Matador Records – March 17th
Julien Baker has one of those voices that stops you dead in your tracks. Whether she’s singing softly or emotionally wailing over her guitar (like on the bring-you- to-tears crescendo of ‘Rejoice’), the slight rasp against her satin tones takes complete control of all your senses in an instant. That would mean nothing if the 19-year-old Memphis musician didn’t have the songwriting to match. Luckily, she does. Sprained Ankle is chock full of gorgeous, crisp gems, like the defeated roar of ‘Everybody Does’ or the insanely poetic closer ‘Go Home’, which features the startling, intriguing line “But I’ve kissed enough bathroom sinks to make up for the lovers that never loved me”. It’s dark and melancholy, but in the most astoundingly beautiful way.