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Alternative & Indie - Released February 26, 2021 | Matador

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Anyone who thinks 25-year-olds haven't lived enough to have something real to say would be gravely proven wrong by Julien Baker—who has so much to unpack, you might need to take a time-out between songs. Thanks to her first two albums, the Tennessee native was held up as an indie-folk ideal: Christian, queer, sober. Her third record, however, is all about questioning and wrestling with identity. "Imagine playing a game for two decades of 'get into Heaven or go to Hell' and then finding out that that game is made up…It would be reductive to call it a crisis of faith," she recently told iNews. That was made all the more intense by the fact that Baker has said she suffers from scrupulosity—a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that triggers pathological guilt about sin. It isn't enough to be good; Baker felt she had to be perfect. She explores it on the gently needling "Ringside": "Beat myself till I'm bloody ... So Jesus can you help me now?" Full-bodied and just a little cracked, "Faith Healer" is cotton-candy carousel music haunted by a carnival's underlying weirdness. "Oh I miss its high, how it dulled the terror and the beauty," Baker sings—seemingly a lament on the vice of religion as well as more earthbound "pleasures." In 2018, worn down by nonstop touring and expectation, she walked away from music and returned to college. She also relapsed, figuring if she was questioning everything, why not question sobriety, too. The mess that decision caused plays out in heartbreaking ways on songs like "Crying Wolf"; about relapsing after an AA meeting, it finds Baker slicing through the warm bath of piano, wielding her Telecaster like a serrated knife. "Song in E" is as pretty as the tune from a dancing ballerina music box. But the lyrics verge on self-flagellation: "I wish that I drink because of you, and not only because of me ... I say, "Give me no sympathy"/ It's the mercy I can't take." But, both in real life and on record, she has found tender mercies in friendship with fellow singer-songwriters Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, her bandmates from the indie-rock supergroup boygenius. Here, the two join her on the alternately free-floating and weighty "Favor," their voices drifting in and out like shadows. Baker is, delightfully, almost impossible to categorize: suffice to say, she is the heir to PJ Harvey's muscular fragility and bloody-raw emotion. "Knocked out on a weekend/ Would you hit me this hard if I were a boy?" Baker lullabyes on "Hardline," a song she has said is about queer violence and feeling forced to act tough to make up for her small stature, and just for being a girl. It's ugly stuff, yet gorgeous, and destined to help people working their way through it, too. This is not bedroom pop, but the sound and roiling soul of someone out there living in the world. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 27, 2017 | Matador

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A simple guitar. A light piano. Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to shine. Julien Baker effortlessly proves this with her second album, which appears on the label Matador. Here, the songwriter from Tennessee goes back to the basics without making it the slightest bit artificial. She’s well equipped with that voice of hers; youthful with a gripping purity. A voice that delineates the contours of stripped back, intimate folk. Recorded in the famous Ardent studios in her hometown of Memphis, Turn Out The Lights uses this album like a confessional. Without excessive heaviness, the American meditates on her own experiences, as well as those of the people close to her. And on her interior battles too… At only 22 years old, Julien Baker brings a disc that’s bursting with profound and sincere emotion into the world. An album that embraces the shadowed corners and the complex truth of human nature and psychic balance: expressing ones strongest emotions through music to better shed a little… light? © CM/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 21, 2020 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 13, 2019 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2021 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 3, 2021 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 23, 2015 | 6131 Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 26, 2021 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 11, 2019 | Sub Pop Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 17, 2017 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 3, 2021 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 27, 2017 | Matador

A simple guitar. A light piano. Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to shine. Julien Baker effortlessly proves this with her second album, which appears on the label Matador. Here, the songwriter from Tennessee goes back to the basics without making it the slightest bit artificial. She’s well equipped with that voice of hers; youthful with a gripping purity. A voice that delineates the contours of stripped back, intimate folk. Recorded in the famous Ardent studios in her hometown of Memphis, Turn Out The Lights uses this album like a confessional. Without excessive heaviness, the American meditates on her own experiences, as well as those of the people close to her. And on her interior battles too… At only 22 years old, Julien Baker brings a disc that’s bursting with profound and sincere emotion into the world. An album that embraces the shadowed corners and the complex truth of human nature and psychic balance: expressing ones strongest emotions through music to better shed a little… light? © CM/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 24, 2021 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 21, 2020 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 17, 2017 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 13, 2021 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 11, 2017 | Matador

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 24, 2021 | Matador

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Ambient - Released May 1, 2019 | Kayjay