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Weird - Review Round-up (3)

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Weird - Review Round-up (3)

Another batch of Weird reviews from the past week. Thanks again to Carlos Lopez for sourcing many of these:

Russ Holsten, SLUG Magazine:

The truth of the matter is that Weird is a guitar record. Hatfield is the real deal. She can give you the hollow echo of Jerry Garcia, the pre-grunge sludge of Crazy Horse and the pop drive of Girlfriend-era Matthew Sweet. But make no mistake, Hatfield has her own unique guitar sound, and she lets that sound rip through this entire record. The best example of this is on the stunning track “Lost Ship.” She sings: “I wanna ride in a spaceship in my mind.” Just when you settle in to that pure sugar buzz a blistering guitar arrives halfway through the song—it’s lush, fuzzy and atmospheric with plenty of precision. It drives the Hatfield sound safely home.

Michelle Lindsey, Highway Queens:

Weird is the sound of an artist embracing herself and who she has become with pride and grace. It’s a refreshing and reassuring listen for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. Weirdos of the world unite.

Frank Valish, Under The Radar, (8/10):

In all, listening to Weird brings to mind Hatfield's 1995's album Only Everything. Coming after her breakout album Become What You Are, with The Juliana Hatfield Three, Only Everything took the mold and stretched it. The melodic touch and lyrical examination remained but there was something new, something more eccentric, something, to steal her own album title's word, weird. The pleasures of Weird reward frequent listening. It is an album that begs repeating as soon as one reaches the last bouncing notes of "Do It to Music."

Lee Zimmerman, Paste, (7.3/10):

...Weird provides an apt analogy for those who feel out of touch with a world that’s so askew. To some degree, it should also provide assurance for all those who feel the same.

Closed Captioned:

The hooks are still there on songs like “Receiver” and on “Lost Ship,” but Hatfield seems determined to show us another side and it’s all wonderful in its representation. Whatever compelled Hatfield to return to releasing music on the regular, we welcome it if albums like Weird are the end result.

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Weird - Review Round-up (2)

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Weird - Review Round-up (2)

weird.jpg

Here's another bunch of reviews for Weird.

Special thanks once again to Carlos Lopez for these links and many more that have been posted here in recent weeks.

Laura Snapes, The Guardian (3/5):

On Pussycat, from 2017, Hatfield wrote captivatingly horrible songs about Donald Trump that included a graphic vision of him having sex and a demand to melt Kellyanne Conway’s face off. Weird turns inwards, detailing the 51-year-old’s enduring awkwardness with a self-effacing candour – expressed in her forever young voice – that matches youthful successors such as Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy. Her hair’s not right; her shirt is stained. Everything’s for Sale lists society’s shopping list (“altered DNA, self-cleaning ovens”) over a stubborn, choppy guitar that intimates Hatfield’s refusal to sell out.

Chris Parker, No Depression:

Weird is an infectious listen with perhaps the deepest batch of winning melodies in Hatfield’s career, and fine, world-wizened lyrics that capture the feeling of helplessness and confusion endemic to modern life. In a strange way it feels to me like a distant answer to Liz Phair’s 20-something provocation Exile in Guyville, confirming that we’re still expats and that the strange/awful feeling in your stomach is perfectly normal.

Dan Potter, BeatRoute:

Feelings of being out of step with the world emanate from the mellow track “It’s So Weird.” Between the sedate classic rock influenced chord choices are stories of awkwardness and relations that have gone sour over time, sung for all to hear like a big celebration of the alienation. This uneasy mellowness continues on “Sugar” as Hatfield croons “Sugar, I hate your guts, Sugar I love you so much” as the acoustic guitar picking seems to quote George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.”

Elle Henriksen, mxdwn:

Hatfield closes out the album with “Do It To Music,” a comment on her rebellious attachment to music: “When I wanna block out the world, I do it to music.” She lets us in on her secret coping mechanism, her self-instructed education, her infinite mentality. Music just might be the universal language that we can all understand.

Jedd Beaudoin, Spectrum Culture (3.25/5):

Weird is ultimately about the ties that don’t bind and the binds that we find ourselves in, whether romantic or personal, and Hatfield seems like the best candidate to deliver that state of the (dis)union.

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Weird - Review Round-up

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Weird - Review Round-up

Juliana's new album Weird is released today.

Most of us received our physical copies over the last couple of weeks from American Laundromat Records. The album is now out on your streaming and download services of choice too.

Here's a selection of the reviews from recent days:

Adrian Breeman, Cryptic Rock (4/5):

Nearly two years later > [after Pussycat]> , with other projects mixed between, Weird is no less powerful, and the topic—Hatfield herself—is no less important. The melodies on Weird are more inviting, even if the topic is more personal and cathartic.

Jed Gottlieb, Boston Herald :

Explorations of threats from the outside world fill up “Weird.” And Hatfield sets them all to her expected, absurdly consistent hooks and bright, tight melodies. She has written plenty of personal songs in 30 years (over nearly 30 albums from half a dozen bands), but this one shines in the hot spotlight of intense intimacy. Sometimes over sad chord changes, more often over sparkling indie pop, she sings about wanting to be alone, the comfort of a solitary life.

James Weiskittel, Soundblab (10/10):

...with Weird, Hatfield has impressively channeled a potent combination of her trademark angst and a ‘singer/songwriter’ vibe into what is easily her strongest batch of songs in a decade

Bank Robber Music:

Hints of everything good about rock music here, from the Crazy Horse noodling that ends “Staying In” to the new wave synth hits of “Sugar” to the chunky Cheap Trick chords of “Paid To Lie.”

The Soul Of A Clown:

Juliana Hatfield already has a fan base full of extremely devoted fans and there is absolutely no doubt that they will love this. What’s really interesting is just how relevant and current her sound is (even though it follows a style she has had for years). Given how huge an act like Courtney Barnett has become, it makes you think that this release could attract a whole new group of younger fans.

Barry Divola, Sydney Morning Herald (3/5):

...two highlights are All Right, Yeah and Do It To Music, both joyous testaments to strapping on headphones and dancing alone to make everything a whole lot better

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JHONJ Review Round-up 2

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JHONJ Review Round-up 2

Another batch of reviews for Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, with thanks again to Carlos Lopez for many of these links:

Jim Fusilli, The Wall Street Journal:

At its best moments, the album finds Ms. Hatfield paying respect, but not fealty, to Ms. Newton-John’s familiar versions. Its best cuts—including “Dancin’ ’Round and ’Round” and “A Little More Love,” both from “Totally Hot”—call to mind not the originator, but the bright side of Ms. Hatfield, thus liberating the recording from the glum responsibilities of a nostalgia exercise.

Maura Johnston, Rolling Stone:

Pop supernova Olivia Newton-John and alt-pop heroine Juliana Hatfield both possess winsome sopranos, and this delightful album filters Newton-John's biggest hits through Hatfield's slightly grungier sensibility. Hatfield's obvious affinity for the source material is evident throughout, with her coy take on the late-Seventies smash "A Little More Love" and her heartfelt version of the Grease showstopper "Hopelessly Devoted to You" being particular highlights.

Robert Peacock, The Wee Review:

This album’s niche, then, but not pure gimmick. You might need to love both women to truly love this album, but you wouldn’t be disappointed if you were a fan of either, or even a curious bystander. Respect to Hatfield for being so hopelessly devoted to Newton-John and full marks for the cover art which does a good job of capturing the vibe.

Grant Walters, Albumism (5/5):

If you’re a fan of Newton-John’s or Hatfield’s, there are plenty of reasons you’ll want to put this record on and bask in its thoughtfulness. If you’re not familiar with either but appreciate an intuitive, talented artist giving voice to a batch of compelling compositions, this album’s for you too.

Jeff Rogers, saukvalley.com:

That new take on old songs works best where you might least expect it. Hatfield’s version of “Physical” is fun, where the original was kind of annoying. A reworking of “Xanadu” dials down the gloss just enough to let the subtle, fuzzy guitar give the undeniable earworm of a song an interesting twist. Same with “Hopelessly Devoted to You” and “A Little More Love.”

Hyperbolium, No Depression:

Hatfield has internalized these songs and their artist in a thousand bedroom and car singalongs, and filters them through the original artistry they helped inspire. The contentment of “Have You Never Been Mellow” retains its optimistic mid-70s introspection while being deepened by Hatfield’s additional decades of life experience, and “Hopelessly Devoted to You” could just as easily be Hatfield singing about Newton-John as it was Sandy singing about Danny. This is a treat for fans of both Newton-John and Hatfield, and the only thing missing are some Grease photo cards to stick inside your locker.

Ian Rushbury, Under The Radar:

There's a great mix of reverence and alt-rock on this record, which moves Sings Olivia Newton-John from an idea that was better in planning than in practice onto a different level. About two or three songs into the album, you'll forget that it's a "concept" album and just enjoy it for what it is—a really strong collection of songs that just happen to come from an unlikely source. Now all we have to do is wait for the Olivia Newton John Sings Juliana Hatfield album.

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JHONJ Release Day Review Round-up

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JHONJ Release Day Review Round-up

Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John is released today by American Laundromat Records. It's available on the major streaming / download sites, and on cd, cassette and vinyl direct form the label.

It seems that most of us who pre-ordered have had the album for the last week or two.

I agree with what seems to be a universal consensus - it's a wonderful idea, superbly executed. It is the perfect way to follow Pussycat.

With thanks as ever to Carlos Lopez for many of the links that appear on these pages, here are some of the reviews:

Gina, Fools Rush In:

Hatfield says in her liner notes that she has always found Newton-John’s work inspiring and positive, and that completely virtuous stance shines through in her interpretations of it: there’s nothing cynical or kitschy in her choice of artist. Unlike the usual goofy ‘70s covers many bands choose, there’s absolutely no irony here: instead, Hatfield successfully injects her vision into ours, so that, at the end of the record, rather than dismissing her, we learn to have that same kind of faith in her too.

Chris Martin, Atlanta Auditory Association:

If I had not known this was an album of ONJ songs I would swear the rocking “Totally Hot” and “Make a Move On Me” were Hatfield originals. If you ever listen to Hatfield’s music, then you know disco is far from her sound, so I was curious as to how she would handle the tunes “Magic” and “Xanadu”. Staying true to the originals she nails both giving them a hint of the disco vibe while grounding them with perfectly placed guitars.

Jeff Gemill, The Old Grey Cat:

Aside from a sped-up “Dancin’ ‘Round and ‘Round,” the arrangements hew close to the originals, though the pop and pop-country overtones are replaced with the punky pop-rock embellishments that have long accented Juliana’s work. Electric guitars are often at the fore – even on the opener, “I Honestly Love You,” which is raw and real.

The epiphany: These songs are as much a reflection of Juliana’s soul as her own compositions. It’s “This Lonely Love” brought into the open for all to see and share.

aLfie vera mella, Cryptic Rock (5/5):

The 1980s and the 1990s may be both heralded as prolific and proficient ages of music in terms of outputs and stylistic diversity. Taking this into consideration, Hatfield’s homage to Newton-John is a completion of a circle. It is, therefore, a doubly worthy contribution to the 2010s own streak of musical greatness that is surely to be hailed in the decades to come. CrypticRock gives Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John 5 out of 5 stars.

Glenn Gamboa, Newsday (4.5/5):

With “Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John” (American Laundromat), Hatfield not only showcases the sturdiness of Newton-John’s undeniable catalog, which spans country, pop and rock, but by amping up the edges serves as a reminder of the barriers the Aussie singer broke through in the ’70s.

Christopher Long, Ink 19:

For longtime Newton-John admirers, the 14-track collection will take ya on a friendly-feeling trip down memory lane. However, it’s the non Newton-John fans – the young folks who weren’t around back in the old days, as well as Hatfield’s fervent followers, who will reap the greatest joy from this set, as it stands tall on its own, simply as a solid, new rock release.

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Jazz London Radio - Audio Interview and Pussycat Review

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Jazz London Radio - Audio Interview and Pussycat Review

Laurie Burnette, reviewing Pussycat for Jazz London Radio:

Juliana was instrumental in that scene; being part of The Lemonheads and Blake Babies; releasing her debut “Hey Babe” in 1992 then forming the Juliana Hatfield Three in 1993 releasing “Become What You Are” on Atlantic Records. Since then Juliana has released an incredible array of music both electric and acoustic but always with melody and great riffs at the heart of it. “Pussycat” definitely follows the trend of not only well produced tuneful rock, but with hard hitting subjects which Juliana is so good at writing; Juliana is not afraid to tackle issues or put the boot in if she feels it’s necessary! I have read that Pussycat is an angry album, even her “angriest ever”. I see it as a mix of social commentary on the state of the American political scene and some angst, something that has been disappearing from music in recent times in the mad scramble to sound conformist and make as much money as possible.

There's a 45 minute audio interview with Juliana at the end of the review which concludes with Burnette asking about the prospect of future European shows. Unsurprisingly there are "no plans", Juliana citing the 2014 Minor Alps tour as particularly exhausting, but as always she says nothing should be ruled out.

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Pussycat Tour 2017 - Live Review Round-up

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Pussycat Tour 2017 - Live Review Round-up

Juliana Hatfield at The Mercury Lounge, New York - April 26, 2017. Photo: David Young

The Pussycat tour came to an end on Monday. (At least for now - Juliana has mentioned further dates are possible this summer in other parts of the US and Canada.)

Thanks to all who have written and contributed across the JH fan community during these hectic few weeks. Pussycat would seem to be one of Juliana's best received albums in recent years.

Very special thanks once again to this site's contributor-in-chief Carlos Lopez for many of the links that have been posted.

If you've missed David Young's photos, they're now all collected in the USA 2017 section.

Here's a selection of live reviews, some with photos and the odd clip:

New Haven, Apr 22

Paul Bass, New Haven Independent:

She kept her patter brief (and warm and heartfelt) between numbers Saturday night, launching relentlessly into non-stop fury and bared pain tempered occasionally with introspective numbers like the new “Wonder Why,” in which she revisited childhood dreams. “I wonder why the aliens who landed on the roof left me there / and didn’t take me to the sky,” she sang. Even if you couldn’t make out the lyrics, you could tell how honest, these songs were just by the passion and openness with which Hatfield sang, attacked her guitar, interacted with her fans.

Alexis Coleman, Side Stage Magazine:

During the set Philips and Fisher provided a steady percussion session. Fischer sang back up on some of the songs. Hatfield and the band were very connected and they played off each other well. Since it was the first night of the tour fans got to witness some moments where the band had to change some things up and work some things out and it showed the authenticity and realness of who these musicians are. The band did not have a set list per say they were playing songs they loved and a variety of over the year tunes.

Philadelphia, Apr 24

Jeff Gemmill, The Old Grey Cat:

The Juliana Hatfield Three delivered a loud, sweaty and raucous show at the Boot & Saddle in South Philly last night. In fact, you could say it was a night of true grrrl rock (it is the Pussycat tour, after all). The 20-song set opened with a ferocious “Got No Idols” from Become What You Are. As evidenced by the video, Todd Phillips was a monster on drums, Dean Fisher equally brutal on bass and Juliana – well, Juliana was Juliana, full of grace, grit and growls on guitar and vocals.

Josh Pelta-Heller, WXPN:

The band covered a lot of ground for one evening, noting early in her set that they’d try to touch on several eras from her storied thirty-year career. Though she mixed in so many fan-favorites like “My Sister” and “Nirvana” from the early ‘90s, she was sure to put some distance between then and now too. Tribute paid, and pigeonhole avoided.

Chris Sikich's Flickr photo album:

Juliana Hatfield with Laura Stevenson, Monday, April 24, 2017, Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia, PA

Columbus, Apr 30

Curtis Schieber, The Columbus Dispatch:

On the evening’s best, it all came together, expertly driven by the terrific rhythm section of bassist Dean Fisher and drummer Todd Philips. “Touch You Again” from the new album was the pay-off tune, an enticing melody, a psycho-sexual political statement, and a swinging delivery.

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Pussycat - Review Round-up

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Pussycat - Review Round-up

Here are some links for a bunch of Pussycat reviews. All have been positive, including the one I wrote here last week.

Steve Ricciutti, Soundblab:

Generating 14 songs and getting them recorded and mixed in less than two weeks (she plays all but the drums), Hatfield said she felt driven by forces beyond her control and described the process as “cathartic.” It has that same feel for the listener, too. I haven’t felt this much righteous indignation from a record since Zach de la Rocha screamed, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” a quarter century ago.

Jeff Gemmill, The Old Grey Cat:

I could go on and on (and on) with my thoughts about Pussycat, but instead I’ll say that I haven’t wavered from the sentiment I shared in my review of Juliana’s Philly concert: It’s excellent. Fans (new and old) who share her outlook on politics and life will thoroughly enjoy it, though some may be put off by the blunt imagery in some songs. It’s a claws-out affair that draws blood and trades, at times, in the profane (as this Paste Magazine review details). There’s an energy and drive to the performances that’s as palpable as the passion dripping from her vocals; and the lyrics, with a few exceptions, are soaked with anger, indignation and bitterness.

Evan Rytlewski, Pitchfork (6.8/10):

Pussycat lends to the case for a critical reappraisal. Now would be an ideal time for one, given how the DNA of Hatfield’s hooky, plainspoken alterna-pop has carried through some of indie-rock’s sharpest young songwriters, from Waxahatchee to Bully to Laura Stevenson and Charly Bliss—artists that have demonstrated there’s plenty of substance in this sound. What a treat it would be if, 30 years into their careers, they were all making records as relevant, passionate, and strangely personable as this one.

Jon Putnam, The Line Of Best Fit (9/10):

What makes Pussycat an unqualified success is how Hatfield has constructed it with multiple dimensions and, no matter the mood or approach a given song takes, she continually scores with material among the finest of her career. The ruminative “You’re Breaking My Heart” and “Sunny Somewhere” bleed sublimity, highlighted by Hatfield’s lean guitar work. Never outing Trump by name, “Short-Fingered Man” and “Rhinoceros” tissue-thin veils are shredded through by Hatfield’s crudest lyrical jabs and ballsiest riffs to date. The one direct salvo is launched at Stepford Wife-cum-senior presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, her namesake tune featuring Hatfield’s deliciously intimated desire to “be the first one to make [her] cry” and a downright danceable coda.

aLfie vera mella, Cryptic Rock (4/5):

If songs are the ultimate basis of an artist’s ability to balance youthfulness and maturity, then Pussycat finds Hatfield well in the middle of this equilibrium.

Brandi Smith, Riff Magazine:

Unlikely to be a favorite for Trump supporters, Pussycat is full of clever and biting lyrics that will give longtime Hatfield fans a reason to smirk.

Craig Dorfman, Paste (7.2/10):

Playing all instruments but drums, Hatfield completed Pussycat in under two weeks. That urgency comes through, to the album’s benefit. The immediacy of the melodies—simpler and scrappier than she’s written in years—paired with the snarl of the arrangements, gives Pussycat a rumbling, cathartic honesty ideal for the anger of our times.

Ashlyn Nicole, mxdwn:

The fast guitars and drums are not quite punk, but Hatfield’s political stance surely is. What initially is only conveyed through a couple of the song titles, such as “Kellyanne” and “Short-Fingered Man,” a closer look into the lyrics reveals that pretty much every song on Pussycat is political. Apparently Hatfield was pissed, and that fact is obvious throughout the entire album, even while masked with a soft, monotone and placid voice. The instrumentals complement the lyrics almost perfectly, while still walking on the tightrope of acceptable pop music. Hatfield’s album speaks out without being mundane, whilst hurling obscenities, which help to accentuate the mere point she tries to get across: politics are important and the current administration sucks.

Adrian Glover, Salute Magazine (8/10):

Aggressive in spirit, but catchy enough to entrap, Pussycat is uncomfortable reflection on where we are today.

These are indeed comfortable days that we wake up to. As such, expect plenty more records to come down the pipeline that showcase individual perspectives on why things feel the way that they do.

Hopefully, each and every one of them will be as raw and honest as Pussycat is.

Ben Gallivan, Stereoboard (4/5):

...the end product is one of Hatfield’s highlights as a solo artist. Heartless and Touch You Again are as energetic as any of the music produced by Blake Babies well over 25 years ago and there’s a renewed assurance in both her vocal style and delivery throughout. With a snap general election being announced in the UK, it’ll be interesting to see if any British artists follow this example and even more interesting to see if they can pull it off as well as Hatfield has done with ‘Pussycat’.

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Whatever, My Love - Review Links (2)

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Whatever, My Love - Review Links (2)

Another selection of recent reviews for Whatever, My Love:

Whatever, My Love, despite its plainspoken lyrics and shrugging title, doesn’t ignore the complicated in favor of these simple pleasures. In fact, in acknowledging the darkness on “Push Pin” or “If I Could” or “Wood”, the Juliana Hatfield Three argues that simple pleasures might be the hardest to come by and the hardest one. That is the central tension of the record, and one that keeps things taut even when “Invisible” runs through the chorus a few too many times or when songs like “Now That I Have Found You” bury the best elements—the jagged guitar phrasings—under other, sleeker production. 

6/10
Matthew Fiander, PopMatters

 

By marrying her wry, world-weary songs to the brighter, optimistic punch of the JHT, Hatfield winds up with a record that delivers a hard, immediate hit -- particularly on the cynical pop "Ordinary Guy" and grind of "If Only We Were Dogs" -- but leaves a lasting scar that's soothed by the melodies and that ringing, hooky pop that is often labeled as collegiate but now feels deeper and richer in the hands of rockers who never deny their impending middle age. In other words, it's the best kind of reunion because it's not only lacking in nostalgia, it shows that some things can be better the second time around.

4.5/5
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic

 

Throughout her career, Hatfield's strongest work's emerged when she's clicked with her collaborators. She made magic with the Blake Babies. And she made magic with Fisher and Philips. So, for longtime fans, Whatever, My Love gives reason for optimism. And, of the album, Hatfield's said: "We haven’t totally reinvented the wheel or anything." Which is what you want to hear. She goes back to her earlier timeless sound, one that emerged from punk, and skips the saccharine singer-songwriter stuff.

6.1/10
Brandon Stosuy, Pitchfork


 

It more than stands on its own as a wry, uncompromising, unapologetically jangly take on living with the general discomfort that comes along with being a modern human. And it’s reassuring to hear that, 20 years on, Juliana Hatfield still has just as much bite as the dogs she’s been singing about. 

Pete Chianca, Wicked Local
 

 

The jangle-rock numbers like “I’m Shy”, “Push Pin”, and put-a-smile-on-your-face “If Only We Were Dogs” particularly have catch, but there’s also some sweet sadness in songs such as “Invisible”, “If I Could”, and “I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands”. There are some relatively not as good tracks – “Now That I Have Found You” is too simply cheery, while the processional rhythm behind “Woods” doesn’t work that well (and the guy described in “Ordinary Guy” seems pretty rare & hard to match…) – but it’s what you wanted from a revived Juliana Hatfield Three.

Ted Chase, QRO


 

There are one or two missteps, the stuttering tempo of Wood doesn’t really work and the lyrics for Ordinary Guy, I’m Shy and the busy Push Pin are a little hard to listen to coming from a woman in her forties (“oh I want an ordinary guy”, “if only we were dogs it would so easy to be happy”).  Much better are the more relaxed, sparser tracks.  I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands has the light charm of late period Lemonheads, and moody closer Parking Lots succeeds by virtue of being a departure from the rest of the album, giving the keyboards prominence with a rather muted vocal from Hatfield.

No More Workhorse 


 

Whatever, My Love has reminded me how much I enjoy Juliana Hatfield’s music. While her solo material and endeavors with other artists hold their own merit, there is something to be said about the chemistry between Hatfield, Phillips and Fisher. They have been able to step right back into the Juliana Hatfield Three as if they were never apart.

Chris Martin, Examiner
 

 

What could have been a tired rehash of past glories is actually quite the opposite. There are memorable moments and songs that last beyond their final note in your memory. When record this loops round on repeat, you are glad that it’s back again. 

D R Pautsch, Soundblab
 

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Whatever, My Love - Review Links

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Whatever, My Love - Review Links

A bunch of the initial reviews for the new album:

Whatever, My Love arrives with an extra bit of anticipation from Hatfield enthusiasts. And, much like its forebear, the album's 12 tunes are tight, tidy pop-rockers, presented in her characteristic straightforward-yet-slightly-skewed manner. See the needlepoint guitar that tears through the otherwise unadorned power-pop chugger "Push Pin," or how, on "Wood," her voice virtually mimics every twist of the circular chord progression.
4/5

Richard Bienstock, Billboard

 
While Whatever, My Love certainly sounds fresh by 2015 standards, the album still succeeds in bringing longtime listeners back to the time when “Alternative” truly meant something. 

Joel Gausten

 

Hatfield has always had a knack of taking a simple mid-tempo song and making it infectious.  The group accomplish that with the head-swaying "Now That I Have Found You", and the hook-filled earworm "If I Could".  It's a pop rock song that will stick in your brain well after the album is over.
8/10

Snob's Music

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Get There Reviews (8)

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Get There Reviews (8)

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The final(?) batch of review links for the Minor Alps album:

It could have so easily been indulgent and small but Get There is bursting with energy and ideas.

Gary K, The Digital Fix

Then there’s the formula factor. Minor Alps seem content to peddle pleasant but not particularly memorable pop-rock. Quiet verses lead into louder choruses with big drums and whitewashed guitars as Caws and Hatfield repeat a phrase that, depending on the song, becomes either more meaningful with each cycle (e.g. “Lonely low”) or collapses under the weight of repetition (e.g. “I don’t know what to do with my hands” and “If I wanted trouble I could find it”), 4.9/10

Joel Oliphint, Pitchfork

There are lots of intimate lyrical moments like two lovers exchanging thoughts and memories. We’re lucky they have let us in. We’re all very lucky that they went through so much for us. Start with the rock radio tune then work your way inside their heads and like us we’re already looking forward to the next set of tunes.

David Urbano, Review Stalker

For Minor Alps’ Get There has not one peak, as might one such enumeration, but instead several.

Josh Holliday, Dots and Dashes

Get There suffers from a similar state of limbo to that of a love-stricken teenager. For the most part it wants to be a charming collection of indie-pop songs that are easy to relate to, but still yearns to occasionally break out and start making noise. It feels that in an attempt to control those urges, Hatfield and Caws have made a record that, whilst it has its charm, lacks in any real excitement, 4/10

Robert Whitfield, The 405 Reviews

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Get There Reviews (7)

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Get There Reviews (7)

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More reviews. Hope you're keeping up.

Think Jim Reid and Hope Sandoval on The Jesus And Mary Chain’s ‘Sometimes Always’ – sugar-sweet voices destined to be together. As Minor Alps, Hatfield and Caws have made a gorgeous debut that sounds as if they’ve recorded it in each other’s pockets, their tones exquisitely matched, the songs intimate. 7/10

Matthew Horton, NME

For the most part, Get There tries to find center ground between the worlds of Bon Iver and Death Cab For Cutie. Every so often, as on “Mixed Feelings,” the pair let loose and indulge themselves in the fuzzy, energetic punk-pop of the early 2000’s.

Angel J Melendez, fuzzyheadphones

Ultimately, there is a bulging gap left via a distinct lack of, well, songs, and there are moments that are uncomfortably dull and so ordinary it just becomes tiresome. 5/10

Daniel Dylan Wray, Loud and Quiet

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Get There Reviews (6)

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Get There Reviews (6)

getthere275.jpg

Although it has been available on iTunes and in limited numbers elsewhere since the US release date, Get There by Minor Alps is being officially released this week in the UK and other places in Europe via Juliana's Ye Olde Records.

The album is now showing on all of the main UK download sites (iTunes, 7 Digital and Amazon mp3). The issue of European streaming services (Spotify, Rdio etc) having the curiosity of tracks being limited to 30 seconds now seems to be resolved too.

It was awarded 'Album of the Week' in today's Sunday Times (UK). There's no link as it's behind a paywall but it's fair to assume that republishing the text will not destroy Murdoch's revenue from the issue. So, and with thanks to liveontomorrow reader John who sent the info, here's Mark Edwards' review:

Many years ago, Juliana Hatfield – maybe for a bet, maybe because she was bored, or may because she hated me on sight – opted to go through an entire interview answering only “yes”, then “no”, then “yes” again, then “no” again, and so on. Even questions that couldn’t possibly be answered with a yes/no answer were dispatched with a “yes” or – if it was no’s turn – “no”. I swore to use all my power to sabotage her career and bury her talent. There were only three problems. One, I don’t have any power. Two, she has done an effective job of sabotaging her own career, due to a lengthy battle with depression. Three, I suppose I could bury her talent a little bit by not bringing this wonderful album to your attention – but, really, who wins from that? So .... Hatfield has teamed up with Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws as Minor Alps, and they’ve made an album that thrills and delights, whether exploring the classic 1990s scuzzy alt-rock guitar sound (I Just Don’t Know What to Do with My Hands), reinventing it (If I Wanted Trouble) or ignoring it (Away Again). So go on, buy it, knock yourself out, make her all rich and successful. See if I care.

A rather bizarre review, which says more about the 'chief music critic' than the artist he's reviewing, and the line about depression in that context is just scummy. It's also bullshit. Anyway, yay for album of the week!

Some more reviews to mark the occasion:

Adventurous it’s not but there’s no denying the fizzy, thrash-about appeal of Mixed Feelings, the compellingly simple pull exerted by Waiting For You or the finger-picked charms of Maxon, which joins the dots between Crosby, Stills & Nash and Bon Iver., 3/5

Metro

In contrast to the cover of the album, which is rather bleak and foreboding, ‘Get There’ is a collection of eleven lushly produced songs from the duo.

Philip Soanes, Folk Radio UK

The voices blend magically, while the guitars of "I Don't Know What to Do with My Hands" and "Far from the Roses" employ a pleasing mix of Neil Young grunge and REM arpeggios. 4/5

Andy Gill, The Independent

It is very rare that we see a musician(s) fashion an album like Get There with such an echelon of calm reassurance. This record is not for the faint hearted, harshly depicted themes and cynical imagery of segregation, pining, and restiveness direct the flow. Not surprisingly, somewhat reinforcing this point, the record kicks with the utterance: “such a loner”. One can’t help but suspect that the band may have purposely decided to kick off proceedings with “Buried Plans”. 6.9/10

John Glynn, When The Gramophone Rings

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Get There Reviews (5)

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Get There Reviews (5)

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Another set of reviews:

Basically, they did everything right here. Get There is an intelligent, authentic alternative rock album that sounds as enjoyable to live in as it probably was to make. 4/5

Michael Roffman, Consequence Of Sound

Usually when experienced music veterans join forces, the result is a mixed bag wherein it’s blatantly obvious where one party took the songwriting into his or her own hands. But on their first project as a duo, Juliana Hatfield and Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws have a synergy that makes you wonder why they didn’t collaborate sooner., 74%

Daniel Kahn, Filter

The overall mood of Minor Alps’ first outing is somewhat downbeat and yet wistful. Two rockers who really hit their stride during the Clinton years are now in middle age and I think the subject matter here (relationships won and lost, self-reflection, “mixed feelings) is mirroring that.

Andrew W Griffin Red Dirt Report

There is so much to love in all of the songs here, and hearing Hatfield and Caws together makes you wonder why it couldn't have happened sooner, but then again; there is a season for all things, and this is so obviously theirs.

Girl About Town

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Get There Reviews (3)

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Get There Reviews (3)

Moar:

Get There is an accomplished debut album, not that we would expect any less from these two. With a collection of solid tunes under their belt, Hatfield and Caws are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what this new musical relationship has to offer.

Clare Povey, Planet Notion


Supergroups can sometimes be a letdown, but with Minor Alps, Caws and Hatfield bring to the table and combine their best individual qualities into a highly appealing cohesive unit. "Get There" is the work of two of indie rock's most undersung masters.

Allan Raible, ABC News


They wrote, sang and played everything (except drums) on the album, meshing individual styles where they comfortably overlap, in a zone of graceful, grown-up folk-rock.

Jon Parales, New York Times


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Get There Reviews

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Get There Reviews

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Some links for reviews of the Minor Alps album:

However, despite this largely being an album about isolation and the internal struggles that come with it, Hatfield and Caws sing nearly every line on Get There together, as in simultaneously. Naturally, I expected the two to trade off lead vocal duties on the album, but instead they share almost every lyric, never fighting for the spotlight and often using this dynamic to create really beautiful, moving harmonies, such as at the end of “Buried Plans.” 8.8/10

Michael Garrity, Paste

This combo creates a very intimate and satisfying listen as you might already guess. Caws typical hush vocal delivery shines in this setting and when Hatfield chimes in on a harmony, it is the perfect complement. 3.5/5

The Fire Note

Rather than simply trading lead vocal duties, they take the effortless harmonies route instead, making it hard to discern where one voice ends and the other begins. While the acoustic songs are satisfyingly pretty, particularly "Maxon," it's when they make the switch to electric that it comes alive. 7/10

Michael Edwards, exclaim.ca

The duo co-write, sing and play nearly every instrument on a predominantly lush, lovely rendered debut that is never less than pleasant. Unfortunately, it’s seldom more than that either as these amiable tunes drift on a dreamy haze that threatens to slide into a memorable chorus or melody, but seldom does. 2.5/5

Hal Horowitz, American Songwriter

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Wild Animals - Reviews

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Wild Animals - Reviews

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As was the case with last year's covers album it doesn't appear that Juliana has sent any review copies out or employed any kind of publicist for 'Wild Animals'.

Reviews are therefore in short supply.

Snob's Music gave a 7/10 score in a write up posted within days of the Pledge release in August.

Other than a few comments there hasn't been much else.

Today Andrew Griffin has posted a 4/5 rated review at Red Dirt Report. Thanks to Andrew for sharing the link.

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