Alt-rock singer/songwriter Juliana Hatfield returns with her second record of 2019 with a tribute to the Police, covering a smattering of the trio’s classics and deeper cuts. This stands as Hatfield’s second covers record, having paid tribute to Olivia Newton-John back in 2018, and it’s a tradition she hopes to continue. She released the insular and reflective Weird, her 17th solo album, back in January of this year. Hatfield’s teaser for the upcoming covers record is her version of “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da,” which suits her style amazingly well. I hadn’t previously heard a Police influence in her solo work, but I can’t un-hear it now.
Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police is out in November on American Laundromat Records. You can pre-order it here.
Next month Kate Bush will releaseDirector’s Cut, an album wherein the venerable singer will “revisit” songs from her esteemed albums, The Sensual World and The Red Shoes. So, not exactly new material to speak of. The history of musicians reworking classics is plagued with puzzled fans and tarnished legends. Anyone up for a dose of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86?” Right. So, the first single off Director’s Cut is one of my least favorite Kate Bush song’s to begin with- the fact that she adds loads of vocal mutilating auto-tune to it only hastens my disgust. And then there’s this cheesy, literal video with a man falling in love with a ridiculously animated pair of red lips representing the computer program that understands him like no other. Ugh. It does go a bit off the rails at the end, though. So, there’s that.
As with any reunion news that surfaces these days, Pulp’s reformation is no great surprise. The only band that would genuinely shock me with a reunion is The Smiths, and that’s only because I know what a grudge-holding drama queen Morrissey is. Short of The Smiths, though, anyone seems fair game. As a fan, I’m always torn between dread and excitement when I initially hear the news. And even that depends on how long-in-the-tooth said reuniting band is. The Police reunion was almost too little too late. Sting looked good enough to pull it off, but the key changes to accommodate his aged vocal cords were too drastic and many of the songs lacked the punch they required. So, as excited I was finally to see a band I had grown up listening to, I couldn’t help feeling slightly cheated. Conversely, when I saw Bauhaus’ Resurrection Tour in 1998 it was like watching a band in its prime. To this day it stands as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. With Pulp, I’m not worried about Jarvis Cocker not being able to hit the notes. In fact, I think Pulp will sound as good if not better than it ever did. But there’s something to be said for leaving the legend alone. Don’t you think, Pixies? I respect bands that don’t reunite far more than the ones that do, even if I sate my inner fanboy by rushing to the reunion gigs. As for Pulp, who never attained the ubiquity of Blur or Oasis, the darker corners of that movement’s laddish populism never quite suited Cocker’s complex storylines, so I’m not sure what the popular demand will be for a reunited Pulp. Nevertheless, I’ll probably go if the tour even scrapes the South.
Home to various and sundry 1980’s underground giants, I.R.S. Records has finally caught up with the present, placing a large selection of its catalog on iTunes for the very first time.
From Wired: “Founded by Miles Copeland (older brother of Stewart, drummer from The Police) and Jay Boberg, the I.R.S. roster included R.E.M., Marillion, English Beat, The Cramps, The Go-Go’s, Oingo Boingo, Squeeze, The Buzzcocks, The Alarm, Gary Numan, Wall of Voodoo, General Public, Dread Zeppelin, Fine Young Cannibals, Black Sabbath and Concrete Blonde.”
The selected artists now available can be found at I.R.S Records’ iTunes store.
I’ve grown up resignedly accepting the fact that there are some bands I’ll just never get to see live. Not because they’re dead, but because they had bad break ups or whatever various and sundry reasons caused their demise. Talking Heads is one example. Well, a few exceptions have creeped up on me over the years much to my delight. I got to see Bauhaus in 1998, which blew me away, not only because it was just surreal seeing a band that was so inextricably bound to my adolescence that I thought it was a permanent part of the past but because they were absolutely amazing. And I saw The Police last summer, which was equally surreal, if not quite as energized. I’m not a big fan of reunions, per se, but I love music more than I hate reunions. The news of My Bloody Valentine’s regrouping shouldn’t have surprised me that much given the fact that just about every band on the planet is getting back together whether anyone actually wants them to or not, but I guess I figured Kevin Shields had morphed into too much of a freak hermit to pull it off. So, I’m beyond intrigued/excited to see how they sound 17 years after the release of Loveless, one of my favorite albums of all time.