Philadelphia, PA 90s dreampop / shoegaze rockers The Julies return after 20 plus years to release their debut full length album, Always & Always, on September 29, 2023 for Lost in Ohio.
The Julies made their first blip on the scene with 1994’s self-released January EP. Drenched in guitar effects so evocative of their time, this noisy, dreamy collection brought them the attention of NYC’s festival scene (CMJ, New Music Seminar) and major labels. In the meantime, they signed to upstart label Flying Tart and immediately recorded the Lovelife EP. Its release was much delayed and became one of the final releases on the label before it imploded. The long, frustrating delay contributed to the band’s implosion as well. As a result, and after releasing two EPs in the mid-'90s, the band disbanded. Despite that, a devoted fanbase grew around their music, a singular mixture of '80s post-punk and '90s shoegaze and britpop influences. The band watched through the years as their modest mystique persisted: “Whatever happened to The Julies” was practically an online mantra from fans, old and new.
In 2020, the band’s legacy was cemented by reissues of Lovelife on vinyl and January on cassette, both via Lost In Ohio. The excitement surrounding the reissues prompted a majority of the band to reunite. What started off as a pandemic passion project quickly evolved into record-making, fueled by an inevitable (yet somehow still improbable) second wind.
The title Always & Always is an oblique wink and nod to this unexpected outcome. “It’s our second chance to poke and prod at the divine with our sounds, our art,” says singer and lyricist Chris Newkirk. “We felt like we made forever-ish music before and now we’re making it again. The double ‘Always’ just feels like a romantic way to describe our work and our return.”
The Julies spent much of 2022 finishing this new collection of songs in Philadelphia at Headroom Studios, with producer/engineer Kyle Pulley (Hop Along, Modern Baseball, Diet Cig) at the helm. The Julies reboot features three of the five original members—significantly, guitarists Alex Yost and Patrick Zbyszewski, whose guitar work has always had a knack for finding instant, fluid synergies. It’s not a stretch to say that you can hear in Always & Always the onus for the guitars to now carry the bands’ songs in addition to defining their sound.
Stylistically, Always & Always sees The Julies honoring their long-time influences (the eclecticism of The Cure serving as guidepost) while exploring new sonic territories. And then there’s the grounding that comes from another 25 years of life lived; Chris’s lyrics shift lenses from self-absorption and unrequited love and focus in on living a happily mundane life in this stilted world we inhabit together — all without sacrificing the widescreen emotion the band is known for.