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Watch Julien Baker’s new video for “Turn Out The Lights” ahead of her Union Transfer show

Julien Baker | courtesy of the artist

Julien Baker‘s lead single “Appointments” from her upcoming sophomore LP Turn Out The Lights has been giving us chills for the last two months. The album — a highly-anticipated follow-up to 2015’s Sprained Ankle — is out in just over two weeks, and we’ve been anxiously awaiting another murmur from Baker camp. Today, it’s finally arrived in the form of title track “Turn Out The Lights” and a beautiful video to go along with it. Continue reading →

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Julien Baker’s new “Appointments” is a heartbreaker in the best way

Julien Baker | photo by Nolan Knight | courtesy of the artist

If you’re in need of an emotion-filled song to listen to this weekend, Julien Baker has got you covered. The Tennessee songwriter has been a favorite of folk and indie crowds alike for quite some time now, and just announced her upcoming sophomore album Turn Out The Lights, due out October 27 on Matador Records. The first single, “Appointments,” is a bit of a heartbreaker, but that doesn’t make us any less excited to hear the rest of this highly anticipated record. And Philly, we’re in luck – Baker’s extensive fall tour hits Union Transfer on October 29, with support from the always-excellent Half Waif. Tickets are on sale now, and it’s sure to be a show you won’t want to miss. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Julien Baker to perform at Union Transfer with Half Waif in October

julien baker
Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist

The first time I heard Julien Baker was just about a year ago, and by a happy chance it was at the perfect combination of a live show in a small venue when she toured with British dark folk trio Daughter last summer – I’ve been a fan ever since. The Memphis singer-songwriter brings her voice and guitar on stage and leaves her entire soul, baring all and sparing nothing throughout the set that is both so wrenchingly personal and relatable at the same time. Continue reading →

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Julien Baker contemplates enormity of the universe in new song, “Distant Solar Systems”

julien baker
Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist

Space and the universe and all that kind of freaks me out. So when I heard news about the NASA-discovered earth-like planets in the TRAPPIST-1 solar system, my reaction was a mix of total excitement and also ever-crippling fear and smallness.

 In Julien Baker‘s new song, the beautiful and haunting “Distant Solar Systems,”  she perfectly encapsulates this jumbled up feeling of wonder and awe and trepidation.  In the song — the b-side to her new single “Funeral Pyre,” released via new label Matador Records – Baker’s minimal instrumentation and clear, emotional vocals layer to create an ethereal, soothing tone. Keeping with the title, the song matches large, atmospheric sounds that sweep a vast empty space, with a feeling of fragile vulnerability. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Julien Baker at Underground Arts, Bardo Pond at Johnny Brenda’s, Corinne Bailey Rae at Union Transfer

julien baker
Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist

Julien Baker makes a return visit to Philadelphia for a show at Underground Arts tonight. The Memphis native brought her acclaimed Sprained Ankle debut to town earlier this year, wowing the audience with her gut wrenching but graceful songs about personal challenges and growth. Stream “Something” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show with Grayling here.

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Just Announced: Julien Baker to headline Underground Arts on 9/13

julien baker
Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist

Memphis native Julien Baker will headline Underground Arts on Tuesday September 13th in support of her critically acclaimed 2015 debut Sprained Ankle. Philly’s Grayling (who we’re fans of here at The Key) will perform as the opening act. The show will mark Baker’s return to Philly after playing Boot & Saddle back in January. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Julien Baker at Boot & Saddle, Madalean Gauze at Kung Fu Necktie, Torres at Johnny Brenda’s and more…

julien baker
Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist

Memphis native Julien Baker brings her debut solo LP to Boot & Saddle tonight. K. Ross Hoffman explored Sprained Ankle for a Key profile last week, noting that that the songs are “harrowing stuff; an impressionistic but unflinching annal of addiction, self-loathing and spiritual crisis…” set up against “unadorned but graceful melodies and simple, minimal acoustic guitar and piano arrangements.” Listen to “Something” below and pick up tickets to the 21+ show with Abi Reimold here.

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Julien Baker pulls no punches on Sprained Ankle

Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist
Julien Baker | photo by Jake Cunningham | courtesy of the artist

The Sprained Ankle in the title of Julien Baker’s debut record happens to be purely metaphorical.  But that’s a rare and merciful exception among the litany of pain, both physical and psychological, that the Memphis-based songwriter catalogues across the album’s 34 minutes: from wrapping a car around a streetlamp to the jitters of withdrawal, to the wrenching agony of heartbreak, to the empty, gnawing tedium of days spent in a hospital bed.  It’s harrowing stuff; an impressionistic but unflinching annal of addiction, self-loathing and spiritual crisis – and perhaps all the more striking given Baker’s young age: she’s twenty now but was closer to eighteen when she wrote these songs. Continue reading →

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Listen to Abi Reimold’s “Sugar,” see her open for Julien Baker at Boot and Saddle

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Abi Reimold | photo by Haley Richter | haleyrichterphoto.com | courtesy of the artist

We’ve been following Philly singer and songwriter Abi Reimold for a while now – ever since she worked for us a photography intern a few years back – and just like her images exhibit a remarkable depth and sensitivity, so does her music.

Reimold is releasing her debut full-length, Wriggling, this month via Sad Cactus records, and recently got the Artist to Watch treatment from Stereogum. In that story, she admitted that the album was written and recorded in late 2014, but she sat on it for a while because of the subject matter. Continue reading →

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The Key Studio Sessions Doubleheader: Small Circle / Sorority Noise

Really, it’s all rooted in friendship. When Hartford, CT founded emo four-piece Sorority Noise began touring on the regular a few years back, they connected with new people in each city they hit; it’s something all touring bands do to some extent, it builds out out a support network of familiar faces in the crowd and couches to crash on after the gig. As singer-guitarist Cameron Boucher tells it, Marissa D’Elia was “our Philly friend” from early on — watching from the front row, chatting them up at merch as the show was letting out.

Flash forward a few years, when Boucher and a couple of his bandmates relocated to Philly — he and D’Elia would get together when he wasn’t on the road and casually collaborate, fleshing out some of the first songs she’d ever written. By 2016, enough music was amassed that the for-fun project was now a band called Small Circle.
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