The unstoppable force that is young, ambient, indie rocker Julien Baker continues with the recent release of a few gorgeous and emotionally powerful new tracks, while she preps her highly-anticipated, forthcoming sophomore LP. As we announced a few months back, the Memphis native and former Nashvillian is set to make her debut at The Ryman on April 12, supporting The Decemberists, and, after her sprawling, stunning, sad 2015 full-length debut, Sprained Ankle, she inked a deal with Matador, who recently released new 7-inch “Funeral Pyre” (and also re-released her debut). The A-side track has been floating around since January, but with the single’s official March 17 street date, we also finally got to hear B-side “Distant Solar Systems,” a dreamy, lovely new song which, as the title suggests, has a bit more of a spaced out sound, with mesmerizing harmonies (stream it on Apple Music or Spotify).
Even more recently, Baker took part in Our First 100 Days, an group releasing new and exclusive tracks each day throughout Trump’s first 100 days in office, in order to raise money for a numbers of organizations that benefit causes under threat by our current administration. For her part, which debuted last week, Julien stripped down “Good News,” one of the most powerful tunes from Sprained Ankle, reworking it as a piano ballad. Though normally sparse, with just vocals and guitar, the substitution of a piano brings an interesting and intimate new angle to Baker’s unbelievable ability to deliver raw emotion, and this version of the song rips through our heart all over again.