Juliana Hatfield has announced the latest in her "Juliana Hatfield Sings" covers series, taking on ELO next, with the album out November 17 via American Laundromat.
“ELO songs were always coming on the radio when I was growing up," Juliana says. "They were a reliable source of pleasure and fascination. With this album of covers I wanted to get my hands deep into some of the massive ‘70’s hits but I am also shining a light on some of the later work… My task was to try and break all the things down and reconstruct them subtly until they felt like mine.”
The album includes "Showdown," "Strange Magic," and "Telephone Line," but no "Mr Blue Sky" or "Sweet Talking Woman," and the first track she's shared is her fairly reverent take on ELO's stomping "Don't Bring Me Down," which was a worldwide hit in 1979. "ELO’s ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ is such a solid construction that trying to rework it initially felt like taking a sledgehammer to concrete,” says Juliana. “I didn’t worry about matching all the original’s exact sounds and parts, and we even dared a few cymbal crashes (the ELO version has one famously unchanging drum loop -- no crashes — from start to finish). This is not a radical reinvention but it is a little more bubbly.” Listen below.
The "Juliana Hatfield Sings" series has previously tackled Olivia Newton John, including her ELO collab "Xanadu," and The Police.
Juliana also has a few live dates this summer, playing a benefit concert in Northampton, MA's Look Memorial Park on June 17 that also features Gin Blossoms, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Letters to Cleo's Kay Hanley, Marcy Playground and more, and she's playing as part of the two-night Nuggets 50th Anniversary at NYC's City Winery on July 28 & 29 that also features Bob Mould, REM's Peter Buck, Patti Smith, Jesse Malin, Marshall Crenshaw, and more.