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Juliana Hatfield and Some Girls

Juliana Hatfield is a name instantly recognized by even your average pop music fan, especially one who grew up in the early-'90s ("Wasn't she the chick who had that one song from the Reality Bites soundtrack?"). She also has a well-deserved cult following among indie aficionados for a 16-year career that began as the lead singer for alt-rockers The Blake Babies, who disbanded in 1991. Hatfield spent the rest of the decade releasing solo albums in the same vein, and she briefly flirted with mainstream success when two singles, "Spin the Bottle" (the Reality Bites song) and "My Sister" got some radio and MTV-love.

The Blake Babies reunited in 2000 for one more album and tour, their short-lived return inspiring Hatfield and drummer Freda Love to collaborate anew. Love brought in an old friend, Heidi Gluck, for some demo sessions and the trio named itself Some Girls after a 1978 Rolling Stones album. Their first album, "Feel It", was released in September. Although Hatfield is clearly the marquee name, Some Girls is not merely a new incarnation of her trademark sound.

Sure, Hatfield's stamp is everywhere - her girlishly playful voice with a hint of melancholy is apparent and sexy as ever. Her melodic tones are typically the backbone of the song structure. But Love and Gluck bring their own musical prowess to the mix as well. Love writes a few tunes and adds slightly deeper vocals to complement Hatfield's, even taking over the lead on "Launch Pad". Her songs, "Almost True" and "The Getaway", tend more toward pop with a slight country twang, a contrast from the grunge-rock roots Hatfield has typically called upon. Gluck's influence is more instrumental - she plays bass, harmonica and slide guitar among others - and her versatility makes for welcome contributions. Gluck's other band, "The Pieces", is opening the show - an opportunity to see her talents showcased a bit differently.

The band's dynamic has melded to produce an album that borders on light pop, and depends on distinct hooks which draw the listener in. Hatfield's solo material drives a bit harder, while Some Girls make nice music to pop in the car for a feel-good Sunday drive. Witness "Necessito", the first single from "Feel It" - its redundant chorus feels pretty lame at first: "Turn it on, turn it up. Necessito la music. Turn it on. Turn it up. Necessito la la laÉ", yet musically speaking, it becomes pretty infectious after a few listens - and you can't argue with the song's message of music as savior.

Some Girls have been touring for the last month in support of "Feel It", playing mostly 60-70 minute sets featuring nearly the entire album, along with a few covers. (The girls end the album with a terrific bluesy cover of Robert Johnson's "Malted Milk"). You can expect the live show to be a bit more edgy and energetic than their studio output, but this is a new band with a new sound -- Some Girls, not That One Girl -- so don't expect any solo Hatfield tunes or Blake Babies re-visits. This may disappoint some long-standing fans but, in the end, the music is well worth a try on its own merit.