Published Jun 11, 2018Real Distance, the new EP by Washington D.C. emo pop band Julian, beautifully captures the struggles for comfort that come with being young. Today (June 11), Exclaim! is proud to premiere a stream of Real Distance in its entirety.
In the past couple of years, Julian have become a fixture of the Washington indie rock scene, where frontperson Julia Leiby is also known for photographing bands. Their lineup on Real Distance is rounded out by Cale Cuellar (Tall Friend), Jesse Paller (June Gloom), and Brendan Principato on bass, drums, and guitar, respectively. Playing live, Julian is Leiby, Cuellar, and Eric Zidar (also of Tosser).
Cuellar's light, cymbal-driven drumming contributes to an atmospheric sound. The dreaminess suits closer "Untitled," which concerns literal dreams and the people we see in them. "Car," wherein Leiby sings "I feel safe in your car," is a particularly lovely portrait of easy intimacy.
Julian's earlier recordings could have fit snugly into the K Records catalogue. Real Distance is altogether more mature, with layered guitar work, clean production and heavier themes. The pains of dissociation and long distance love are grappled with in songs that manage to be both trenchant and approachable. It all adds up to a fully realized entry from a group who find strength in gentleness.
Real Distance is out June 15th on Fire Talk Records. It can be pre-ordered in digital and cassette formats. Listen below, where you'll also find a brief interview with Leiby.
Are there bands in your local scene who you drew inspiration from while making Real Distance?
Julia Leiby: Definitely, I feel inspired by bands like Snail Mail who are from Baltimore area and are friends, along with a band called Go Cozy that recently went on hiatus that plays beautiful shoegaze-pop.
How did Cale Cuellar and Jesse Paller join your backing band?
Cale is a longtime friend and I met him through Charlie Pfaff, whose band is called Tall Friend. One day I asked him to play drums. It was his first time playing drums in a band. (Jesse) lives in New York now so he's not in the band anymore. I wanted to add that Brendan Principato wrote the lead guitar parts and that's a big part of how it sounds so dreamy.
Do you think that there is an overlying theme to Real Distance?
Yeah, probably like, different kinds of romantic relationships and longing a person can feel, primarily in a long distance thing.
Much of Real Distance is about longing for safety and comfort. What is it about those things that drives you to write about them?
I'm not sure if this totally answers the question, but I approach songwriting kind of like journaling and for me it's like translating certain experiences I have into song form.
"S," probably my favourite song on the EP, felt to me like a really striking statement about dysphoria. Is that an accurate read of the song?
I wrote it initially when I was feeling really weary of men in my life who have taken advantage of me and touched me without my consent and feeling like my body doesn't belong to me. But it's mine, I own it. I guess I didn't really see it as talking about dysphoria but it is about being present in your body and not letting others control it or prey on you.