Juliana Hatfield Three, Frisbie | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Juliana Hatfield

Juliana Hatfield

Brad Walsh

When: Sat., March 7, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $20
Juliana Hatfield has released 11 solo albums since Become What You Are, the record she made in 1993 with bassist Dean Fisher and drummer Todd Philips as the Juliana Hatfield Three. But she remains best remembered for a pair of singles with the JH3. Though “Universal Heartbeat” and “What a Life”—a pair of tracks from 1995’s solo effort, Only Everything—were in heavy rotation on MTV (and on a certain 15-year-old’s bedroom jam box), and though her Blake Babies EP from 1991 consists of maybe the first musical ode to Kurt Cobain with “Nirvana,” “My Sister,” the chorusless tale of a fictional older sibling, and “Spin the Bottle,” featured on the soundtrack to the film Reality Bites, together represent Hatfield’s most infectious concoctions. As prolific as she is on her own, the collaborative element is essential in preventing the angel-voiced front woman from slipping too far into the realm of singer-songwriter preciousness, or pandering to an audience with grunge cliches. So it’s refreshing that the trio’s first album together in 21 years, Whatever, My Love (American Laundromat), stays true to the jangly power pop they cultivated more than two decades ago. Turns out that a few of the standout tracks, such as “Invisible” and “If I Could,” were written in the 90s, excavated, and given the studio treatment. Plus “Ordinary Guy,” a song which details the characteristics of her deadbeat boyfriends, deftly illustrates the group’s proficiency at melding Hatfield’s sweet vocal delivery and her acerbic lyrics with effortless hooks. They’ve promised to perform both old and new material on the tour, which sweetens the reunion. —Erin Osmon
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