South Philadelphia’s Julia Rainer has graced us with some hauntingly serene songwriting over the last few years. The singer and guitarist first appeared on the scene with 2011’s EP Noise & Smoke, followed by Now, I’ll Be Free in 2015. Her simple yet sweeping folk-influenced songs have found an interesting home among the widely diverse Philly music scene, a niche but resonant kind of music that has often proven to be just what we needed.
Now, Rainer has released her first full-length album, Spirits. It’s out now via Creep Records and you can listen to the whole thing below. Spirits sees Rainer back with ten new melodically calming songs woven together into a stunningly cohesive collection, the culmination of years’ worth of raw emotional exploration on Rainer’s part and the wisdom that comes along with lived experience.
Rainer is known for her Neil Young style guitar playing, and also cites Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Jenny Lewis among her many varied influences. Rainer’s songs are delicate and poetic, but not without packing an emotional punch. Her songs strive to be empathetic, personal yet articulated in a way that allows listeners to find themselves within her words. It’s the kind of music worth reading the lyrics while listening along: “When the moonlight hits the sky, My thoughts will turn to you / Send you sailing through my mind, On silver-studded blue,” Rainer sings on the track “Troubles,” the gorgeously defined imagery pairing well with her soulful vocals.
Below, watch Rainer’s video for “Move + Shake,” from the new album. Catch Julia Rainer live at the upcoming Great how’ve you been fest, happening in South Philly this November. More information can be found on the event’s Facebook page.
When U Wake
I Am She
Oh, My Child!
Move + Shake
Living in the Dark
it’s not me, it’s you
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