrock pioneers like Neu! and Can whilst existing in a similar world to contemporaries like Moon Duo, Kikagaku Moyo and Minami Deutsch, Mt. Mountain are formidable torchbearers of the minimal-is-maximal tradition. Musically, the band’s sound is born out of long improvised jams so naturally much of the album was recorded live to capture the band at their most freewheeling. Growing up surrounded by religion but not a follower himself, Stephen Bailey (vocals / organ / flute) describes how, thematically, much of Centre is a dissection of faith – both spiritual and secular – and his personal, often complicated relationship to it.

“The album for me, lyrically, is mostly about my experience of religion. It explores these concepts and the rules that were told to me from childhood to adulthood and my thoughts on my own connection to them. Similar themes arise between the tracks whether it be lyrically or structural, both a play on repetition and simplicity.” With a number of EPs and singles and three albums behind them – their 2016 debut Cosmos Terros, 2017’s Dust and 2018’s Golden Rise – the Perth quintet have picked up a formidable reputation in their homeland and further afield, thanks especially to their wildly all-consuming live shows. Constantly touring across Australia with each release, they’ve also shared the stage with notable down-under comrades like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and ORB, as well as a long list of international heavy-hitters including Sleep, MONO, Thee Oh Sees, Acid Mothers Temple and Moon Duo.

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Flyying Colours – ” Fantasy Country “

Australian four-piece Flyying Colours release their sophomore album; taking inspiration from the early 90s UK psych / shoegaze scene, Fantasy Country is rich in sonic texture and shimmering atmospherics with a heavy dose of melody. From the swooning, sludgy ‘Goodtimes’ and urgent noise-fest of ‘Big Mess’, to the gorgeous melodic pop of ‘OK’, Flyying Colours look to redefine noise within the context of pop music. Elsewhere, ‘It’s Real’ is perfect, summery dreampop while the crushingly loud ‘White Knuckles’ and chugging ‘Boarding Pass’ is a hazy, echo-laden spaced-out affair. Having released their critically acclaimed debut album Mindfullness in 2016, Flyying Colours have spent much of their time on the road with headline shows across the UK and Europe.

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Vapour Theories – ” Celestial Scuzz “

Vapour Theories New album from brothers John and Michael Gibbons, the guitarists from psychedelic drone legends, Bardo Pond. A “heavy ambient” instrumental masterpiece that explores the symbiotic relationship of the duo as they build and dismantle sounds on a unique ethereal trip.

A full-length follow up to Joint Chiefs from 2006, Celestial Scuzz is a monumental sound piece created from hours of jam sessions and crafted into a cohesive mind-blowing trip. The result has a heavy ambience, like Eno locked in a dark room with Sunn-O))))) rehearsing next door.

While Bardo Pond’s trajectory takes them deep into rock music’s ever-imploding sound, the brothers Gibbons surf a more ethereal and eclectic plain; from a heady and consuming space, a “sanctuary; balm for the soul.” Describing the writing process, Michael Gibbons explains it as “a kind of spiritual experience. Most of the time it leaves us stunned; the more stunned we are the better the jam.”

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Lande Hekt – ” Going To Hell “

Lande Hekt’s voice in music is one that’s socially aware yet often introspective, drawing awareness to serious issues but at the same time baring her soul. Much of Hekt’s compositions act as a personal diary of what’s going on in her life at any given time. This is evident in her discography with Muncie Girls, the band which she formed in her hometown of Exeter as a teenager and have released two critically acclaimed albums to date. This knack of combining her own experiences and feelings whilst highlighting larger socio-economic issues has carried through to her more contemplative solo material, which began life in an EP Gigantic Disappointment, self-released in 2019.

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Cloud Nothings – ” The Shadow I Remember “

For a band that resists repeating itself, picking up lessons from a decade prior is the strange route Cloud Nothings took to create their most fully-realized album. Their new record, The Shadow I Remember, marks eleven years of touring, a return to early song writing practices, and revisiting the studio where they first recorded together. In a way not previously captured, this album expertly combines the group’s pummelling, aggressive approach with singer-songwriter Dylan Baldi’s extraordinary talent for perfect pop. To document this newly realized maturity, the group returned to producer Steve Albini and his Electrical Audio studios in Chicago, where the band famously destroyed its initial reputation as a bedroom solo project with the release of 2012 album Attack on Memory.

Another throwback was Baldi’s return to constant song writing à la the early solo days, which led to the nearly 30 demos that became the 11 songs on The Shadow I Remember. Instead of sticking to a tried-but-true formula, his song writing stretched out while digging deeper into his melodic talents. “I felt like I was locked in a character,” Baldi says of becoming a reliable supplier of heavy, hook-filled rock songs. “I felt like I was playing a role and not myself. I really didn’t like that role.” More frequent writing led to the freedom in form heard on The Shadow I Remember. What he can’t do alone is get loud and play noisily, which is exactly what happened when the entire band— bassist TJ Duke, guitarist Chris Brown, and drummer Jayson Gerycz—convened.

The band had more fun in the studio than they’ve had in years, playing in their signature, pulverizing way, while also trying new things. The absurdly catchy Nothing Without You includes a first for the band: Macie Stewart of Ohmme contributes guest vocals. Elsewhere, celebrated electronic composer Brett Naucke adds subtle synthesizer parts. The songs are kept trim, mostly around the three-minute mark, while being gleefully overstuffed. Almost every musical part turns into at least two parts, with guitar and drums opening up and the bass switching gears. “That’s the goal—I want the three-minute song to be an epic,” Baldi says. “That’s the short version of the long-ass jam.”

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The Cramps – ” Psychedelic Redux “

The Cramps Another superior release from Ill Eagle Recs (They did that RnR Monster Bash and the revamped alt version of Songs The Lord Taught Us) Now…This is truly an amazing piece of vinyl, Pschedelic Jungle but not as you know it ! Looks like a lot of research and hard work has gone into this… it’s quality… From the sleeve artwork and the liner notes. Compiled from very rare sources, Demos, Rehearsals and selected live tracks. It chronicles the development of The Cramps 2nd release. Plain and simply magnificent !.

Sooo many quality reissues as usual  from PJ Harvey, Stereolab, The White Stripes Greatest Hits, The National, Deftones, Neil Young, Black Crowes, Alan Vega and the Melvins.

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The Distillers – The Distillers

Transparent Green With White And Black. To call The Distillers simply a punk band doesn’t do justice to either the band or the word “punk”. Guitarist, lyricist, and vocalist Brody Dalle uses her medium as a platform for a higher plane of visceral lyricism and independence. Few modern day-punk icons have not only embodied the genre so truthfully but also transformed the depth of what it can mean so thoroughly. Recorded in 2000, their self-titled album Distillers is a throwback to the raw, inyour-face aggression reminiscent of late 1970s / early 1980s punk. Fast and forceful cuts likeL.A. Girl, Oh, Serena, and Girlfixer are still exhilarating and inspired. In celebration of the 20th anniversary, Distillers has been remastered and is available on coloured Vinyl for the first time.

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Fountains of Wayne – ” Fountains Of Wayne “

Fountains of Wayne is one of those rare bands that digs back into what pop music is all about – good, fun tunes. Their self-titled debut studio album was released in 1996. Recorded when the band was just a duo, Chris Collingwood and the late Adam Schlesinger provided almost all the instrumentation during the recording. Schlesinger and Porter had also been members of The Belltower, and bassist Danny Weinkauf later played with Lincoln before joining They Might Be Giants. Although the songs were written over a period of years (as outlets to make each other laugh through inside jokes and references to suburban New York and New Jersey), the album was recorded in just five days. The song writing is straightforward and wonderful; nearly every song is a pop gem. The result is an innovative album – very few albums released in the 90’s are this pleasant, charming, and all-round likeable.

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PJ Harvey – ” Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea “

The fifth PJ Harvey studio album Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea. Produced by PJ Harvey with Rob Ellis and Mick Harvey, and originally released in October 2000, Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea features the singles Good Fortune, A Place Called Home and This Is Love and includes a duet with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on This Mess We’re In..

The album won the Mercury Music Prize in 2001. Reissue is faithful to the original recording and package, cutting by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of longtime PJ Harvey producer Head.

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PJ Harvey – ” Stories From The City Stories From The Sea Demos “

PJ Harvey Collection of unreleased demos of every track written for the fifth PJ Harvey studio album Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, including demos of Good Fortune, A Place Called Home and This Is Love. 
Audio has been mastered by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering under the guidance of longtime PJ Harvey collaborator Head. Features brand new artwork with previously unseen photos by Maria Mochnacz.

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Beachwood Sparks – ” Beachwood Sparks “

The original 2000 Sub Pop alt country masterpiece remastered replete with previously unreleased tracks. Never before issued on vinyl.

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The National – ” The National ” (Reissue)

The National Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2021, The National’s self-titled debut album of sozzled Americana is a thing of beauty, laden with heavy hints that this was a special band in the making.

Their first release, The National arrived two years after The National formed, a time when they were juggling bandlife with needing to hold down full-time jobs. And while nods to the alt. rock artists that inspired them (Pavement, Silver Jews) can be heard, so too are the beginnings of something all their own – Matt Berninger’s stunning and unexpected lyrics being pinned to melodies that stop you in your tracks.

The National marks the start point for one of the best bands of their generation with its new master helping elevate it to new levels. A great primer to a great band.

Having been remastered at Abbey Road Studios, the 2021 represses stay faithful to their original artwork while their stunning new masters help make these much-loved records sound as vital as ever, further emphasising the early signs of the sound that would go on to make them one of the fi nest and most beloved alternative bands of their generation.

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The National – ” Cherry Tree EP ” (Reissue)

Released a year before The National broke through with their third album Alligator, 2004’s Cherry Tree EP is a thrilling record which – thanks to its collection of delicate ballads and anthemic crowd-pleasers – sums up what they do best in under 30 minutes. Now a firm fan-favourite, among Cherry Tree’s seven tracks are now National classics About Today and All The Wine, plus a thrilling live version of Murder Me Rachael that reminds of the band’s fearsome early live performances. Cherry Tree can be seen as the record that marks the moment when The National had truly found themselves, a bridge from what went before to a band ready to conquer the World.

Having been remastered at Abbey Road Studios, the 2021 represses stay faithful to their original artwork while their stunning new masters help make these much-loved records sound as vital as ever, further emphasising the early signs of the sound that would go on to make them one of the fi nest and most beloved alternative bands of their generation.

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The National – ” Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers ” (Reissue)

The National’s second album, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers (2003) proved a leap forward from 2001’s eponymous debut, showing a band adept at delivering warm embraces and gut punches in equal measure.

With word of mouth now spreading on the band, critics proved equally enthusiastic… Pitchfork in their glowing review called it a “Gorgeous train wreck” that “Lives up to its blunt title (with) Matt Berninger’s self-eff acing barbs matched by the band’s equally potent hooks,” while Uncut also became early champions saying the album was “A genuine treasure… Livid as a bruise, this is brave, desperate, beautiful music.”

No longer a secret among those that know, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers is an important record in The National’s discography with this new remaster showing that it’s more than standing the test of time. Having been remastered at Abbey Road Studios, the 2021 represses stay faithful to their original artwork while their stunning new masters help make these much-loved records sound as vital as ever, further emphasising the early signs of the sound that would go on to make them one of the fi nest and most beloved alternative bands of their generation.

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Yumi Zouma – ” EP I “

Repress of Yumi Zouma’s debut ​EP​. Originally released in 2014, ​EP ​represents the world’s introduction to the New Zealand dream-pop band Yumi Zouma. Though the project has since grown considerably in profile, releasing their 2020 album ​Truth or Consequences​, their winsome allure remains. ​EP​ features early favourites from the band’s catalogue including “The Brae” and “Salka Gets Her Hopes Up.”

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Yumi Zouma – ” EP II “

Originally released in 2016, EP II found the New Zealand band coming into their own as songwriters, developing their “soft-focus synth-pop” (Pitchfork) with hints of electronic piano-house pulse (“Alena”) and anthemic, movie-ready choruses (“Catastrophe”). Though the project has since grown considerably in profile (in 2020 year the band released their third full-length album Truth or Consequences), their winsome allure remains.

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Julien Baker’s solo debut, Sprained Ankle, was one of the most widely hailed works of 2015. The album, recorded by an 18-yearold and her friend in only a few days, was a bleak yet hopeful, intimate document of staggering experiences and grace, centered entirely around Baker’s voice, guitar, and unblinking honesty. The album appeared on year-end lists everywhere from NPR Music to New York Magazine’s Vulture.

For years, Baker and a group of close friends have performed as the band Forrister (formerly The Star Killers), but when college took her four hours away, her need to continue creating found an outlet through solo work. The intent was never to make these songs her main focus, yet the process proved to be startlingly cathartic. As each song came into shape, it became more apparent that Baker had genuinely deep, surprisingly dark stories to tell from her thus far short life . Tales of her experiences are staggering, and when set to her haunting guitar playing, the results are gut wrenching and heartfelt, relatable yet very personal.  There’s something wonderfully hypnotizing about Baker gently confessing her soul with such tremendous honesty. Baker has met critical acclaim for her performances and song writing, described as emotively cathartic, as well as a fresh take on folk music. Her album Sprained Ankle has been described as featuring pared-back fragile songs, while Turn Out the Lights features more developed song structures while retaining the raw emotion of its predecessor

Baker has opened for artists including Death Cab for Cutie, Conor Oberst, The Decemberists, Belle & Sebastian, Paramore, The Front Bottoms, and Manchester Orchestra. Julien Baker won the hearts of music lovers right out of the gate with the startling intimacy and meticulous craftsmanship of her 2015 debut, Sprained Ankle. Her sophomore album from the following year, Turn Out the Lights, built on that with a somewhat more elaborate sound palette, recorded at Ardent Studios. Since then, her only release has been the 2018 EP by boygenius, a collaborative effort with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, and fans have been scanning the skies for any new solo work with great anticipation.

Now the wait is nearly over, with two new videos heralding the release of her third album, “Little Oblivions”, due out on February 26 via Matador Records.

In 2017 she was signed to Matador Records.  In 2018, Baker formed the supergroup Boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, both with whom she had toured previously. The group released three songs in August of that year and subsequently announced an EP and accompanying tour.  The EP, self-titled boygenius, was released on October 2018.

In 2020, Baker, alongside Boygenius bandmates Bridgers and Dacus, recorded background vocals for the Hayley Williams’ song “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris” ahead of the release of Williams’ debut album, Petals for Armor.

“Sprained Ankle” (2015)

Julien Baker was a member of the band Forrister when she recorded a solo EP of songs that didn’t fit her band. Using her friend’s free studio time, she recorded demos, and she travelled to Richmond, Virginia, to record sparse versions of her songs. The songs were recorded quickly and released on Bandcamp as an EP – ‘Vessels’ and ‘Brittle Boned’ were added to the record later. While the arrangements are low-key, Baker’s songs often deal with big issues like addiction and faith. The stark sound works for Baker’s heartfelt songs, making them rawer and more poignant.

People quickly started to share the album, including a video version of her song, “Something” — shot in a Memphis parking garage by local filmmaker Breezy Lucia — but it wasn’t until Rhorer and 6131 contacted her about a record deal that she realized what was happening. On her new label’s advice, she took the record down from Bandcamp until it could be mastered and formally released.

Memphis, TN-based songwriter Julien Baker is the latest addition to the Matador Records roster. The 21-year-old’s devastating and vulnerable debut album, Sprained Ankle, which was originally released in 2015 and now gets re-released by Matador. The album was recorded at Spacebomb Studios, though Julien’s songs don’t share the down-home gloss of the other albums produced there. Instead of beefing up her honest tunes with rich layering like Natalie Prass or Matthew E. White, Baker pares her songs down to their simplest possible format: alone, singing and playing acoustic guitar directly into the microphone, sometimes in a single take. That decision resulted in a remarkable record, one full of beautiful, personal explorations revealed in stark intimacy. That choice makes a lot of sense for Baker’s voice, both in the literal and figurative sense. Rather than Prass’ sweet, soaring tones or White’s blue-eyed soul, Sprained Ankle is delivered in reedy whispers and chilled coos. Released just before she turned 20 years old, the record still sounds raw – not that her voice lacks control or power, but rather that the weariness of songs about death, breakups, and existential questioning are sung with incredible presence. They’re coming of age songs from someone still coming of age, the wounds still fresh, the big truths currently being revealed. There are the struggles of depression, drugs, loneliness, but the clear-eyed way she faces it all supersedes any platitude.

Sprained Ankle becomes more immersive the deeper it gets into the running list. Baker’s vocals take flight on ‘Rejoice’ – “I rejoice, and complain/I never know what to say/But I think there’s a god and he hears either way” is a great line. The keening electric guitar of ‘Vessels’ is a lovely accompaniment for Baker’s voice, while ‘Go Home’ is a cathartic closer, concluding with a piano version of modern hymn ‘In Christ Alone’. There’s great stuff at the start of the record too – the double-tracked vocals on tracks like ‘Good News’ are the only indication that these songs weren’t laid down in one sitting, while ‘Blacktop’ is typically confessional.

“Blacktop” the first track on her debut solo album, is a lonely song, maybe her loneliest, though it has some strong competition. When she asks, in the next verse, that some intervening divine, the same that saved her life, “come visit me in the back of an ambulance,” it is with the longing of something barely missed, rather than any certainty in her good fortune.

Sprained Ankle is a lovely debut, with Baker’s songs often immersive.

in 2016, Baker performed in an NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert, During that set she referenced a new song, “Sad Song #11”, which was later retitled “Funeral Pyre” and released as a single, with “Distant Solar Systems” as the b-side. Baker contributed the song “Decorated Lawns” to the Punk Talks winter compilation Jingle Yay, released in December.

Turn Out The Lights (2017)

Baker’s second album was recorded in a mere six days, with Baker handling most of the instruments, but it feels slick after the rawness of “Sprained Ankle”. There’s still no rhythm section, but Baker adds touches of violin, clarinet, and saxophone. It lacks the lo-fi intensity of Sprained Ankle, and the songs are less memorable, but it’s still a worthy follow-up.

With Turn Out the Lights, Baker returns to a much bigger stage, but with the same core of breath-taking vulnerability and resilience. From its opening moments  when her chiming, evocative melody is accompanied by swells of strings  “Turn Out the Lights” throws open the doors to the world without sacrificing the intimacy that has become a hallmark of her songs. This evolution from ‘Sprained Ankle’s intentionally spare production allows Baker — who is still the album’s sole producer and writer — greater scope and freedom. Strings and woodwinds now shade the corners of her compositions, and Baker takes to piano rather than guitar on several tracks, pushing the 21-yearold Baker’s work to cinematic heights of intensity.

Julien Baker releases her highly anticipated second album Turn Out The Lights via Matador Records. The album arrives nearly two years to the day after Baker’s debut LP, Sprained Ankle, which was widely acclaimed by outlets including The New York Times, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Noisey, and MOJO, among others. Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Baker’s hometown of Memphis, TN, Turn Out The Lights expands upon the sound and vision of Sprained Ankle while retaining the haunting, confessional song writing style for which she has become known. Throughout the album, Baker reflects on experiences of her own and those closest to her, exploring the internal conflicts that wrestle inside us all: how we deal and cope with our struggles, and how it all impacts both ourselves and our relationships of all kinds. The result is a deeply empathetic album that embraces the greys and complex truths of humanity and mental health. Turn Out The Lights was written and produced by Baker. 

The moment that comes closest to recapturing the intensity of Sprained Ankle is ‘Sour Breath’, with Baker screaming “The harder I swim, the faster I sink”. ‘Sour Breath’ is nestled between other lovely songs like ‘Appointments’ and the sparse piano of ‘Televangelist’ – Baker also plays organ on the latter. The second half is less memorable than the first, but ‘Hurt Less’ is lovely.

Turn Out The Lights suffers from sequel-itis a little, but it’s a fine record on its own terms.

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Red Door (2019)

On the heels of her triumphant Matador debut Turn Out The Lights and the critically acclaimed collaborative EP ‘boygenius’, Julien Baker returns with her first new solo recordings in 18 months, “Red Door / Conversation Piece”, available exclusively for Record Store Day 2019. The 7”vinyl features the first studio recording of a fan favourite Red Door, previously only heard live, and a previously unreleased cut begun during the Turn Out The Lights sessions,  7″ – Limited Red Vinyl only.

Little Oblivions (2021)

With a new album, Little Oblivions, about to drop on Matador on February 26th, Julien Baker is surfacing more and more these days. It’s good to have her back. The Memphis native has gone from success to success simply by sticking to her unique blend of the cathartic confessional, from the intimate to the dramatic. Though her voice has always powerfully navigated both whispers and roaring melodies, it seems she’s grown into her range even more as the years have gone by. That was especially in evidence last night, when she led her band through “Faith Healer,” the album’s first single, on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

Baker’s third album is due in late February 2021, and it looks like it will include a rhythm section. “Little Oblivions” will be the third studio album by Julien Baker. Recorded in Memphis, TN, the record weaves together unflinching autobiography with assimilated experience and hard-won observations from the past few years, taking Baker’s capacity for storytelling to new heights. It also marks a sonic shift, with the songwriter’s intimate piano and guitar arrangements newly enriched by bass, drums, keyboards, banjo, and mandolin with nearly all of the instruments performed by Baker. “Faith Healer” was released in October, and portends a more ambitious approach to production than Turn Out the Lights. While that album filled in her sound more than her debut, it was still rather minimalist, for the most part. Now Baker brings us the sound of a rock band, albeit one still laced with all the introspection of her previous work. 

Upon the release of “Faith Healer,” the artist released this statement: 
Put most simply, I think that ‘Faith Healer’ is a song about vices, both the obvious and the more insidious ways that they show up in the human experience. I started writing this song 2 years ago and it began as a very literal examination of addiction. For awhile, I only had the first verse, which is just a really candid confrontation of the cognitive dissonance a person who struggles with substance abuse can feel— the overwhelming evidence that this substance is harming you, and the counterintuitive but very real craving for the relief it provides. When I revisited the song I started thinking about the parallels between the escapism of substance abuse and the other various means of escapism that had occupied a similar, if less easily identifiable, space in my psyche.

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This last year, indie rockers Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers all released acclaimed solo albums. The three Singer Songwriters guitarist-vocalists were booked on a North American tour together, with Baker and Bridgers co-headlining and Dacus opening. But that wasn’t enough: They also quickly formed a supergroup, and gave it a tongue-in-cheek name that nods to how women are rarely called geniuses with the frequency the way their male peers are. After the trio released its self-titled EP, on which they take turns in the frontwoman role and elsewhere blend their voices and instruments together in perfect bliss. The EP’s uniting thread, though, will surely be the clear-cut lyricism they all have in common, which packs a witty punch line after line. Some might even call it genius.

The debut from rock supergroup boygenius has only one real flaw: it’s much too short. Its length (still on the longer side for an EP, at six songs) is forgivable, though: The women behind boygeniusPhoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus—are busy artists. They’ve each released a critically-adored solo LP in the last year or so and have thusly been swamped with promotional duties and live performances. So although these ladies aren’t technically “new artists,” their supergroup is new, and music is better for it. On boygenius, the three become one, miraculously and pristinely so. Bridgers, Baker and Dacus pack a novel’s worth of narrative and as many masterful melodies (not to mention harmonies) into just 21 minutes that will leave you feeling as if you’ve had the wind knocked right out of you.

The album ends on an especially magical note. On “Ketchum, ID,” Bridgers, Dacus and Baker assume soprano, alto and tenor and churn up a harmony so handsomely melancholic you’ll find yourself snatching tissues without even knowing why. It’s a fitting epilogue, too, that chronicles the band’s shared experience as touring musicians, and the emotional heaviness following those long nights in unfamiliar places. “I am never anywhere / Anywhere I go,” they sing in unison. “When I’m home I’m never there / Long enough to know.” Those are devastating words, but, at the same time, you get the feeling Bridgers, Baker and Dacus have found some sense of home in one another.

boygenius performed songs off their first EP live at Brooklyn Steel for Pitchfork Live

Setlist: 0:50 Souvenir 5:10 Bite the Hand 8:50 Stay Down 13:35 Me & My Dog 17:50 Salt in the Wound 23:35 Ketchum, ID

Their mutual experiences are what unite them, and that bond bleeds through this music in every buzzing, beautiful bar.

Julien Baker has announced her third full length album titled “Little Oblivions”, which is set for a February 26th 2021. Released via Matador Records. In addition to the album announcement, Baker also shared the first single off the new record, titled “Faith Healer” coupled with a music video directed by Daniel Henry.

In Baker’s own words: Put most simply, I think that “Faith Healer” is a song about vices, both the obvious and the more insidious ways that they show up in the human experience. I started writing this song two years ago and it began as a very literal examination of addiction. For awhile, I only had the first verse, which is just a really candid confrontation of the cognitive dissonance a person who struggles with substance abuse can feel — the overwhelming evidence that this substance is harming you, and the counterintuitive but very real craving for the relief it provides. When I revisited the song I started thinking about the parallels between the escapism of substance abuse and the other various means of escapism that had occupied a similar, if less easily identifiable, space in my psyche.

There are so many channels and behaviours that we use to placate discomfort unhealthily which exist outside the formal definition of addiction. I (and so many other people) are willing to believe whomever — a political pundit, a preacher, a drug dealer, an energy healer — when they promise healing, and how that willingness, however genuine, might actually impede healing. ‘Little Oblivions’ is the third studio album by Julien Baker. Recorded in Memphis, TN, the record weaves together unflinching autobiography with assimilated experience and hard-won observations from the past few years, taking Baker’s capacity for storytelling to new heights. It also marks a sonic shift, with the songwriter’s intimate piano and guitar arrangements newly enriched by bass, drums, keyboards, banjo, and mandolin with nearly all of the instruments performed by Baker.”

Releases February 26th, 2021

 

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Divine, dreamy indie-pop with from New York-born, Nashville-based artist Becca Mancari. She’s got that ultra-honest approach to her lyrics. She doesn’t shroud her tales in metaphor, preferring to flat-out tells us about how it felt to come out, how her super religious family reacted and how it’s affected her. Honest and beautiful songwriting. Becca Mancari is a traveler. She’s lived everywhere — Staten Island, Florida, Zimbabwe, Virginia, India, Pennsylvania — and she’s collected plenty of tales along the way, spinning the sounds and stories of the modern world into songs. Expanding beyond the homespun rootsiness of her critically acclaimed debut to incorporate a grittier, more experimental palette, Becca Mancari’s captivating new collection, ‘The Greatest Part,’ lives in a liminal space between grief and joy, pain and forgiveness, sorrow and liberation. The record, produced by Paramore drummer Zac Farro, marks a significant sonic and emotional evolution, balancing unflinching self-examination with intoxicating grooves and infectious instrumental hooks fueled by explosive percussion and fuzzed out guitars.

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A lot of people were introduced to Becca Mancari as a member of Bermuda Triangle alongside Brittany Howard, but Becca had also released her debut solo album Good Woman right around the same time Bermuda Triangle put out their first single, and Good Woman proved Becca was a worthwhile artist in her own right. It’s one of the past few years’ true gems; an alt-country record with an indie rock edge and truly timeless songwriting.

For its follow-up The Greatest Part, Becca signed to Captured Tracks — an indie pop label who at this point are probably best known for signing Mac DeMarco — and she produced it with Paramore drummer Zac Farro, who also makes Tame Impala-esque psych-pop as Halfnoise. (Plus, there’s backing vocals on “First Time” and “I’m Sorry” by Julien Baker.) The Greatest Part is probably the first album to ever make “Captured Tracks,” “country,” and “Paramore” one degree of separation from each other, and you can hear the center point of that unique venn diagram in the sound of these songs as much as you can see it on paper. Zac’s influence is felt in the psych-pop guitar work that pops up from time to time, and much more so than Good Woman, this album has an indie/dream pop side that sounds right at home on Captured Tracks. Becca hasn’t abandoned her folk/country roots, though, and the fusion of all of these sounds makes for an album that breaks down even more musical boundaries than Good Woman did. The sounds that Becca experiments with on this album are new, but what hasn’t changed is how impactful her song writing and delivery is. She still has a knack for wrapping powerful storytelling in warm melodies, and delivering each word in a way that captures your attention and doesn’t let it go.

Her new album The Greatest Part will be out at the end of June.

 

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Soon, Paramore leader Hayley Williams will let her first-ever solo album Petals For Armor. She has already shared a whopping five tracks from the LP. Today, she shares a sixth, and it’s easily the most anticipated song on the album.Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus all sing on “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris,” the new single that Williams has shared today. It’s the first time we’ve heard all three members of boygenius together since they finished touring behind their truly great 2018 EP. But this isn’t a boygenius song with Williams on it; it’s the opposite. “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris” is a skittering, personal pop song, and it sounds a whole lot like the other solo songs that Williams has released. Like most of those songs, it’s really good, too. It carries serious 1996 modern-rock-radio vibes. And those harmonies really are something.

Williams co-wrote “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris” with her Paramore bandmate Taylor York, who produced Petals For Armor, and with pop songwriter and producer Daniel James. It has some seriously busy strings, and the bridge goes hard.

Hayley Williams has shared a new solo single with boygenius, “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris,” taken from her forthcoming album Petals for Armor, out on May 8th via Atlantic Records. “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris” is a floral-themed, sultry tune with background vocals from boygenius—the beloved indie supergroup of Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker. The string arrangements and subtle guitar lines give it a distinctly yearning quality and an underlying sadness.

JULIEN BAKER – ” Tokyo “

Posted: February 25, 2020 in MUSIC
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Julien Baker was barely 20 when she released her debut album Sprained Ankle, but she voiced her creative frustrations as if she’d already been at this for decades: “Wish I could write songs about anything other than death,” she lamented on the title track. Songs about death may be almost as old as death itself, but each time Baker meditates on giving up the ghost—in her solo work, with her supergroup boygenius, or in a tribute to Frightened Rabbit’s late frontman—her perspective feels chillingly new.

Such is the case with “Tokyo,” a new-to-streaming single Baker released earlier this month as part of a Sub Pop vinyl series. It opens with a hypnotic ascendant arpeggio that initially feels alien to Baker’s usual stripped-down arrangements. But seconds in, her chugging guitar takes over, propelling one of her most affecting songs to date. “Don’t wanna stay here/But I’ll crash anyway,” she sighs over scattered piano notes, likening her own emotional precariousness to a rocky plane landing: “Never learned how to come down without burning up on the runway.” She depicts her inner turmoil as a “seven-car pileup,” calling to mind her deliberations on seat belts from Turn Out the Lights highlight “Hurt Less.” This time, instead of recognizing the value of her own safety, Baker’s coming to terms with the inevitable. “You want love/This is as close as you’re gonna get,” she bellows, her vocals as agonizing as ever. The instrumentation swells with her pain, emulating the startling intensity of a crash landing—and then, just like that, silence.

Because it’s Julien Baker, that’s why. Whenever Julien Baker makes new music, I will buy and enjoy that music. Case in point, these songs.

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Released October 11th, 2019

2019 Sub Pop Records

Undoubtedly the highlight on the “Tiny Changes” Frightened Rabbit tribute album—a record that was almost finished before lead singer Scott Hutchison’s tragic death and one that took on a completely different meaning by the time of its release about a year later—Julien Baker slows down the Midnight Organ Fight album opener, turning the upbeat rock song into something much more her own. Beginning with the guitar atmospherics that dot the entirety of her own material, it proceeds to build to a huge crescendo, only to completely lose almost all the instrumentals for the final chorus. Where the original’s finale seems hopeful that maybe, just maybe, Hutchison’s ex will give him one more chance (“You should sit with me and we’ll start again / And you can tell me all about what you did today”), Baker’s version knows the answer and you can hear it in her voice, distant and longing.

Taken from Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’

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KEXP finally unveiled boygenius‘ 2018 performance this spring, and with it came the proper recording their radio- and tour-only rendition of “Cowboy Take Me Away.” Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus’ tribute to fellow trifecta Dixie Chicks is full of a melancholy yearning that makes it feel like a spiritual companion to boygenius closer “Ketchum, ID.” Trading verses about longing to be held under the stars and to stand alone under sublime skyscraper-free skies, the trio share the same conflicting desires that made them want to “dissolve the band” and “move to Idaho”: to find solitude and to find belonging, for stability and for freedom. With twinkly mandolin and violin from frequent Baker collaborator Camille Faulkner, boygenius’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” is rustic and wistful, but with an overarching sweetness, purity and even delight.

From Baker’s first infectious, irrepressible grin to the giggles the moment the song ends, it seems the peace the three are searching for isn’t so far out of reach. Baker, Bridgers and Dacus are each formidable forces as cover artists in their own right, as this list attests. Together, they sound completely free—and completely at home.

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Undoubtedly the highlight on the “Tiny Changes” Frightened Rabbit tribute album—a record that was almost finished before lead singer Scott Hutchison’s tragic death and one that took on a completely different meaning by the time of its release about a year later—Julien Baker slows down the Midnight Organ Fight album opener, turning the upbeat rock song into something much more her own.

Beginning with the guitar atmospherics that dot the entirety of her own material, it proceeds to build to a huge crescendo, only to completely lose almost all the instrumentals for the final chorus. Where the original’s finale seems hopeful that maybe, just maybe, Hutchison’s ex will give him one more chance (“You should sit with me and we’ll start again / And you can tell me all about what you did today”),

Baker’s version knows the answer and you can hear it in her voice, distant and longing.