Fast on the heels of April 2018’s acclaimed “Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John” comes Juliana Hatfield’s new self-produced all-originals album “Weird”. Freda Love Smith (Blake Babies, Sunshine Boys) and Todd Philips (Lemonheads, The Juliana Hatfield Three) each played drums on multiple songs while Hatfield played all of the other instruments (and some additional drums).
“Weird” is an album about disconnection and discomfort. “I often feel cut-off from other people, from my feelings, from technology, from popular culture,” says Hatfield. “I feel weird, I feel like I’m dreaming my life and that I am going to wake up some day.”
While Hatfield’s songs—melodies and lyrics and structures– are meticulously crafted, her guitar parts are loose and sometimes a little unhinged, first-take expressions of this temperamental uneasiness.
“Personally, I feel like a malfunctioning machine. There’s a screw or two loose. I want my guitar playing to reflect that.”
Shellye Valauskas Experience
It took nearly a decade, but The Shellye Valauskas Experience (Shellye Valauskas and Dean Falcone) released their second recording, History of Panic, on February 10, 2018. History of Panic, their first full-length album, is the follow-up to the 2008 EP Box It Up, which was named one of the top 10 local releases in the yearly roundups in the New Haven Register and New Haven Advocate. Recorded at Q Division Studios in Somerville, and Firehouse 12 in New Haven, History of Panic features collaborations with artists who have shaped their sound in one way or another – legendary drummer Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention, XTC, Paul McCartney), Jon Auer (The Posies, Big Star, Dynamo Royale) and Matt Pynn (Dwight Yoakam, Miley Cyrus), as well as New England favorites Ed Valauskas (Juliana Hatfield, The Gravel Pit), Scott Janovitz (The Figgs, Graham Parker), Jen D’Angora (Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents, The Downbeat 5), Abbie Barrett, and Brendan Haley. Also on the album is drummer Jim Balga who goes back to the early ’80s with Falcone, as members of legendary New Haven pop combo The Excerpts (which also included Jon Brion).
Based in the New Haven area, Valauskas (a high school biology teacher) and Falcone (who wears many hats) have been making music together for years. In addition to being Valauskas' songwriting collaborator, bandmate & producer, Falcone has served the Connecticut music scene since the early ’80s with Jon Brion in The Excerpts, his own Dean and the Dragsters and a host of others. He has also worked on a national level collaborating with Norah Jones, Brian May (Queen), Aimee Mann, Lydia Loveless, Susannah Hoffs and Neko Case. On History of Panic, produced by Falcone, their shared love of the punchy pop of Crowded House, The Posies and Aimee Mann helps them nail a distinctive, accessible, radio-friendly sound from the start.