After releasing her own incredible new album earlier this year, the emotionally-intense Little Oblivions, Julien Baker showed up on an unexpected collaboration today. Teaming with the hardcore veterans F*cked Up for the latest installment of their Zodiac series, today’s release Year Of The Horse follows up 2017’s Year Of The Snake and 2006’s Year Of The Dog.
Today’s four-part release includes four “acts” with guest vocalists like Baker, Matt Berninger of The National, and additional vocals from the band’s frontman Damian Abraham, along with drummer Jonah Flaco, Eidolon, Tuka Mohammed and Maegan Brooks Mills. Across all four acts the release is a lengthy one hour and 34 minutes, though Baker and Berninger’s contributions are mostly confined to the fourth act. Interestingly enough, Baker and Berninger have themselves collaborated in the past, so perhaps it was The National singer who brought Julien into the project.
The band shared a bit about the fourth act on Twitter today in a thread, and Julien retweeted the initial description, a subtle way of letting fans know she’s involved. “This has been our song of motherhood, stewardship and sacrifice,” the band wrote. “Of the old roots of addition and evil that try to hold us down. Of strength and transcendence, about the struggle to rise above the dust clouds and to bring up others with us as we climb.” Later they thanked Julien explicitly for her “otherworldly coda to the finale.”
You can listen to Year Of The Horse in its entirety on Bandcamp, act four is embedded below.