Chastity Belt Grows More Serious With Age

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

As Chastity Belt progressed from playing college parties in Walla Walla, Washington, to major European venues in support of Death Cab for Cutie, the band remained remarkably unperturbed.

The trick, if you can even call it that, says guitarist Julia Shapiro, was just being themselves and doing what they do. Since Chastity Belt formed almost as a joke, with no real agenda other than having fun, the band had time to become comfortable and confident before ever leaving the Whitman College scene for the major music metropolis of Seattle.

The name came before they were even a band, something to chant at parties. Then Chastity Belt began writing songs to play at those same parties, with in-your-face humor and titles like “Nip Slip” and “Pussy Weed Beer.” Now, after more than three years steadily touring behind two records, 2013’s No Regerts and 2015’s acclaimed Time to Go Home on Hardly Art, there’s a sharper edge and different focus that defines the band. 

“We’ve learned a lot since our last album. It’s kind of crazy how much we’ve toured. I’ve been gone just as much as I’ve been in Seattle,” Shapiro says. “Being on some major tours and supporting big acts has made us closer and made us grow as musicians.

In addition to Death Cab for Cutie, Chastity Belt toured with breakout Australian songwriter Courtney Barnett. All that experience has Shapiro and her bandmates — guitarist Lydia Lund, bassist Annie Truscott, and drummer Gretchen Grimm — in a position to leverage growth as musicians as they move on with writing and recording Chastity Belt’s as-yet-untitled third album.

“We’ve gotten better at songwriting, and there are some more personal songs on there,” says Shapiro, taking time out for a phone interview while the band was in Portland, Oregon, to record. “But it’s not anything too drastically different. I think it sounds like us still.”

Gone, for the upcoming record at least, are the joke songs that made the band such a hit at college parties.

The songs on Time to Go Home began taking on a more serious tone, dealing largely with maturity, identity, feminism, and the sort of bigger questions that emerge after the party is over. The humor that helped spark No Regerts had turned edgy in songs like “Cool Slut,” “Joke,” “Trapped,” and “On The Floor.” And while the band’s sharp wit remains, Shapiro says the new material won’t remind fans of “Nip Slip” and “Pussy Weed Beer.”

“We don’t really have any [songs] like that,” Shapiro says. “I’d like to think some of my lyrics are a little bit funny, but nothing too jokey.”

With the recording sessions progressing to a close, Chastity Belt feels they have their strongest music yet. And though Shapiro was hesitant to divulge much in the way of specifics, she said the new record should be released early next year.

For now, it’s out of the studio and back out on the road, ready to showcase the new material and give audiences a glimpse of what’s to come for Chastity Belt in 2017 and beyond.

“We’ll be playing a bunch of new songs on this upcoming tour,” Shapiro says. “I’m excited about our new songs, excited to get to play some new stuff. It feels good.”

Chastity Belt is scheduled to perform Sunday, August 14, at the Rebel Lounge. 

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.