Once an artist uses our platform to connect with an audience, we grandfather them into the NoiseTrade community for life and keep our antennae tuned to let you know about whatever future projects they’re working on. This week’s heads up: NT Alumni Blake Babies are reissuing Innocence and Experience – their 1993 compilation of fan favorites, rarities, and live tracks – on a charmingly cool collection of vinyl variants via American Laundromat Records.
Innocence and Experience is available on three separate vinyl colors (light blue, white, or black) directly from American Laundromat Records: https://www.alr-music.com/collections/out-now/products/blake-babies-innocence-and-experience-vinyl-reissue
As an additional note, you can also still grab their 11-track Live 5.9.1989 live show release from us here: https://noisetrade.com/blakebabies/live-591989
Originally released in the fall of 1993, Innocence and Experience from college rock favorites Blake Babies functions as sort of a retrospective “greatest hits plus” collection for the band who was actually on a hiatus when it was released. At the time, all of the band members had already moved on to other projects, with lead singer/bassist Juliana Hatfield playing on The Lemonheads’ iconic It’s A Shame About Ray album and releasing her debut solo album Hey Babe (both released in 1992) and drummer Freda Love Smith and guitarist John Strohm forming the band Antenna and releasing two albums and two EPs (Sway, Sleep EP, Hideout, and For Now EP) by 1993. Though Blake Babies would reunite in 1999 to play some shows and record some new songs (eventually releasing God Bless the Blake Babies in 2001 from those sessions), Innocence and Experience served as the last word from the band for quite a few years.
The tracklisting on Innocence and Experience does a really good job of representing the band’s previous releases, while still sprinkling in some rarity demos and cool covers to make the whole thing pack an even stronger punch. The compilation appropriately kicks off with the Beatle-bass rumble of “Wipe It Up” from the band’s first album Nicely, Nicely (the only track from their debut release) and closes out with a live cover of Neil Young’s “Over and Over” that perfectly captures the raw charm of the trio’s explosive live set (though it should be stated this specific live track was recorded during their brief two-guitar iteration with the addition of Mike Leahy). Between those bookends, Innocence and Experience draws heavily from the band’s two biggest releases (1989’s Earwig and 1990’s Sunburn) and even includes two tracks from their 1991 EP, Rosy Jack World. A couple of the tracks – specifically “Rain” from Earwig and “Star” from Sunburn – even swap out the studio album version for their more unpolished demo forms, a welcomed treat for any Blake Babies fan already familiar with the original album versions. All in all, Innocence and Experience provides an incredible primer on the band’s punk-tinged, jangle-rock vibe that served as such a marked standout in the pre-commercialized alt-rock scene of the early 1990s.
The new vinyl reissue of Innocence and Experience from American Laundromat has been pressed on four different colors (light blue, white, black, and an indie retailer exclusive variant on light blue/white splatter) and comes housed in a sturdy side-sleeve jacket that features a slightly tweaked version of the original Mammoth Records artwork. The inner sleeve features a fun black-and-white photo collage and a great liner note essay from Lemonheads co-founder Ben Deily. My light blue copy of Innocence and Experience sounds so rich (especially at higher volumes) and plays incredibly well. I was also impressed with the print quality of the inner sleeve. As with all of my previous American Laundromat releases, I’m continually dazzled with the label’s excellent distinction in pressings and their attention to detail on the packaging aesthetics. From the fantastic quality of the vinyl to the amazing collection of Blake Babies’ songs contained within its grooves, this vinyl reissue of Innocence and Experience truly delivers on all fronts.