16 Oct 2015

Chastity Belt, the Victoria, Oct 15 2015

I am not a music critic. To suggest that would make me one of those people who believe they could be a chef because they ‘eat food three times a day…’ What I do from time to time however, is write up a band on here after they’ve blown me away either on record, live, or both.

Such is the case with Julia Shapiro, Lydia Lund, Annie Truscott and Gretchen Grimm. They are Chastity Belt. Having toured the States extensively and now Europe for the first time, the band played last night to a packed room of around 150 fans in Dalston. For now in the UK at least, they’re still a well-kept secret. Going on last night’s performance, that is about to change. Playing material mostly from the recent Time To Go Home album, with a few from debut No Regerts, we were also treated to a couple of new songs – confirming that they’ve accomplished that unenviable task of honing a unique sound that is at the same time rooted in that of the best alternative guitar bands.

Guitarists Julia and Lydia, with Annie on bass and drummer Gretchen, met in Washington, later moving to Seattle. Their label Hardly Art suggest a genuine DIY ethic at the genesis of their music – playing local parties to perfect songs which have evolved from the more garage sounding Debut to tracks like Drone, which they opened with. This constant playing and touring has paid off no end, as there were points during the gig where the band were so on The One that James Brown would have said goddamn...

Though often referenced as being semi-sarcastic, cool (ugh) or ironic in their lyrics and subject matter, there is a true balance of songwriting/musicianship and fun in the songs and in the personalities of the band. Though an obvious amount of legwork has been put in, Chastity Belt have hit the ground running. It’s as though they’ve been playing for as long as any other well-seasoned guitar band you can think of.

With more and more well-deserved recognition - including from those in the know – I can only hope that album three is incoming sooner rather than later. God knows how much better they can get but you can bet I’ll be there to see it.



8 Oct 2015

Orange/Grey (Waiting on a call for a job)

The sky is doing that thing it
Hanging there an orange/grey
A Pathe news photo from after WWII

I sit and wait for news
And think it should instead
Always be a deep crimson
Because why not

No call yet
Waiting for them to tell me if I’m good enough
Like it matters
Like it’s a truth of any kind
And the opening bars of
A Love Supreme kick in unexpectedly

My soul picks up a little
I wake up in New York
A single-breasted jacket and cigarette
Trumpet sounds and sirens

The phone still doesn’t ring
And the sky stays grey
And everything else around here
Continues to follow its lead.

2 Oct 2015


After all, life hasn't much to offer except youth, and I suppose for older people,
the love of youth in others.  Fitzgerald.

These kids are fire and ice
As the rest of us fight and harden
Their friction creates light and power and
Keeps the whole damn ball of rock
The spaces between are not filled
Are hardly even considered by brains full of sex
Liquor and weed and coke and pills
And laughter and flight

There is no line
No pull
Gravity still a theory
No two days the same
It is a wonder and a joy
To behold

And I am still them
We all are in some way
Still there with them
At anarchy’s door
At the bottom of our hearts
Within our darkest dreams
Devilspeak dripping as honey in our ear

Remember that?
The scramble into sunlight
Every morning
Just to find out who you actually are

Picasso said youth has no age
I mean I like being older
But being grown up
If you let them
These squared off and uniform and
Repeated days will destroy what you once
What you still are

and to all those who ignore the
blood red whispers
you are welcome to your happiness
your picnics at the park and work lunches
defy the struggle and die in peace
fill the vacuum
dot I’s and cross T’s

The rest of us will have already jumped
Run through the hailstorm
Woken up on the wrong side of tomorrow
We are the devil children of fire and ice
We are fighters
We are light and power
Sex liquor and weed and coke and pills
And laughter and flight.