Posts Tagged ‘Blakes Babies’

Blake Babies "Innocence and Experience" Vinyl Reissue *PRE-ORDER*

American Laundromat Recordings We are beyond excited to reissue this fantastic Blake Babies collection on vinyl. It’s always been a favorite and we worked with John, Freda and Juliana on every aspect of the reissue.

The title is a reference to the William Blake collection of poems Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

Perched right on the edge of genuine stardom thanks to the critical adoration of 1990’s Sunburn and the general sea change heralded by the commercial success of Nirvana and other alt rockers, the Blake Babies chose instead to break up. It was nothing personal; John P. Strohm and Freda Boner were homesick for Indiana and Juliana Hatfield didn’t want to leave Boston. That sort of casualness typified the band throughout their brief existence, and indeed, it’s a huge part of their charm. Coyly taking their name from the most famous book of poetry by their name’s inspiration, Innocence and Experience is a similarly off-the-cuff collection. Less a full-career overview than a collection of rarities, favorite tracks, and demos, the 14-track collection hits all of the group’s releases, paying particular attention to Sunburn and its immediate predecessor, 1989’s Earwig. It has some faults as a retrospective, but it does hit almost all of the high points (Earwig’s “Take Your Head off My Shoulder” and Sunburn’s “Look Away” are the most egregious omissions) and the demos are interestingly different from the more familiar versions. Also of interest to Hatfield fans is the inclusion of “Boiled Potato,” the rarity that Hatfield would rework as the anorexia metaphor “Feed Me” on her 1992 EP I See You.

Our good friend and long-time collaborator Sean Glonek at SRG Studios handled remastering, Carl Saff in Chicago cut metal, and vinyl was pressed by hand at Burlington Record Plant in Burlington, VT. The artwork is recreated from the original Mammoth art but with a little twist thanks to the skill and creativity of award-winning designer Aaron Tanner of Melodic Virtue. We also included the liner notes and photos from the original CD booklet as a newly-designed inner sleeve. We’re very proud of this reissue and hope you enjoy it.

Band members

  • Juliana Hatfield – vocals, guitars, bass, piano and keyboards
  • John Strohm – vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards
  • Freda Love Smith – vocals and drums

 

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Juliana Hatfield will do anything to win the guy’s heart on “Invisible,” the opening track on her new album, “Whatever My Love”. She jumps up and down, throws a tantrum, feigns choking on candy—all just to get him to acknowledge her existence. It plays like a rom-com soundtrack, perhaps scoring a montage of wacky and increasingly self-deprecating behaviour egged on by a sassy best friend. Hatfield doesn’t hide her character’s desperation or humiliation, and her determination—simply to be noticed, much less loved.

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With each verse, however, Hatfield slyly changes the perspective and therefore the stakes of the song. “I let them dress me up in other people’s clothes, but you still don’t want to know,” she sings, leaving it to our imagination just who “them” is and whose clothes she is wearing. “Invisible” is, at heart, less a love song than a professional lament; Juliana Hatfield isn’t singing to a love interest, but to an uninterested audience that has not acknowledged her considerable accomplishments as an independent woman in the music industry. After coming up with the Blake Babies in the early 1990s, she launched a solo career and has sustained it over two decades. She founded and runs her own label, produces her own records, often plays all the instruments, and has developed a conversational lyrical style whose influence can be heard on albums by Best Coast, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and Courtney Barnett. What else does she need to do so we’ll take notice?

Well, she could release a reunion record. “Whatever My Love” is not a solo record, but the sophomore release by the Juliana Hatfield Three. The band—which includes Hatfield on guitar and vocals, Todd Philips on drums and Dean Fisher on bass—recorded her landmark album “Become What You Are” back in 1993, right around the time that alternative rock was taking over the mainstream. It produced two hit singles, “My Sister” and “Spin the Bottle,” the latter of which was featured prominently in Ben Stiller’s Gen-Xploitation flick Reality Bites.

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They were a tight trio, with Philips and Fisher lending Hatfield’s pop songs a hard-rock drive, but the group quickly spun out of control. “Todd had some drug problems that I ultimately didn’t want to deal with,” Hatfield says, more than 20 years later. “That’s why I fired him.” Her next record, 1995’s “Only Everything”, was billed to Juliana Hatfield without the Three, even though Fisher played bass on those songs, including the hit “Universal Heartbeat.”

Since then, Juliana Hatfield has released a steady stream of new records, most of them on her own Ye Olde Records label. Subsequent hits have been elusive, but she has retained a loyal fan base by developing a style that expresses messy emotions via sharp melodies and plainspoken lyrics. She didn’t intend to reunite the Juliana Hatfield Three, but the trio simply gravitated back to each other,

“Like many things in my life, there’s no planning, no strategy,” she explains. “It just happened. I was getting ready to make a new album. I had some songs ready, and I asked Todd if he would like to play drums on the new record.” It was Philips’ suggestion that they bring in Dean to play bass. The reunion was pure happenstance, although Hatfield admits she had already considered revisiting “Become What You Are”. “I knew people who were playing their whole album on tour, like the Lemonheads went out and played It’s a Shame About Ray in its entirety. I thought people might be interested,

Instead, Hatfield, Philips and Fisher booked time at a studio in New Jersey and recorded a handful of new songs. None of them knew how it would turn out. Would they be able to re-create that old energy? Or would it sound like another nostalgia trip? “We went in hoping it would work out, and it worked out,” she says. “The chemistry was intact. It was like riding a bike.” After two decades apart, the Three had sharpened their chops, which brought a new dynamic to the sessions. “We’re all a little more mature, although just slightly.

If “Whatever My Love” sounds like a direct sequel to “Become What You Are”, it might be because several of these songs were written in the mid to late 1990s, when Hatfield was at the peak of her popularity. She recorded “If I Could,” “Now That I’ve Found You” and “Invisible” as demos, with Philips on drums, but they never fit on any of her subsequent albums. “I loved those songs and I didn’t want to forget about them. Todd was actually the one who suggested I bring them back for this record. He made me remember how much I liked them.

minoralps

 

Matthew Caws of the Band Nada Surf and Julianna Hatfield of Blakes Babies have forged long careers and strikingly independent on this album they  played all instrumentation , written and shared vocals on the tracks from this album “Get There”  some great pwer pp with punchy melodies.

 

Minor Alps, songs are “I Don’t Know What to do with My Hands” , “Maxon”, “If I Wanted Trouble”, “Far From The Roses” the band are Matthew Caws from Nada Surf and Juliana Hatfield from Blake Babies just about to play some UK dates