Photo credit: Jena Feldman
CHASTITY BELT ANNOUNCE LIVE LAUGH LOVE LP
OUT MARCH 29
PRAISE FOR CHASTITY BELT
“Chastity Belt is largely confessional; words are the focus here, and these simple, serene landscapes are a fitting backdrop to hear them loud and clear.” – PITCHFORK
“Seattle’s rock scene is experiencing an underground renaissance, and at the center of its close-knit collective of punk-inspired bands is Chastity Belt.” – NPR MUSIC
“a cathartic response to overwhelming anxiety, and provide a powerful soundtrack for slaying that dreaded mind killer” – THE NEW YORK TIMES
“If there’s one thing that Chastity Belt has figured out at this point in their young lives, it’s that honesty will get you far.” – NYLON
“if there is any way to be saved from disappearing completely in a lonely world, it’s through the healing energy of the group hug, or, in this case, the rock band.” – BANDCAMP DAILY
“Spend half an hour with every member of Chastity Belt, the four-piece garage rock band from Seattle, and you just may walk away with a new appreciation for friendship—or at least theirs.” – PASTE
Since the early 2010s, Chastity Belt have worked tirelessly to make a name for themselves as one of the most memorable acts in the Pacific Northwest rock scene. On records like No Regerts and I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone, the band have honed a spunky, yet playful formula.
Today, Chastity Belt announce their upcoming LP, Live Laugh Love, out March 29, their debut on Suicide Squeeze Records. The album’s first single, “Hollow,” highlights a dreamy side of the project’s sound. It pairs shoegaze-y chords and blunt vocals with a melancholy lead guitar line. The track came to life in the throes of the pandemic, and the lyrics pull from themes of stuckness and waiting. “Waiting for some sign / Wasting time / Breath in hollow air / Nothing’s there,” Julia Shapiro sings over a loose groove on the chorus. “Hollow” is accompanied by a video that pokes fun at influencer wellness culture, playing into the record’s cheeky title.
On the track, band-member, Julia Shapiro offers: “A classic Chazzy-style tune about feeling lost and stuck, waiting for something to change without necessarily taking action. The older I get, the more I realize that I might just always feel this way, and it’s more about sitting with the feeling and accepting it, rather than trying to fight it. I’m still here, doing my thing, whatever that is. I remember first jamming on this song together when we were all in Joshua Tree during the pandemic… maybe spring 2021?”
On the video, band-member, Lydia Lund offers: “Generally when we set about coming up with an idea for a music video as a band, we try to think of something ridiculous we’d like to do that we would never otherwise fund ourselves (ie. Segway adventure, medieval horseback riding). In each shot we were performing in order to make our friends in the room laugh, taking each bit to the next level, seeking joy in late capitalism.”
On the video, director Nick Shively offers: “We had a TikTok mood board floating around and I went on some deep dives that did irreparable damage to my For You page. The shoot itself was so fun and light. We all just kinda goofed around in an extremely hot and sterile house this last summer. I was laughing the whole time and I wound up shooting something like 4 and half hours of “content.” I also remember the neighbors having a lot of chickens roaming their yard, and we got a full refund on all the ring lights.”
Live Laugh Love.
It’s a phrase you might encounter in a certain type of cursive on the wall of a certain type of home. On the opposite end of the mood board, it’s also a stick-and-poke tattoo on Chastity Belt guitarist/vocalist Julia Shapiro’s left ankle (just below a highly improvised Shrek), and the title of the band’s fifth album. It’s fun, it’s funny, but it’s also sincere, not unlike the band’s history—a joke that became real because it was always real—and the enduring bond that has been their band’s foundation for the past 13 years.
In their decade-plus together, the four-piece—Shapiro (she/her), Lydia Lund (guitar, vocals – she/her), Gretchen Grimm (drums, vocals – she/her), and Annie Truscott (bass, vocals – they/them)—have created a resonant body of work. The early days of “Nip Slip” and “Pussy Weed Beer” (hits from their iconic debut full-length No Regerts, which recently celebrated 10 years) and the “Cool Slut” era of 2015’s Time To Go Home were raucous bonanzas of dry wit and self-evident feminism. A newfound gravity on 2017’s I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone shifted the lyrical mood toward introspection as they continued to refine their trademark sound: lush intertwining guitars, meticulous rhythms, a careful balance of melancholy and optimism. Two years later, the dreamy Chastity Belt marked a renewal of vows to their musicianship and friendship, each member coming into their own as artists, convening with a fresh perspective on collaboration.
Live Laugh Love is a natural continuation. Against the bizarre backdrop of the past few years, Chastity Belt remained a supportive space for the members to grow and experiment, drawing on the ingredients most essential to their process since the beginning: authenticity and levity. Recorded over three sessions in as many years (January 2020, November 2021 and 2022), the focus became more about enjoying their time together in the studio than making it feel like work. Their ease and familiarity with engineer Samur Khouja in LA, who also recorded their last album, made for a particularly enjoyable process, even using extra time to work out a couple joke songs to entertain only themselves (fingers crossed we hear their medieval jig, “Shilling for the Shire,” on a bonus edition someday). Once completed, they returned to renowned engineer Heba Kadry (Bjork, Slowdive) who mastered the album.
Album opener “Hollow” sets the tone with a gently driving rhythm while guitar layers stream like sun rays through an open car window. A warmth radiates through Shapiro’s voice, even while grappling with feeling lost and stuck. “The older I get,” Shapiro says of the lyrics, “the more I realize that I might just always feel this way, and it’s more about sitting with the feeling and accepting it, rather than trying to fight it.” That wisdom seems to anchor Live Laugh Love. Chastity Belt has never shied from navigating the spectrum of difficult emotions, and an existential thread weaves throughout the subject matter. And yet the songs feel more grounded than ever; there’s a sense of quiet confidence and self-assurance that comes with being less numb and more present. Facing discomfort takes more fortitude, after all.
Live Laugh Love finds the members in their prime as musicians. Their parts trace intricate patterns over one another, but there’s room to breathe between the layers. Everyone contributes to the writing, sometimes switching instruments, and for the first time, all four members sing a song. It’s never been more apparent that they are creative siblings, cut from the same belt. “We’ve been playing music with each other for over a decade,” says Shapiro, “so it really does feel like we’re all fluent in the same language, and a lot of it just happens naturally.”
“Laugh” seeks in the balm of friendship, aware of the anticipatory nostalgia that hits during a good time that you’re already missing before it’s gone; the heavier guitar tones on “Chemtrails” streak ominous chord progressions over Grimm’s precision timekeeping, lamenting memories that won’t fade easily. During a transitional time, Truscott came across a note in their phone that read, “it’s not hard all day, just sometimes,” which inspired a poignant line in the chorus of “Kool-Aid,” their first song as lead vocalist on a Chastity Belt recording. Another standout, “I-90 Bridge” shines with a silvery melody that soars as Lund belts one of the most resounding moments on the album: “Tell your girlfriend she’s got nothing to fear/I’m set in my head/My body’s a different story.” The track “Blue” saunters nonchalantly with a wink; you can almost hear Shapiro’s smile as she sings “Faking it big time/So I can hit my stride/Man, it feels good to be alive,” channeling early Chastity Belt channeling early ’90s before channeling the late Elliott Smith in a spiral of distortion and insight: “Don’t get upset about it/It’s gonna pass/Tell all your friends about it/They’re gonna laugh.”
“We have such a strong sense of each other’s musical inclinations” says Lund. “I think this allows for a lot of playfulness…we can kinda surprise each other, like a good punchline would.”
Living, laughing, loving… maybe it really is that simple.