intro by sammy maine
track-by-track by julian fulton
New Jersey’s Julian Fulton has the kind of voice that can bend and mould to almost any instrumentation. It doesn’t lose its urgency though; instead it finds its place through clever inflection that allows a forthright execution that’s candid but confident. This confidence seeps through the entirety of new EP Battered Receptions, which sees Fulton push himself out of his usual comfort zone, producing both poignant and peppy tracks that despite their differences, find themselves at home through Fulton’s ability to express a story with ease.
The EP soars with the dynamic “Rosie’s Disposition” before dipping down to the hushed surroundings of “A Familiar Kind of Unknown”, with first track “Howl” proving Fulton’s knack for diving in at the deep end. You can hear the full EP below alongside Fulton’s track-by-track guide.
“Howl” was written a couple of years ago in reaction to the divided climate in America, and is the result of a lot of frustration. It’s about a system designed to fail you. It’s also a challenge for those who are losing hope to do something proactive rather than just fall into despair. The more our institutions are designed to oppress and divide, the more important it is to fucking do something about it, and now is as important a time to be heard as ever. The main chorus guitar came first, setting the mood, and the rest was written pretty quickly from there.
“Rosie’s Disposition” is about being idealistic, and not necessarily in a bad way. It’s a little nudge of encouragement for people feeling lost, trying to distract themselves from the truth of their dissatisfaction. Sometimes, being truly fulfilled requires taking a plunge. Do something ambitious while you can, regardless of what others think, as long as you think it’ll make you a better, happier person. “Rosie” was another song waiting on the back-burner. I felt like it could work now as an upbeat, poppy contrast to the rest of the EP.
A Familiar Kind of Unknown
“A Familiar Kind of Unknown” is probably my favorite thing off the EP, despite clocking in at under a minute and not having any words. I came up with it while knocking around the piano one day, and it eventually became one of the many recordings on my phone. It struck me as being especially melancholy and reflective, like the moment when somebody realizes they don’t quite know whom they are or where they’re going. And while definitely having the potential to be a longer, wordier track, I liked the idea of the song as an intro and ended up keeping it brief, creating “Stranger’s Advice” from it.
“Stranger’s Advice” is kind of the opposite of “Rosie” in that it’s about following the rules as opposed to following your desires, and kind of sacrificing your identity along the way. It’s about becoming the sell-out you swore you’d never become, and longing for the person you used to be and the ambitions you used to have. Out of all the songs, this one was written most recently, although I don’t know quite how it all came together. It was demoed kind of quickly. I know it started off with a folky, fingerpicking guitar, but I think the fact that I’d been listening to a lot of 70’s soul, along with whatever else, veered this song in some other directions.
“For You” is actually one of the first songs I ever wrote. I was twelve or thirteen, and had just started learning guitar. It wasn’t based on any experience, although it’s morphed into an anti-love song of sorts. It was really just one of the few pieces of music from that time that I didn’t think was utter garbage, or at least had some sort of potential. Initially, it was only the one verse. Even when I played it a few years back with The Zombie Gospel, we’d just play the one verse, and then improvise for a while. Those jams definitely informed the final version of the song. Since it’s original conception, I’ve re-worked and demoed it a bunch of times. I think I just wanted to cement a definitive version of “For You” so I could finally move on from it. Maybe I actually will.
Battered Receptions is out May 12th
Pre-order it here