Chastity Belt began as something of a joke when guitarist/singer Julia Shapiro, guitarist Lydia Lund, bassist Annie Truscott and drummer Gretchen Grimm were still undergrads at Walla Walla, Wash.’s Whitman College. After the band relocated to Seattle postgraduation, its first album, 2013’s No Regerts, continued in the in-it-for-yuks vein, with songs inserting a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor into the group’s unschooled, spindly guitar rock. But then a funny thing happened on the way to the punchline: Shapiro found something more than merely “funny” to say, and began writing more sophisticated songs that demanded a closer degree of attention. Which, in turn, pushed the band’s latest LP, Time To Go Home (Hardly Art), toward altogether more fertile creative turf. Chastity Belt will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on them.
Shapiro: I discovered Elliott Smith in eighth grade, about a year after I started playing guitar. I think the first song I heard was “Angeles.” That was in 2003, right after he died. I was immediately obsessed and found a way to download every song he’d ever written. I still love Elliott’s music, but the way I listen to it has definitely changed. I appreciate it even more now. His lyrics are so smart, his songs feel like a continuous stream of thoughts and sounds rather than choruses and verses. I love music that makes me feel things, and Elliott Smith always makes me feel a lot. We had XO on CD in the van last tour. Listened to it a bunch and cried together ;(.