Blake Babies

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Blake Babies
BlakeBabies-mammothphoto7.jpg
Blake Babies, c. 1990. From left: Freda Love, John Strohm, Juliana Hatfield
Background information
Origin Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Genres Alternative rock
Years active 1986–1991, 1999–2001, 2016
Labels Mammoth
Associated acts Antenna, Some Girls
Website blakebabies.com
Past members John Strohm
Freda Love
Juliana Hatfield

Blake Babies were an American college rock band formed in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts. The three primary members were John Strohm, Freda Love (born Freda Boner), and Juliana Hatfield. They recorded three albums before splitting up in 1991. They reformed to record a new album in 1999, and again in 2016.

History[edit]

The band formed in 1986, while Hatfield was studying at Berklee College of Music.[1] The name "Blake Babies" was provided by the poet Allen Ginsberg; following a reading at Harvard University, the group (which had just begun to play together) raised their hands and asked him to name their band.[2] Their first release was the Nicely, Nicely album, released on their own Chewbud label in 1987.[3][4]

In 1989 they released the mini-LP Slow Learner on Billy Bragg's Utility label, Evan Dando of the Lemonheads (who Strohm had previously played with) joining as a temporary bassist.[1][3][5] The band then signed to Mammoth Records, who issued Earwig in 1989 and Sunburn in 1990, the latter described by Allmusic as "the last great college rock album".[3][6] Their final UK tour included several sold-out shows, and the band looked on the verge of a breakthrough, but they went on hiatus in 1991, with the Rosy Jack World EP released in June and Hatfield rumored to be on the brink of signing with a major label as a solo artist.[3][7] The band's split was finally confirmed in early 1992.[8]

The Blake Babies toured the United States and Europe, eventually achieving a moderate amount of notice, particularly among listeners of college age who were appreciative of the group's "intelligent" brand of rock music. The band's music (released on the independent North Carolina-based record label Mammoth Records) received little airplay on commercial radio, instead being played primarily on college radio stations.

Andrew Mayer, Seth White, Anthony DeLuca (who played drums in place of Freda for the group's last European tour in early 1992), and Mike Leahy each also performed as members of the band at times.

Strohm and Love continued to perform together in the Indiana-based group Antenna.[3][9]

The group reunited in late 1999 to record a new album,[10] performing a few shows in 1999 and 2000 and embarking on one last US tour in 2001. The result of these recording sessions, God Bless the Blake Babies, was released in 2001 by Rounder Records.[9][11]

Hatfield and Love joined up again in 2003 in the band Some Girls along with fellow musician Heidi Gluck.[12]

In March 2016, the band announced that an album of demos recorded in March 1988 would be released (Earwig Demos), and they reunited again for three live shows that year.[13][14]

Musical style[edit]

The group were compared to R.E.M. and Throwing Muses.[1] The Washington Post described them as "punkish folk-rock".[15]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details
1987 Nicely, Nicely

1989 Slow Learner

  • Released: July, 1989
  • Label: Utility Records
1989 Earwig

1990 Sunburn

2001 God Bless The Blake Babies

  • Released: March 6, 2001
  • Label: Zoë Records

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details
1993 Innocence & Experience

2016 Earwig Demos 6-7 March 1988

  • Released: 2016
  • Label: Chewbud Records

Extended plays[edit]

Year EP details
1991 Rosy Jack World

2002 Epilogue

  • Released: 2001
  • Label: Ye Olde Records

Singles[edit]

Year Title Album B-Sides
1989 "Cesspool" Earwig
1990 "Lament" "Cesspool" & "Loose"
1990 "Out There" Sunburn
1991 "Temptation Eyes" Innocence & Experience
1991 "Take Me"
2001 "Nothing Ever Happens" God Bless The Blake Babies

DVD[edit]

  • Blake Babies (2016)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, pp. 782-3
  2. ^ Earles, Andrew (2014) Gimme Indie Rock: 500 Essential American Underground Rock Albums 1981–1996, Voyageur Press, ISBN 978-0760346488, p. 43
  3. ^ a b c d e Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie & New Wave, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0231-3, p. 50
  4. ^ Mason, Stewart "Nicely, Nicely Review", Allmusic. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  5. ^ Robbins, Ira "Blake Babies", Trouser Press. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  6. ^ Mason, Stewart "Sunburn Review", Allmusic. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  7. ^ Corcoran, Michael (1991) "Smashing Pumpkins sounds totally fresh // Local band's debut is whipped delight", Chicago Sun-Times, June 9, 1991. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  8. ^ Puls, Eric (1992) "After breakup, Blake Babies' guitarist pops up in Antenna", Chicago Sun-Times, April 17, 1992. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  9. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas "Blake Babies Biography", Allmusic. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  10. ^ "Blake Babies Make A 'Blessed' Return", Billboard, March 5, 2001. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  11. ^ Kilian, Dan (2001) "Blake Babies God Bless the Blake Babies", Pitchfork, March 6, 2001. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  12. ^ Hogan, Ray (2003) "Some Girls Feel It Juliana Hatfield has teamed...", Chicago Tribune, August 8, 2003. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  13. ^ Tully Claymore, Gabriela (2016) "Blake Babies Announce Intimate Reunion Shows", stereogum.com, June 8, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  14. ^ Smith, Steve (2016) "Reunited Blake Babies revisit demo days", Boston Globe, July 6, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2018
  15. ^ Jenkins, Mark (1991) "Two Groups Play With Folk-Rock", Washington Post, March 22, 1991. Retrieved February 9, 2018  – via HighBeam (subscription required)

External links[edit]