Julien Baker, queer songstress and enigmatic songwriter, has alt-rocked the indie music scene since her solo debut in 2015, captivating audiences with her dueling and emotive songs. All at once folky and sweet, angry and delicate, self-reflecting and self-forgiving, Baker’s music is a smorgasbord of alt genres that elevate her serene voice and minimalist melodies to a volume that is unignorable.
Julien Baker’s first album, Sprained Ankle, introduced us to her melancholic and emotionally raw style and words. Recorded essentially in lonely isolation, the album revealed Baker’s signature lyrical honesty (honesty which often verges on confession.) Her music gained acclaim for its heartbreak and its beautiful, pared down dubs and recordings. Discussing amongst herself her own problems with her own faith, substance abuse problems, mental illness and more, the album exists in a vacuum-like space that leaves the audience feeling as though they are intruding into such a personal creation. Baker’s sophomore album, Turn Out the Lights, released in late 2017, expanded even more on Baker’s poignancy and her evocative, questioning laments. The album was a faltering road of songs, and included such moving songs as “Televangelist” and “Claws in Your Back.” On stage, Baker gave stripped down and honest performances that are often described as reverant occasions.
Following her first two albums, Baker joined forces with fellow indie greats Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers to form the supergroup boygenius. Their EP, which was self-titled boygenuis and came out in 2018, featured the collective, kaleidoscopic mixture of songwriting and performance talents of each, and was followed by the three co-headlining a tour.
In early 2021, Baker released her third album, Little Oblivions. Praised for balancing big band collectives and small and personal moments, the album is a testament to Baker’s amazing balance and skill. The album lays out Baker’s growth, in musical, personal and spiritual terms. As Baker remarked at a summer performance at the Newport Folk Festival, her and her music are working and expanding to not only frame traumatic or dysphoric emotions, but to celebrate the beauty that lies in her juxtaposed faith and sexuality.
Julien Baker will take the stage at the House of Blues Boston on September 17th. Don’t miss your chance to see her perform from one of this year’s best albums!