Christine Stonat, interviewing Juliana about Weird for Weird:
weird: As to be heard on your new album “Weird” your music might sound a little more “pop” today but still has this revolutionary rock punk attitude that comes with your voice and sound and often poetical lyrics. If you look back on over 25 years of your solo music what would you say has changed the most within your music?
Juliana Hatfield: I think my voice has changed a little — it has gotten a little bit lower (but not a lot). And I think my lyrics are a little less about me and all of my feelings and a little more about how I see the world around me. But I am still a revolutionary punk!
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.
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.
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.
Juliana is interviewed by Chris Collingwood (of Fountains of Wayne) in an article at Talkhouse:
Chris: It seems like whatever you’re singing about, you have an inherent tunefulness. Even on Pussycat, where you’re singing about horrible things, it’s catchy and it draws you in with great melodies.
Juliana: I can’t help myself. I can’t change who I am. I’m more appreciating it now. I’ve been frustrated like anyone. You feel like you’re repeating yourself, and I have these habits, and I can’t break the habits but really it’s just who I am. My musical persona—I was born with it, I think. Sometimes it feels frustrating because I can’t really alter it, or if I did it would probably come across as inauthentic.
Chris: Is it ever the case that the narrator in your songs isn’t you?
Juliana: In most of my songs, when people assume I’m talking about myself, they’re usually right. I don’t really take on other personas. Generally, I don’t put myself in the mind of people that are not me. The new record is all me, totally. Everything on this record is very personal.
Juliana Hatfield catches up with Kyle Meredith to talk about her Weird LP, meeting Liz Phair for the first time recently, how the industry pitted women against each other in the 90s, and the sexism that still exists. There is also a fun bit about about her involvement in the Reality Bites and My So Called Life soundtracks, both of which turn 25 this year.
Interview - How the Awesome Power of Solitude Fueled Juliana Hatfield's New Album, 'Weird' | AllMusic
Chris Steffen, interviewing Juliana for AllMusic:
AllMusic: "It's So Weird" really lays bare your contentment with and inclination towards solitude.
Hatfield: I was intending to have it be an album about the comfort of aloneness, or the comfort of living in a small space and not venturing outside of a small radius, outside of a few blocks. I was going to focus on all of the things that went on in this small apartment. I know from experience that there are people out there who don’t really understand how being alone can be a wonderful experience. For me, I really love solitude, and it’s like medicine. After I’ve been with other people, out in public, I always feel a little bit weakened, and I need to go be alone, and that gives me my strength back. I think a lot of people are afraid of being alone, they don’t want to be alone, a lot of people have the goal to find a partner to share their lives with, but I’ve never been like that. I understand that it makes certain people uncomfortable.
That song starts with a conversation I was having with my brother, and he was asking me, “Don’t you ever need your arms around someone?” and I’m like, “No, I don’t. Is that weird?” I’m a little sensitive about it, because I think people are going to think I’m weird, or they’re not going to believe me. There are always people who are like, “You just haven’t found the right person yet,” and people who say that to me just don’t understand what it is to be content, alone.
The excellent interview continues to expand upon the solitude theme of Weird. Recommended.
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
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.”
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
The second video from Weird is animated, colorized, and directed by Jed Davis.
Juliana, speaking to Consequence of Sound, where the video premiered today:
The repeated “All Right, Yeah” in the choruses was my attempt to write a big, dumb hook that people could sing along to at hockey games or football games or other sports events. I was thinking of Blur’s “Song 2” and its “Woo Hoo!” choruses. I want to be the song that comes on in the stadium after a big goal, or touchdown, or whatever. I also had an alternate image of drunken pals with their arms around each others’ shoulders, jumping up and down and yelling “All Right, Yeah!” all together as a group, at some celebratory gathering like a wedding reception or graduation party. I wanted this song to work in these kinds of contexts. I don’t know if I succeeded. Probably not. My dreams for my songs are often at odds with the world outside of my head.
Read the whole article in Consequence of Sound's Origins series - "a new music feature in which we give an artist we like a chance to dig into what inspired their latest song":
From an excellent interview by Grant Walters for Albumism:
GW: You mentioned this sort of default mode that you adhere to when you’re writing songs. I’m curious to know as an artist where and when your observations of the world around you engage? What ignites your motivation to create a piece of music?
JH: Well, I guess it depends on where my head is at while I’m writing. When I was making Pussycat before ...Olivia Newton-John, I was caught up in national current events, and that was kind of all-consuming at the time, and that’s just what was on my mind. It was my reaction to everything going on coming up to the presidential election. And then, when I was younger, I was just totally self-absorbed in writing about my own angst and anguish and my emotional problems. I was just really wrapped up in that.
I think now, rather than just looking inward, I’m trying to place myself in the context of the world around me a little bit more—just talking about how I see things, how I see myself in the world as it is today. With the new album, it’s seeing myself as kind of an outsider in society. It started out as wanting to make an album about the comfort of living in a very small space, and not venturing out much and having a very small radius of an existence—like, a five-block radius outside of a small apartment. And just how comforting that can be rather than isolating.
I mean, that was the concept, and it became a little bit more than that, but it was coming to terms with a solitary life and trying to see it in a positive way rather than any other way.
Grant also puts Juliana on the spot to pick her 5 favourite records of all time.
Juliana is interviewed by Warren Kurtz for Goldmine, who are also giving away a couple of copies of Weird if you're happy to enter a draw by subscribing to their mailing list.
The interview covers various aspects of the new album recording and ends with a question about the UK shows in May. Juliana:
It will be with a band. I haven’t been there with a band in a long time. Todd will be playing drums. Dean Fisher will be on bass, who some remember from The Juliana Hatfield Three. In the meantime, I am working on two more videos and a short film, all from the album.
Originallly broadcast last night on the Unchained show for Wolverhampton's WCR FM in the UK, here's another radio interview with Juliana.
This was part of the second hour of Garry Foster's show and his interview (recorded in November 2018) begins after the 22 minute mark.
Topics include the solitude / outsider theme of Weird, how the recording / songwriting process was a bit different this time, and some Olivia chat.
Juliana was interviewed by David Eastaugh for The C86 Show on Future Radio in the UK, in a show broadcast earlier this week.
Of note: Juliana extols her successful working relationship with American Laundromat Records and her intention to continue releasing albums on a regular schedule. She also quotes some lines from David Lynch.
The whole show from 5 minutes in features songs from Juliana's career. The interview bits start after 12 minutes.
American Laundromat Records, announcing a return of the fabulous 1993 Blake Babies compilation album:
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.
Our good friend and long-time collaborator Sean Glonek at SRG Studios handled remastering, and Carl Saff in Chicago cut metal. Vinyl was pressed by hand at Burlington Record Plant in Burlington, VT. The artwork has been 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.
The scheduled release date is March 2019 and orders are being taken now at:
There are also t-shirts available at the same link. American Laundromat say:
The official Blake Babies T-Shirt design is from a drawing John Strohm did 20+ years ago. Our good friend Lonny Unitus, who is an amazing illustrator, recreated John's drawing for screenprinting purposes and added the Nicely, Nicely typography. It's an exclusive design and will only be available for a limited time.
The Voidz’ Virtue is a really fun album about serious things. It’s swimming in disillusionment and the shame of being alive. It’s like the sound of original sin—oh, how we have fucked this all up. It’s not only our own failings and weaknesses that are disappointing, but also our society’s dishonesty and corruption, into which we are sometimes drawn. Julian Casablancas sings “I’ve been bathing in the blood of our success” on ”Aliennation.” Elsewhere: “I want out of this world” (“Pink Ocean”), “I lost what’s mine” (“Qyurryus”), “What does it matter?” (“Pointlessness”), and “No one will care about this in ten years” (“All Wordz Are Made Up”).
Read more of Juliana's words at:
American Laundromat Records:
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Juliana's Olivia Newton-John tribute, we're doing a very special 500 unit LP pressing with alternative cover art and cool vinyl colors. Please note in addition to the Cream and Pink/Purple Splash available on our website, there are 100 translucent clear vinyl that will only be available at select independent record shops.
Orders are being taken now with shipping anticipated for February 14, 2019. Ordering info and details of the indie shops at:
The album only came out in April so it's unclear which calendar they have at ALR for their "one-year anniversary," but this is some pretty vinyl and lovely artwork nonetheless!
On the subject of the ON-J tribute, it is now owned by John Farrar, who wrote many of the songs and produced their original recordings: