Thursday last week saw the first of 3 consecutive nights at Paradise Rock Club, Boston where Blake Babies opened for Letters to Cleo.
Photos courtesy of David Young of Dry Eye Photography.
Video bumpers for St. Louis local access cable program "Velocity", filmed behind Mississippi Nights, 1995.
Thanks to Carlos for spotting that this random vintage clip was recently uploaded to YouTube
John P Strohm has a new job:
The music industry is changing almost daily with technological advancements, social media and the shifting population of music fans, and no one knows that better than John Strohm. Strohm, a former Birmingham resident and graduate of the Cumberland School of Law at Samford, recently was named president of Rounder Records in Nashville, after years as a musician himself and an entertainment lawyer. But Strohm made a name for himself musically as a member of bands such as the Lemonheads, Blake Babies and Antenna, and help launch the careers of some of today's most successful musicians - including Alabama Shakes, Sturgill Simpson and the Civil Wars.
Patch caught up with Strohm to discuss his new gig as a record executive, what brought him here, and where music is headed as an industry.
Beautiful performances of Choose Drugs and Christmas Cactus here.
Juliana has announced that she will be appearing with Wesley Stace over three nights on October, performing "mostly solo and acoustic." One is as support and the other two are multi artist "Cabinet of Wonders" variety shows which have previously seen Juliana perform maybe a couple of songs.
Also, there's three Blake Babies shows coming up in November, opening for Letters to Cleo at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Yay!
"Mostly Solo Acoustic" Performances
11 Hudson, NY - Club Helsinki (Wesley Stace's Cabinet of Wonders - appearing with Charles Bock, Tracy Bonham, Dave Hill, Stephen Merritt, Suzzy Roche)
12 Ardmore, PA - The Ardmore Music Hall (opening for Wesley Stace)
13 New York City, NY - City Winery (Wesley Stace's Cabinet of Wonders - appearing with Eric Andersen, Dave Hill, Stephen Merritt, Eugene Mirman, David Myles, Aparna Nancherla, Annalee Newitz)
Blake Babies Performances
16 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club (opening for Letters to Cleo)
17 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club (opening for Letters to Cleo)
18 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club (opening for Letters to Cleo)
The same trio recorded Pussycat just 7 months ago. Intriguing.
> “Touch You Again” and “When You’re a Star” have very distinctive riffs. Were they part of the song from the beginning?
Riffs usually come later. On “When You’re a Star,” we had the guitar and bass recorded. Then with that riff, it was like a light bulb going on over my head—I ran into the tracking room and recorded it. That happens a lot. The song will be recorded and I’ll hear a riff, melodically, in my head. I just have to transfer it from my brain onto the guitar.
> Do the vocal melodies come first?
Not always. Sometimes songs start with just chord progressions. But usually, once I have any kind of chord progression, the melody comes also. I often have melodies written ahead of the lyrics, which makes lyric writing more difficult because I have to fit them into these melodies.
I’ll get attached to sounds and then it takes a while for me to wrench my brain away from that and realize it’s okay to get unstuck. There were a couple of songs on the album where I was really stuck. “Everything Is Forgiven” moves around a lot. It was hard to fit words into that melody.
Sometimes I have a title and a melody, and I’m like “I’ve gotta get this goddam title in there!” “When You’re a Star” had to use those words: “When you’re a star, they let you.” It was like a puzzle. I figured out the only way to make it work was to change the order of the words around.
It's an excellent article split over 3 pages that covers many aspects of the Pussycat recording process from studio setup, guitar tuning, and song construction.
Also, given a little time has passed there's some retrospective thoughts on the lyrics and themes of the songs.
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.