Julien Baker Announces New Album 'Little Oblivions'
Julien Baker will release her third studio album, Little Oblivions, on February 26 via Matador Records/Rhythmethod. Today she reveals the first look at the album via ‘Faith Healer’, which introduces the exhilarating, widescreen musical palette and infectious spirit of risk-taking found on Little Oblivions, a transformative sonic shift from Baker’s more spare and intimate previous work.
Watch the Daniel Henry-directed video HERE.
“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”, says Baker. “I started writing this song 2 years ago and it began as a very literal examination of addiction. For a while, 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 was recorded in Baker’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee between December 2019 and January 2020. It was engineered by Calvin Lauber and mixed by Craig Silvey (The National, Florence & the Machine, Arcade Fire). Baker’s tactile guitar and piano playing are enriched with newfound textures encompassing bass, drums, synthesisers, banjo and mandolin, with nearly all of the instruments performed by Baker. The album weaves unflinching autobiography with assimilated experience and often hard-won observations from the past few years, taking Baker’s capacity for starkly galvanising storytelling to breathtaking new heights.
Little Oblivions is the follow up to Baker’s 2017 sophomore album and first on Matador Turn Out The Lights. The New York Times said the LP is “the work of a songwriter who has resonated with an international audience (…), the rare second album that, despite new self-consciousness, stretches beyond an unspoiled debut to reach for even bigger things, with all its passion intact”. The Sunday Times said “the mix of detached vocals, lush arrangements and laid-bare post-mortems on love, loss, dysfunction and acceptance is devastating".
In 2018 Baker formed boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. The resulting eponymous EP and joint North American tour made for one of the most celebrated and talked about musical communions of 2018, highlighting Baker at the forefront of a burgeoning generation of era-defining artists.
An intense and immersive performer, her live shows were described by The New Yorker as “…. hushed, reverential. The only sounds you hear between songs are her fingers as she tweaks the tuning on her electric guitar, scattered whispers between friends, and the rustling as the crowd waits patiently for Baker to start strumming again”.