Juliana's acoustic session for WFUV recorded back in April is now available to watch and listen at:
The songs are There's Always Another Girl, Touch You Again, and Wonder Why.
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.
Sunshine Boys are a Chicago-based trio of veteran recording and touring artists from some of the most revered bands in indie rock. Featuring Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, Antenna, Mysteries of Life), Jacqueline Schimmel (Justin Roberts, Big Hello), and Dag Juhlin (Poi Dog Pondering, The Slugs), Sunshine Boys offer a propulsive, melodic take on pop rock.
Listen to their debut single above and download / contribute at bandcamp.
Juliana, interviewed by Christopher Mathieu for Nouvelle Vague:
NV - Il y a des artistes musicaux qui t’intéressent en-dehors du monde du rock ?
JH - Honnêtement, je ne suis pas très inspirée par beaucoup de musique récente parce que je n’en écoute pas beaucoup. Il y a bien du jazz et des vieux compositeurs pour piano que j’aime…
NV - Pas de musique électronique ou hip hop ?
JH - Il y a des artistes comme Kendrick Lamar que je trouve inspirant… en fait, j’écoute plein de choses diverses mais rien vraiment de bien précis.
It's a lengthy interview, where Juliana mentions that if she ever were to gain the rights to God's Foot she would intend to release it (yes!), future (hypothetical) collaborators on new music, and many other matters with questions covering her career.
It's in French but the linguistically challenged among us should be fine with a translator tool - the built in translator in Google Chrome does a grand job.
Juliana, writing about Jeff Buckley:
Jeff was gifted with a prodigious, supernatural, dazzling talent. He could do so much with his voice and his guitar and the way he wove them together was breathtaking. He was a fan of so much music, so many kinds of music, and he absorbed it all with a quasi-photographic musical memory, integrating all sorts of disparate elements effortlessly. It must have been overwhelming sometimes to have so many options, hard to narrow down what it was he wanted to present to the world. He wasn’t as limited as some of us are, but this this freedom, this ability, to do almost anything — it could have been crippling, in a way; if you have fewer options and fewer decisions it means your task is much simpler.
Read the whole article at Tidal.
A new show has been announced today - Juliana will be sharing the bill with Jesse Malin and Mathew Ryan at Bowery Ballroom, New York City on July 22, 2017.
Update A second "co-headline" show with Jesse Malin has been announced for July 21, 2017 at Crossroads, Garwood, NJ. Ticketfly link
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:
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.
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:
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.
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’.
Kids Interview Bands:
Piper interviewed Juliana Hatfield at Ace of Cups in Columbus, Ohio on April 30, 2017.
Kids Interview Bands launched in the summer of 2012 with original hosts Olivia and Connie. In the summer of 2014, Olivia's youngest sister Piper took over the hosting duties. The girls have interviewed over 350 touring artists who have passed through Columbus, Ohio since launch.
A different set of questions to the normal here. Fabulous.
Juliana's acoustic session for Paste as originally broadcast live on April 27 from New York City is now available to view on demand.
Update - now also on YouTube as above.
An interview with Estelle Tang for Elle, as part of Juliana's promotion for Pussycat but focusing on a song from many years ago. Juliana:
I was feeling sexism coming at me, I was feeling people making assumptions about me. But it was a continuation of lifelong sexism that girls start to encounter as soon as they're conscious, you know? It's a continuum of people seeing you in a certain way if you're a woman, or if you look a certain way or if you sound a certain way. And I was very self-conscious about the sound of my voice. I knew it was kind of young-sounding and girlish and thin, and I was always fighting against what my voice might make people assume about me.
I wanted to counter the cuteness with whatever else I could. Like intelligence, even surliness sometimes. I wasn't smiling all the time. I had a bit of an attitude, I was kind of irritable. There are people out there who will see a cute girl singing a melodic song and they have a bunch of assumptions. I wanted to just be clear that I was in charge of my thing. I was in charge of my music and my image and no one else was controlling me.
[Recently, while making Hatfield's new album] it all really became so clear that nothing has changed, with the whole Donald Trump pussy grab thing. All this stuff came rushing back to me, the whole lifetime of sexism and misogyny. It only became fully clear to me at that moment, where I realized the man who is about to become the most powerful man in the country—it's all the way up at the top. It's so rooted in the culture and in maybe in men. That's the truth. It hasn't changed. And it was always there [during] my whole career.
Vincent Scarpa, interviewing Juliana for Performer Mag:
VS: Was there something about these songs, this project, that led you to make that decision? Did it feel necessary in some way to be in control in any and all ways possible?
JH: Partly it was just the urgency of the songs, the urgency of how I was feeling at the time. I wanted the songs to feel urgent and timely by the time the record was done. I thought, “Kellyanne might be fired soon!” [Laughs.] And if I do everything, I don’t have to negotiate with anyone about what I like or what I don’t like. I had a very strong, clear vision. And I’d just done some gigs with The Blake Babies playing bass, so I was feeling like my bass chops were kind of lubed up. It was quick, it was economical. Twelve days, recorded and mixed. And I’m so happy with the sound of it. With some of my older records, when I go back and listen to them, I’m disappointed in the sound. But I feel like I finally nailed it on this one. I was very particular. I was very clear with the engineer about exactly what I wanted. And I think cutting out a lot of people in the studio made me more able to have confidence in my vision. When there are other people around, I tend to listen to their opinions. Which isn’t to say their opinions aren’t great—they often are—but I think your vision can be muddied or diffused by other people. Being in there by myself, I was able to really tune in very closely to the process of hearing what I was hearing in my head and then getting that on tape. It feels good. I have doubts about a lot of things, and I’m worried about people misinterpreting it—all of that stuff—but I am proud of this record.
Juliana, interviewed by Michael Tedder in a longform article for Stereogum:
“It’s very easy to overlook me, because I never really went away. It’s hard to sell me. I don’t care. Why would I care? What can I do at this point? I’ve been doing this so long. Some flukey thing could happen. I could have a ‘Walk On The Wild Side,'” she says, referring to Lou Reed’s unexpected, relatively belated hit. She then shuffles her legs. “It could happen. Probably won’t. Something could hit if the timing were right. But I’m not planning on it.”
The in depth article covers the Boston Scene from the early 90s, interviewing some of the artists still creating music today, including Belly, Buffalo Tom and Letters to Cleo.