boygenius is THE story of the year when it comes to independent music. For the uninitiated, boygenius (their capitalization, not mine) is the super-group comprised of three dynamic female singer-songwriters — Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus — who are, interestingly, at the same station in their budding solo careers.
All three are in their early-20s. Each released an acclaimed, “breakthrough” LP over the last 14 months: first came Bridgers’ debut Stranger in the Alps; followed by the second long-plays from Baker (Turn Out the Lights) and Dacus (Historian). All record under their given names. All are particularly great lyricists.
It’s in the music where the trio’s individual differences shine — Baker makes heart-wrenching slowcore on her own time, while Bridgers has an indie-folk bent and somewhat of a dark side; Dacus makes heady indie rock that’s prone to bursts of power-pop. But when they combine forces? It’s something different altogether. Something incredible.
Before hearing a single track, I pre-ordered the band’s self-titled debut EP on vinyl because of its brilliant cover art — a wink and a nod to pioneering super-group Crosby, Stills and Nash’s 1969 self-titled debut:
But it got me thinking… way too much, actually… about Neil Young.
Yes, Neil Young, who occasionally joined David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash on stage and on record to make the super-duper-group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Already a known commodity due to his work with the Buffalo Springfield (which Stills co-founded), the addition in 1970 brought a unique dimension to the band’s sound and resulted in some of the collaboration’s most enduring tracks. Fun fact: Young had a contract that guaranteed he could work with his new band Crazy Horse in parallel with CSNY.
So what I’m getting at is pretty obvious: if Baker, Bridgers and Dacus are a new-generation Crosby, Stills and Nash — who might be their “Neil Young?” Women have dominated indie music in recent years so there’s an abundance of diverse, amazing candidates at roughly the same point in their careers. I’ve collected my personal favorites (plus tracks from boygenius’ three founding members) in a new playlist called “Bridgers, Baker, Dacus and BLANK.”
- “Scorpio Rising” by Soccer Mommy
- “Heat Wave” by Snail Mail
- “Getting To Me” by Caroline Rose
- “Maid of the Mist” by Diet Cig
- “Shut Up Kiss Me” by Angel Olsen
- “Addictions” by Lucy Dacus
- “Pirouette” by Jay Som
- “Road Head” by Japanese Breakfast
- “Turn Out the Lights” by Julien Baker
- “Brat” by Julia Louise
- “From Here” by Lomelda
- “Glowing Brightly” by Florist
- “Singer’s No Star” by Waxahatchee
- “Killer” by Phoebe Bridgers
- “Mary” by Big Thief
- “Anyway” by Swearin’