Juliana Hatfield: The Pencilstorm Interview - by Jeremy Porter

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Juliana Hatfield: The Pencilstorm Interview - by Jeremy Porter

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Ahead of her Detroit show this week, Juliana is interviewed by Jeremy Porter for The Pencilstorm:

JP: Weird feels like a natural transition from Pussycat and JHSONJ – not so much lyrically but musically. The guitar tones, arrangements and riffs have a nice growth but a consistent feel that sort of takes your natural pop vocals and vocal melodies and puts them above a musical bed that weaves somewhere between 70s classic rock and indie-pop-rock. Do you approach the writing process with a direction in mind? Or do you just sit down and whatever happens, happens? Can you expand on that a bit and how it might relate to the feel of this trilogy of records as compared to some of your previous releases?

JH: I never have a direction plan when I sit down to write. I have an open mind. But I do have habits and things that I tend to do over and over again. I can't change my instincts. I have a certain aesthetic preferences, and I have a certain natural, personal style that I have settled into and I produce all my own stuff which is why my stuff lately tends to have a sound and a feel. It's raw and unpolished but also really melodic. I am also in love with the mellotron flutes sound on my Microkorg keyboard that I acquired about five years ago so that sound ends up on everything I do these days. No matter how gnarly the guitars get, I always like to mix in some keyboard flutes. It sounds good with everything.

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Interview - ‘Weird’ should be wonderful with Juliana Hatfield back in Pittsburgh - Beaver County Times

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Interview - ‘Weird’ should be wonderful with Juliana Hatfield back in Pittsburgh - Beaver County Times

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Juliana, interviewed by Scott Tady, for The Beaver County Times ahead of her show in Pittsburgh, commenting on Weird and the recent video for Broken Doll:

“I think (the video) came out really funny but also provocative. Another thing in it is physical comedy, which I’ve always wanted to do. I’m a big fan of pratfalls, so I wanted to do that. Like Chevy Chase in the ’70s on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ or Chris Farley. So I got to do some of those falls,” Hatfield. “But it’s also making a point about how women in our society are put out to pasture. And it’s making fun of glamor, which is based on such a lie.”

See also a separate interview with Jeff Niesel for Cleveland Scene, also about the lineup for the US dates:

For the current tour, Hatfield recruited Dean Fisher to play bass and has “two local Boston guys who I’ve never toured with before” in the band as well. They'll play songs from her 30-plus year career.

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Interview - The Blake Babies: Songs of Innocence… and Bad Experiences Redeemed - Rock and Roll Globe

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Interview - The Blake Babies: Songs of Innocence… and Bad Experiences Redeemed - Rock and Roll Globe

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Freda, John, and Juliana are interviewed by Jack Rabid for Rock and Roll Globe to talk about the reissue of Innocence and Experience. It's an excellent read. They talk about an unreleased song ("Radiator") which they all seem to love and which any fan reading will now be very keen to hear! They also all speak in remarkably candid detail about the early 90s break up. An excerpt:

FREDA: Regarding our demise, it was indeed, as Juliana remembers, long and drawn out! What was hardest for me was that we agreed to break up but kept playing shows, mostly to fulfill our obligations. Being a dead band rocking was no fun, and on one long tour I was very depressed then got super sick and went home in the middle—to be replaced by Juliana’s brother—and then I opted out of our final tour of Europe because it just felt sad and pointless to me. I’ve always needed to feel like I’m working with a sense of hope and direction and forward momentum, and the Blake Babies had that in our early years, which was exciting, and when that was gone I checked out, disappointed and a little wounded. Now I wish I had rallied to keep my shit together for a strong ending. My regret about that was one factor in my suggesting the [2001 comeback fourth LP] God Bless the Blake Babies reunion album and tour—I wanted a happier final chapter for us! I’m not sure if it’s because of the reunion or because of time, or because of love and friendship, but I don’t have any bad feelings about the breakup now. I just feel lucky I ever got to be in a band with Juliana and John.

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Juliana Hatfield Three 2019 UK Tour Review

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Juliana Hatfield Three 2019 UK Tour Review

(I’ve written this up as an account of my week going to shows on the UK tour last month. I normally write a more detached review because I’m often reporting on shows across the Atlantic I haven’t attended! I’ve decided to write this in a bit more of a personal style which hopefully will bring back memories for those there, and give a taste of what it was like for those of you who weren’t. It was an amazing week - Craig)

On August 24, 1995 I took a day off work to see Juliana perform a 30 minute set at the Virgin Megastore on London’s Oxford Street. This was the day before she played the Reading Festival.

It was lunchtime in a brightly lit store but it remains one of my favourite gigs ever. After all it was Juliana Hatfield playing with with drummer Todd Philips and bassist Dean Fisher. The band name had been retired by then but I was so thrilled to be watching The Juliana Hatfield Three.

I didn’t know it would be nearly 24 years before I’d see them perform together again!

Juliana’s UK tour in May 2019 - her first full band shows in Europe for a nearly a quarter of a century - was an opportunity not to be missed...


Brighton

May 20, 2019

The week kicked off in an upstairs room in a Brighton pub and The Prince Albert is such a Brighton pub!

Situated right near the train station, with an exterior wall artwork devoted to musicians, this is clearly a regular home for Sussex indie types.

It’s easily the smallest venue the band would play in all week, and what could have been a low-key warmup show was anything but in these surroundings.

One of the hottest rooms I’ve ever seen a gig played gave the show a raw feel. It was super loud too!

After over two decades since Juliana had rocked out in the UK, the first sound the Brighton crowd heard was Juliana’s vocals:

“Na na na na na na Baby baby baby “

The set list would settle into a different order in subsequent shows, but here opening with that noise from Going Blonde seemed so appropriate.

It was such a tight little room that there was no backstage area. The only route to the dressing room was stepping off the stage into the crowd. When it came to the end of the set the band headed into a corner of the stage and realising their predicament quickly resumed their positions for the encore!

It was an awesome show. I always love visiting Brighton too. My week had only just begun though…


London

May 21, 2019

I was surprised when I saw that the London date was at Islington Academy. It’s a fair size venue for a band who hadn’t played in the city for 25 years but London did good and came out to fill the place. Juliana even joked on stage that she wasn’t sure if anyone would come.

I recalled the 2006 solo electric shows at Bush Hall as I looked around and saw so many smiling faces as we heard many of our favourite songs performed live for the fist time in ages, and in some cases the first time ever.

This was a special moment and it seemed like Juliana and the band could feel it too. It was amusing as she invited questions from the crowd during the set:

“What’s the best show you’ve ever played?” “This one! I like to live in the moment!”

London felt like a big celebration. It had been a gorgeous sunny day in the city. I spent the afternoon taking in exhibits at the Tate Modern and hanging out by the river, and was in a joyful mood by the time of the show. It was clear I wasn’t alone.

What a sound the band made here too.

It was delightful to hear If I Could. One my favourite Juliana songs again brought back memories of that London 2006 show, where it was still a newish song for me from the honour download thing. 13 years later it’s now an official Juliana Hatfield Three song, so it just had to be heard with Dean and Todd. Perfect.

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Todd’s view. @taphilips

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photo by @stacee

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See also photography by Daniel Gray for Academy Music Group and Jason Miller's review and photos at The Vinyl District


I think everyone who visited Bristol for this show took a photo here!

I think everyone who visited Bristol for this show took a photo here!

Bristol

May 22, 2019

This one was on a boat!

Charlie P had given me some background before we came - The Thekla is a former cargo ship, once owned and lived in by Vivian Stanshall’s family and used for musical theatre and cabaret in the 1980s.

The only times I’ve ever been to Bristol have been very brief visits. No change here but I did get to see a gorgeous part of the city. The whole wharf area is very picturesque, particularly in the early evening weather. I wish I could have seen more.

Probably the quietest crowd of the week for this one. My personality doesn’t lend itself to much shouting or whooping at shows and I think Bristol was full of people like me :D Maybe Juliana too who commented on stage that she wasn’t much of a noisemaker when attending shows. Probably the contrast in atmosphere from the previous night in London made this more noticeable from the stage.

Regardless of this, and what may have been some sound issues for the band, I loved this show!

The sound was great in the audience, and I found the unusual setting perfect for my tastes.

We had a double encore here too, Juliana returning to conclude with a couple of solo electric songs including a beautiful version of Suspended in Time, which she introduced as a song she likes to play when she has moments to herself. It was gorgeous.

I loved every show I saw all week but Bristol was my favourite.

It was also my first chance to say hi in person to Stacee, who was over visiting the UK for the first time for these shows. As we all know Stacee has contributed immensely to Juliana’s fan community from the official website, the old forum, all the wonderful photos, and so much more. If you haven’t seen the pictures posted during the week, I've included a few here from Juliana’s and Stacee’s Instagram for a flavour of life on the road with the band, and what it’s like on the other side of the stage. We all got to spend more time together again later in the week. It was a delight to meet up and it made the tour all the more special for us Europeans for Stacee to be here :)

Because of this chat I didn’t get a chance to speak to support artist She Makes War (Laura Kidd) who had invited the crowd to say hi at the merch desk. I’ve been a fan of Laura’s music for many years, and have helped to crowdfund her albums but I’d never seen her live before. It had all just added to my anticipation for this tour :) It was great to hear these songs live performed in her home city. I enjoyed the subtle differences in sound between the trio here and the four-piece band from the previous night in London.

I loved the vocal effects on Delete, the rockier full band tracks, and particularly the emotion of Dear Heart which is such a gorgeous song.

As I say, Bristol was the highlight for me. I loved it so much I had to keep going!

Back in 2014 after seeing Minor Alps in London I had an urge to do it all again and quickly made arrangements to head off to Brighton the following day. That same feeling returned as soon as this Bristol show ended. I found myself wishing friends Lieve and Carsten a good journey to the following day’s show, but quickly realised that I wanted to go too! As soon as I got back to my hotel, I had travel bookings for the next day in Nottingham :)


Nottingham

May 23, 2019

Again my time in Nottingham was limited so I didn’t see much (or get to go on the Robin Hood Trail!), but I did spend a nice afternoon in the sun around the city centre and Trent University area. I was also far too excited to see the trams :)

At the show Juliana acknowledged that she was playing in fellow Blake Baby Freda’s one-time home city.

The support band here and the rest of the tour was the fabulous Colour Me Wednesday. The band had also opened in Brighton where band member Harriet Doveton had declared her excitement at the week ahead revealing that Juliana was a reason why she played guitar. (Laura / She Makes War said something similar in Bristol, making the choice of artists playing on this tour so wonderful)

I got to love their songs by the end of the tour and look forward to checking out more of their work.

Look at this photo of Harriet clutching her LPs at the end of the tour. Blake Babies Vinyl!

Rescue Rooms is located near one of the city’s two universities and shares a building with the Stealth bar and nightclub. It’s a very indie studenty venue. The band seemed to really get into this performance, and despite a relatively high ceiling for the size of the room, the sound filled the place wonderfully.

Juliana asked if anyone in the crowd remembered the last time “The Three” played Nottingham in the 90s and was delighted when an audience member offered proof by wearing a 2 decades + old JH3 t-shirt!

Except of course these shows were not just “The Three.” It might have been difficult to market ticket sales as the “Juliana Hatfield Four” but that’s how I’m going to think of them :)

Joe Keefe added so much to these performances. He sure can play. it was great to hear Made In China songs Joe had worked on but his contribution and solos on all tracks was awesome.

The band as a whole sounded great. Dean’s bass lines are so good, and Todd is an exceptional drummer. These songs just sound so right when Dean and Todd play them. They look so cool too :)

With Joe to give an even fuller sound the layers on Lost Ship sounded gorgeous, and made the big rock tracks like Nirvana and I Got No Idols stunning all week.

I’m so happy I was able to fit this bonus show in to my schedule. It was a cracker.

Here’s some excellent photos courtesy of Gav Medza:

There are other photos at Fit For Moshing

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The set list changed slightly during the tour but this Nottingham list is fairly representative of the week.

I returned home for a couple of days so I can’t report on Glasgow or the Manchester show (where the band played mid-afternoon as part of the Gigantic Festival). By all accounts these performances were equally excellent and looking at social media it seems the band had a great time too.


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Birmingham

May 26, 2019

The final show of the week.

It was great for me to meet fellow fan David Young here. We’d spoken online many times and regular visitors to this site will be familiar with his awesome live photography. David had certainly put in a remarkable effort in a whirlwind trip across the Atlantic and back for the last three shows of the tour (and in Manchester managed to combine a Juliana festival appearance in the afternoon with a Sting show in the evening!)

Any sadness that the tour was ending here was outweighed by the joy that it had happened.

Similarly, the sound issues at the Institute (and I’ll be honest there were many at this show, particularly at the start for both JH3 and Colour Me Wednesday) really didn’t matter in the end.

It’s a small venue in a larger building (we were in a room on the top floor) and it was a nice intimate way to finish. It brought back memories for some in the crowd who had seen Juliana play with Evan Dando here in 2012, and Juliana remembered that that was the show where she had to collect Evan from a bar to begin their set!

The band worked their way through a now familiar set list, including a very welcome reprise of If I Could.

The set lists for these shows were inspired, offering a full range of Juliana’s post-Blake Babies career. Great picks from Hey Babe, BWYA, Only Everything, to the “middle years” with the Made In China songs, and a few from the last three albums including a banging version of Olivia’s Physical.

I’d like to say a big thank you to whoever it was that requested the final song and for Juliana for playing it from memory. She’d come back for a second encore and surprised us with a gorgeous solo electric version of Make It Home - one of my favourite ever songs. It was a beautiful, perfect way to end the week.

She headed off stage telling the crowd she’d be back in England in October.

I’d like to thank Juliana for coming out after the show to briefly chat with us. It must be odd to be asked to chat and pose for photos for folk at any time, but particularly after the energy of a performance and the week on the road, so I really appreciate it. Again it was a great way to end the week and have a chance to thank Juliana for what was an unforgettable tour, hearing some of the most influential life-affecting songs performed live with her band. Thank you so much for coming over Jules.

Every show was unique in some way and I’ll take great memories from each one.

I’m so happy it all happened. I had the best time, with the best people :) I love that we get to come together to hear Juliana share these songs and moments with us.

Kudos to those who travelled far more than me, especially those who came from other countries. I get why you do it even more now :) Thank you to everyone who I got to enjoy the week with especially Lieve, Carsten, Charlie, Gav, Phil, David, and of course Stacee. I know it meant a lot to others too. Just seeing all the happy faces in the crowds told me that.

It’s the best feeling, made extra special on this tour with the addition of Todd, Dean, and Joe on these songs.

I hope everyone enjoys the upcoming shows in the US this month and Juliana’s European return in October, and that you all get to experience the joy I felt all week.

An unforgettable time.

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What A Week

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What A Week

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I'll post a review of last week's shows here soon.

But for now a huge thank you to Juliana, Dean, Todd, and Joe for a fabulous week of music that was the JH3 UK tour.

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Updated UK/US Tour Dates - May, June 2019

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Updated UK/US Tour Dates - May, June 2019

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Two new US dates previously unlisted here have been announced for New Haven, CT (June 18) and Columbus, OH (June 20).

With the UK tour imminent, here's an updated list of all upcoming shows:

The Juliana Hatfield Three

May 2019, UK
20 Brighton - The Albert
21 London - O2 Academy Islington
22 Bristol - Thekla
23 Nottingham - Rescue Rooms
24 Glasgow - CCA
25 Manchester - Academy - part of Gigantic Vol 5 All Day Festival
26 Birmingham - O2 Institute


Juliana Hatfield

June 2019, US
18 New Haven, CT - Cafe Nine
19 Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live
20 Columbus, OH - Rumba Cafe
21 Ferndale, MI - The Magic Bag
22 Evanston, IL - Out of Space (outdoor show headlined by Liz Phair)
23 Cleveland, OH - Music Box
24 Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe
26 Washington, DC - Union Stage
27 New York City, NY - Mercury Lounge
28 Jersey City, NJ - Monty Hall

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Interview - Self Portrait: Juliana Hatfield - My Hands Are Tools | Under the Radar

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Interview - Self Portrait: Juliana Hatfield - My Hands Are Tools | Under the Radar

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From a feature published today at Under the Radar:

For our recurring Self-Portrait feature we ask a musician to take a self-portrait photo (or paint/draw a self-portrait) and write a list of personal things about themselves, things that their fans might not already know about them. This Self-Portrait is by Juliana Hatfield.
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Read on as Hatfield writes about the skill she wants to master, her hands, and the thing that most makes her stomach queasy.

Read Juliana's words in the article at http://www.undertheradarmag.com/interviews/self-portrait_juliana_hatfield

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Video - Undiscovered Planet - A Short Film by David Doobinin (with Juliana Hatfield)

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Video - Undiscovered Planet - A Short Film by David Doobinin (with Juliana Hatfield)

A new short film by David Doobinin as published via American Laundromat Records' YouTube channel today, with the following quotes:

"David (Doobinin) shot and directed the two videos from my Olivia Newton-John album and he has photographed me, too, and I've really liked working with him. There is a casualness to his style that puts me at ease--he doesn't push too hard. And I like the results. He manages to capture something real about who I am and how I see myself, and not many photographers/vidoegraphers are able to do that. I was talking to David about maybe working with me on a larger project like perhaps documenting the making of my next album. As of now we've had trouble scheduling that but we did have time to sort of get our feet wet and shoot some everyday documentary footage in and around my home, which we thought made an interesting little short film." - Juliana Hatfield

“What always struck me about Juliana the previous times we worked together is her physicality. The way she moves through each moment. It’s an unselfconscious dance that teeters between a stumbling Chevy Chase and a Runway Model. She has this fearlessness in her music and the way she lives her life. I wanted to try and capture some of that.” - David Doobinin

follettefilms.com

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Review Fix Exclusive: Blake Babies’ Juliana Hatfield and John Strohm Talk Vinyl Re-Release And More

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Review Fix Exclusive: Blake Babies’ Juliana Hatfield and John Strohm Talk Vinyl Re-Release And More

Patrick Hickey Jr, with a great interview for Review Fix with John and Juliana reflecting on the recently reissued 1993 Blake Babies compilation:

Review Fix: What made this album special for you when it was originally released?

JH: Well, it was a compilation of a lot of stuff that had already been released so for me personally it wasn’t so crucial that it was even put together. But I think it was nice for a lot of people out there who maybe hadn’t heard the original albums to be able to grab one single overview that contained a bunch of songs from a bunch of different places so that they could get a taste of the band.

JS: I enjoyed compiling this album, but it was intended to be a sort of retrospective once the band was in the process of breaking up. It was really emotional for us at the time, but I think we all believed we were on our way to more significant career accomplishments after Blake Babies. It was true for each of us I suppose, but not necessarily in the careers we intended. But I think it’s undeniable that our band launched Juliana as a force in popular music in the 90s, and any ambivalence I might have felt at the time has resolved into feeling very proud of what we all did together.

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Kirkland Ciccone : Hall Of Fame: Bed by Juliana Hatfield

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Kirkland Ciccone : Hall Of Fame: Bed by Juliana Hatfield

Kirkland Ciccone, from a blog post on 1998's Bed album:

Of course I bought it. I buy anything with her name on it. Then, ignoring college, I sat out in George Square with my CD Walkman, giving dirty looks to any pigeon that might try it with me. And I listened. I listened from start to finish. I listened through a slight rain burst. I listened and loved what I heard. It wasn’t as polished as previous albums, but it was undeniably honest, especially in the case of Sellout, a UK bonus track. Sellout is scabrously honest: “It’s not a sellout if nobody bought it.”

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US Tour Dates - June 2019

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US Tour Dates - June 2019

3 US dates confirmed for June 2019. I'll update this page should there more.

update April 10, 2019 5 more US shows in June now added.
update May 7, 2019 2 more US shows added

The list is updated now:

June 2019, US
18 New Haven, CT - Cafe Nine
19 Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live
20 Columbus, OH - Rumba Cafe
21 Ferndale, MI - The Magic Bag
22 Evanston, IL - Out of Space (outdoor show headlined by Liz Phair)
23 Cleveland, OH - Music Box
24 Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe
26 Washington, DC - Union Stage
27 New York City, NY - Mercury Lounge
28 Jersey City, NJ - Monty Hall

Also, as previously confirmed there are 7 UK shows in May 2019.

See the Tour Dates page for all upcoming shows.

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Juliana To Perform At Wesley Stace's Cabinet Of Wonders in Boston on April 1, 2019

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Juliana To Perform At Wesley Stace's Cabinet Of Wonders in Boston on April 1, 2019

Juliana is returning to the "Cabinet of Wonders" variety show curated by and featuring Wesley Stace at City Winery Boston on April 1, 2019.

Previous appearances at these events have seen Juliana perform a couple of songs during the performance.

Tickets are available now:

https://citywinery.com/boston/cabinetofwonders040119.html

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Fave Five: Juliana Hatfield | PopMatters

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Fave Five: Juliana Hatfield | PopMatters

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Evan Sawdey, writing for PopMatters:

...for 2019, Hatfield continues her potent brand of catchy songwriting but marries it to lyrics dealing with ennui, alienation, and the difficulty of fitting into modern society with her new studio album Weird. In many ways, the vibe of the album is a bit of a throwback to her early-2000s records, but her maturity and wit is on full display even as she juggles some treacherous topics, just as her idols like the Kinks and the Merge Records family have done before.

So to celebrate the occasion, PopMatters asked Hatfield to fill out her own "Fave Five", this time choosing the topic of "Top Five Albums That Were Spun the Most on the Record Player of My Pre-Pubescence". Given how much she nods her heroes on Weird, it was as fitting a tribute as we could've asked for.

Find out which 5 albums Juliana mentions in the article:

https://www.popmatters.com/fave-five-juliana-hatfield-2627933426.html

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Interview -  Alone with her guitar, Juliana Hatfield embraces confusion on Weird | GuitarPlayer.com

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Interview - Alone with her guitar, Juliana Hatfield embraces confusion on Weird | GuitarPlayer.com

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Jim Beaugez, interviewing Juliana for GuitarPlayer.com:

[JB] Were there times on Weird when you dug particularly deep into the guitar tones?

[JH] Yeah, there were lots of sonic experiments, like the solo on “Lost Ship.” We recorded the guitar solo direct into the Neve console. No amplifier. That’s how I got that cool sound.

That’s also how Nirvana did “Territorial Pissings” [on Nevermind].

Oh, did they? I love the sound of it. It sounds like something’s broken. In the song “It’s So Weird,” we did the solo through a Leslie speaker, which I haven’t done much on my records. My favorite pedal was a Zvex Fuzz Factory, which I played on some stuff on this album. It’s my new favorite pedal.

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Revolutionary Punk - Interview with Juliana Hatfield | Weird Magazin

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Revolutionary Punk - Interview with Juliana Hatfield | Weird Magazin

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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!

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