Juliana Hatfield on The Morning Mix

Boston singer/singwriter Juliana Hatfield joined Cindy Howes on the Morning Mix to talk about her new album Wild Animals. Cindy calls Wild Animals Hatfield’s “secret album”, having received less press than her project with Matthew Caws of Nada Surf. The team up is called Minor Alps, and their first album Get There will be released on October 29th.

Fans of Juliana’s funded Wild Animals, and part of their donated funds went to two animal shelters. One was Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, Mass., where Juliana volunteers, and the other was Save a Sato in Puerto Rico. “I think maybe I was an abused animal in another life. It just felt good to help out,” Juliana said. “The Puerto Rico thing, there’s a really bad stray dog problem down there. I went down there to see it. It was really sad and I just wanted to do something to help.”

The album is mostly acoustic and has a strong energy. Hatfield attributes the control and power of her voice to a combination of healthy lifestyle choices including a good diet, working out, and not smoking cigarettes or abusing substances. “I think I’ve mellowed out over the years. My attitude is a little more relaxed, and that helps for singing.” She recorded the new album at her home, which she says was a very relaxing atmosphere, and helped her feel free.

Cindy’s top tracks on the album were Tracks, Spit In The Wind, and Dog On A Chain, for which she said, “I thought Dog On A Chain had a, I don’t know if this is way out there, but a really cool Americana feel to it.” Juliana’s reaction to that appraisal was, “Oh, that’s really cool, because I think of that one as acoustic punk!”

Parking Lots is another interesting song, and is Cindy’s favorite on the album. Juliana said the inspiration for this song came from writing songs on commission for strangers. “People who ordered songs from me would send me information about their lives, whatever information they chose. Bits of history from their pasts, their struggles or illnesses, and also their triumphs, hobbies and work…and it’s really about a guy who was a stranger when I started the process, but I kinda got to know him through writing the song about him.”

Wild Animals is out now, and her project with Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws will be out at the end of October.