Hatfield Gets Raw With 'China'
Veteran indie rock artist Juliana Hatfield will return Aug. 9 with her eighth solo album, "Made in China," which will be the first release on her new label, Ye Olde Records.Veteran indie rock artist Juliana Hatfield will return Aug. 9 with her eighth solo album, "Made in China," which will be the first release on her new label, Ye Olde Records. The singer/guitarist/songwriter tells Billboard.com the set was recorded quickly and represents more of the primal side of her music than its predecessor, last year's "In Exile Deo" (Zoe/Rounder).
"'Exile' was much more clean sounding," Hatfield says. "It was more edited and tailored and produced and rehearsed and well planned, and the new record is more haphazard, sound-wise and performance-wise, and it's a little more unconscious. I've bounced back and forth between the two ... both express parts of my personality, but I think its kinda more fun to be raw and sloppy."
The 12-track "Made in China" was recorded in Bellows Falls, Vt., and Cambridge, Mass., and features Hatfield alongside the Martha's Vineyard band Unbusted -- guitarist Joe Keefe, bassist Ben Smith and drummer Sebastian Keefe. Veteran Hatfield road rhythm section Pete Caldes (drums) and Ed Valuaskas (bass) also helped out, but the album is really about Hatfield, who took on all musical duties on the track "Oh," making her recorded debut as a drummer.
"It was really empowering to play all the instruments," she says of the experience. "I could make a whole album with no one else involved at all. It would be a total, unadulterated expression of myself. Because whenever you have others playing on a project, their influence becomes a part of it."
Tracks like tension-filled opener "New Waif," the caustic "My Pet Lion" and "Going Blonde" feature the punkier side of the former Blake Baby and Lemonhead, but the acoustic "Hole in the Sky" is more introspective. Closer "Send Money" is musically spare, but Hatfield's repeated chorus ("Save yourself / if you want to pray for me, tell God to send me some money") resonates powerfully at the record's end.
Hatfield plans to support the record with a short tour down the Eastern seaboard in August, followed by a West Coast outing as a power trio with Caldes and Valuaskas.