Tennessee might bring natural associations with blues and folk music, but Memphis born Julien Baker cut her teeth playing in punk and alternative rock bands throughout high-school and college before turning to a solo career of singer-songwriting.
New album Turn Out the Lights has its roots a little more in the celebrated music of her home city, but retains its uniqueness in avoiding familiar tropes and fall-backs as Baker's voice steals the show over minimal instrumentation.
The lead single and title track builds off a simple, reverb-drenched motif and subtle strings. With her lovely penchant for melody, she struggles through feelings of loneliness and alienation before managing to pull off an effective build and release that doesn't rely on any form of percussion.
"When I turn off the lights, there's no one left between myself and me", Baker rues on the track's hook, her heartfelt sincerity ultimately winning out over angst. Turn Out the Lights is out now through Matador Records.