Artist(s) of the week: Will Varley and Julien Baker


Glædelig fredag! I majorly dropped the ball last week and didn't post an artist, so I'm making it up this week with a double feature. Hope you enjoy both of these artists and the new weekend!


Will Varley

Irish artist Will Varley is about as simple as music gets - one man and an acoustic guitar. "Oh great" you scoff, "another indie folk guitarist. Let me guess, he has a great cover of Wonderwall?". To answer your doubts, I'll be the first to admit that single guitarist/vocalist songwriters are a dime a dozen these days. So what makes Mr. Varley stand out from the rest of his peers? The truth is that nobody writes lyrics quite the same as Will Varley. His songs have a way of feeling both grand and intensely personal at the same time. It's easier to see what I'm talking about after listening to one of his songs, so wrap your earholes around this beauty by him, titled "King for a King":



See what I mean? Unlike most acoustic indie guitarists, Varley isn't afraid to make his songs sound BIG, both in lyrical content and musical arrangement. The simplistic nature of his guitar work would normally be a cause for concern, but in the greater context of his songwriting, I feel it compliments his style. He lets his powerful, raspy voice to carry the emotional intensity of his music, letting the basic guitar form a rhythmic backdrop to the lyrical canvas he paints on. Whether he is singing about a man's life or meditating upon human nature, his songs pull you in and leave you starry-eyed. For the latter case, check out "Weddings and Wars":



If you enjoyed Will Varley's music, he'll be dropping an album called Postcards from Ursa Minor on the 30th of October! Be sure to support him (so he can come tour in the U.S.)!


Julien Baker

Moving back into good old 'Murica, we've got another artist I've been dying to share with you everybody. Julien Baker is a singer/songwriter hailing from Nashville, TN. Like one of America's favorite female artists who also got her start in Nashville, Baker's subject matter often deals with heartache and relationships. Unlike that pop singer, however, Julien Baker has her musical roots in punk rock, which is what her main band, Forrister, plays. Her solo work is a side-project, but it may not remain "side" for long if the indications of her potential from her first album hold true. That album is called Sprained Ankle, and you can listen to the title track right now:



Julien Baker's sound is a delightful mix of styles. Her lyrics and vocal delivery scream (haha) of subdued punk influences, but her carefully arranged and processed guitar sound evokes the stylings of Explosions in the Sky. Like the aforementioned band, her songs have fantastic pacing, with both the intensity of lyrics, vocals, and guitar work often coming to a crescendo in the songs. These peaks of emotion, carried by her lovely voice (which is unafraid to get raspy at times), are so breathtaking they gave me goosebumps. Listen to her tear your heart to pieces in her song, "Something":



I know it might be hard to read the screen right now through your tears, but wipe them away and go buy her new album! Seriously, I think Julien Baker has amazing potential and room to grow in her solo career. To say I eagerly anticipate her next project would be a giant understatement.


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