“We’re really extra jazzed today,” Julia Bailen told the NON-COMM audience, and the reason was pretty well evident: along with her siblings David (drums) and Danny (guitar), the the singer-guitarist put out the second full-length album by their band Bailen, and their Free at Noon set at World Cafe Live was a perfect celebration.

Active since the late 20-teens, Bailen has honed in on and refined its sound with their latest; the flow of the opening title track build from delicate guitar lines and whispered vocals to explosive riffs and three-part harmonies, the latter trait being the band’s defining factor. Their voices mesh together effortlessly and powerfully, conjuring up tender emotions on the pandemic-era song “These Bones” and raising the roof with the foot-stomping hit “Call It Like It Is.”

The band’s set also touched on themes of mental health (“Not Gonna Take Me”) and community, and they dedicated “I Was Wrong” — a Heart-esque rocker from their debut Thrilled To Be Here — to Rita Houston, the late program director of WFUV and an early champion of the band. “We’re grateful to Rita for believing in us,” Julia said. “We wouldn’t be here at NON-COMM without her.”

Bailen returns to Philadelphia next Friday, May 12th, when XPN Welcomes them to Johnny Brenda’s; tickets and more information can be found at WXPN’s Concerts and Events page. They’ll also appear at the XPoNential Music Festival in September, where they’ll share the stage with Tegan and Sara, The Hold Steady, Old Crow Medicine Show and more. Information at XPNFest.org.

Bailen - Full Set (NON-COMM 2023)
  • Tired Hearts
  • Something Tells Me
  • These Bones
  • I Was Wrong
  • Nothing Left To Give
  • Here We Are Again
  • Call It Like It Is
  • Not Gonna Take Me