Amanda Petrusich at The New Yorker:
The singer and guitarist Julien Baker makes raw, ghostly rock music that’s rooted in personal confession. But, unlike some artists operating in that mode, she’s figured out how to turn fragility into a display of fortitude. Baker’s songs—which explore themes of self-sabotage, atonement, and restitution—are aching but tough. This stems, in part, from Baker’s spiritual upbringing. She was raised in a devout Christian family near Memphis, Tennessee, and sang in church. When she came out as gay, at seventeen, she prepared herself for a swift denunciation, but her parents were compassionate. (Her father began scouring the Bible for passages about acceptance.) It’s possible to hear the echoes of Christian hymnals in her first two albums—ideas of love and grace, mentions of God and rejoicing. Baker has a tattoo that reads “God exists” and has said that she senses a kind of divine presence in art, or, as she once put it, evidence of “the possibility of man to be good.”
Baker is now twenty-five, and is about to release her third album, “Little Oblivions.” The new songs are unruly, complex, and gorgeous.