Chastity Belt: "5am"

Is "5am" Chastity Belt's most sophisticated single? Deviating from the band's typically casual, lo-fi lean, "5am" sees Chastity Belt anxious and melodically emotive, a lengthy outro apparently meant to close out their upcoming new album, I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone, which is being released by Hardly Art on June 2nd. The track's instrumental repetition builds tension especially after the verses have been spent, its guitar sounds evoking the sort of six-string interplay that Sonic Youth would employ, generating noise-inductive frequencies and gently plucked melody.

All info on I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone was provided by Hardly Art.

This morning, Chastity Belt unveiled a third song from their upcoming full-length I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. "5am" is the record's epic closing number and reveals a harder-edged side of the band that hasn't been heard before. Stream the track via Stereogum or the link above. I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone is out June 2nd on LP, CD, cassette, digital and streaming formats and includes three bonus tracks. See below for a list of US and UK tour dates.

05.20.17 - Seattle, WA - Bothell Block Party and Brewfest
06.01.17 - Seattle, WA - Record Release show at The Crocodile *
06.14.17 - Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club #
06.15.17 - Chicago, IL - Subterranean #
06.16.17 - Detroit, MI - Jumbo's #
06.17.17 - Toronto, ON - Longboat Hall at the Great Hall #
06.18.17 - Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz #
06.19.17 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall #
06.20.17 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg #

06.22.17 - Philadelphia, PA - PhilaMOCA #
06.23.17 - Washington, DC - Songbyrd %
06.24.17 - Durham, NC - The Pinhook %
06.25.17 - Asheville, NC - The Mothlight %
06.27.17 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade (Purgatory) %
06.28.17 - Nashville, TN - DRKMTTR %
06.29.17 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway %
06.30.17 - Iowa City, IA - Gabe's %
07.01.17 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St. Entry %
08.01.17 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
08.03.17 - Los Angeles, CA - Teregram Ballroom
09.04.17 - Margate, UK - The Dugout
09.05.17 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
09.06.17 - Manchester, UK - Star and Garter
09.07.17 - Newcastle, UK - Cluny
09.08.17 - Glasgow, UK - Broadcast
09.10.17 - Isle of White, UK - Bestival
09.11.17 - Bristol, UK - Exchange
09.12.17 - Nottingham, UK - Bodega
09.13.17 - Brighton, UK - Green Door Store
09.14.17 - London, UK - Garage
09.15.17 - Brussels, BE - Witloof Bar
09.16.17 - Cologne, DE - King Georg &
09.17.17 - Berlin, DE - Kantine Am Berghain &
09.19.17 - Vienna, AT - Arena &
09.20.17 - Lausanne, CH - La Romandie Club &
09.21.17 - Paris, FR - Espace B &
09.22.17 - Rotterdam, NL - V11
09.23.17 - Utrecht, NL - ACU &

* - w/ So Pitted, Jenn Champion
# - w/ SNEAKS
% - w/ Darren Hanlon
& - w/ Magic Potion

A few years ago, while in a tour van somewhere in Idaho, the members of Chastity Belt—Julia Shapiro, Gretchen Grimm, Lydia Lund, and Annie Truscott—opted to pass the time in a relatively unusual fashion: They collectively paid one another compliments, in great and thoughtful detail. This is what we like best about you, this is why we love you.

I think of that image all the time, the four of them opening themselves up like that, by choice. It’s hard to imagine other bands doing the same. But beyond their troublesome social media presence—see: the abundance of weapons-grade duck face, the rolling suitcase art—and beyond the moonlit deadpan of say, “IDC,” lies, at the very least, an honesty and an intimacy and an emotional brilliance that galvanizes everything they do together. Which is a fancy way of saying: They’re funny, but they’re also capable of being vulnerable. “Giant Vagina” and “Pussy Weed Beer,” two highlights from their aptly titled 2013 debut, No Regerts, were immediately preceded by a sublime yet easily overlooked cut named “Happiness.” I saw a younger, still unsettling version of myself all across 2015’s Time to Go Home.

This June marks the release of I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone, their third and finest full-length to date. Recorded live in July of 2016, with producer Matthew Simms (Wire) at Jackpot! in Portland, Oregon (birthplace of some of their favorite Elliott Smith records), it’s a dark and uncommonly beautiful set of moody post-punk that finds the Seattle outfit’s feelings in full view, unobscured by humor. There is no irony in its title: Before she had Chastity Belt, and the close relationships that she does now, Shapiro considered herself a career loner. That’s no small gesture. I can make as much sense of this music as I can my 20s: This is a brave and often exhilarating tangle of mixed feelings and haunting melodies that connects dizzying anguish (“This Time of Night”) to shimmering insight (“Different Now”) to gauzy ambiguity (“Stuck,” written and sung by Grimm). It’s a serious record but not a serious departure, defined best, perhaps, by a line that Shapiro shares early on its staggering title track: “I wanna be sincere.”

When asked, their only request was that what you’re reading right now be brief, honest, free of hyperbole, and “v chill.” When pressed for more, Truscott said, “Just say that we love each other. Because we do.”

This is who they are, this is why I love them.

—David Bevan, February 2017 

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