Julian was formed in the summer of 2015, in a hot and sweaty living room in Washington, DC. The brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Julia Leiby, Julian’s early songs had a minimal twee-pop feel reminiscent of Beat Happening. But as the band grew and evolved over the last few years, so did their sound. Currently joined by Cale Cuellar (Tall Friend) on drums and Eric Zidar (Tosser) on bass, Leiby’s songs have moved in a hazier, more atmospheric direction on Julian’s latest release, the Real Distance EP.
Recorded at Gravesend Recordings in Brooklyn, the five songs are brief—only one of them breaks the two-minute mark—and freckled with twinkling guitar lines that bring The Sundays to mind. A photographer by trade, Leiby’s ability to think visually heavily influences their music; the whole EP plays like a softly-lit dream. There’s a muted urgency in each track, as though Leiby is fit to burst with earnest romanticism. But there’s self-awareness, too. On “S,” the darkest and most driving song of the bunch, Leiby almost chants a mantra: “Don’t touch me, / I own this body. / Stay away, / I’m not your prey. / I’m stronger than you think.” And it’s in that space between light and darkness, softness and force, that Julian’s songs find their charm.