Chastity Belt (SOLD OUT)
Darren Hanlon, Den-Mate
2477 18th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20009
Doors 7:30 PM
This event is all ages
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.
Australian singer-songwriter Darren Hanlon will be continuing his touring lifestyle in the Summer of 2017, showcasing his newest album, Where Did You Come From?, as well as his other hits from past decades. Spanning two continents and many miles traveled on his exploratory adventure of the American South, the story of Where Did You Come From? includes one battered, old guitar, one Amtrak pass, five recording studios, and 15 random musicians. Recorded in one-off sessions in Memphis, Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Clarksdale, and Nashville, the album features a cast of characters.
“When I hopped off [the train] I walked around the cities and met buskers, tap-dancers, preachers, drunks and drug dealers, all of whom had something worth learning about,” Hanlon tells. “I started having compulsive notions that whoever I met should somehow contribute to the album. Like fate. One guy tried to break into a car I was sitting in and even he ended up playing bass on a song.”
Some of the musicians who joined Hanlon in studio had played on hit songs he’s known since childhood. David Hood (Muscle Shoals Sound Studio) and Spooner Oldham (Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin) sat in on a song at the legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, and Howard Grimes, the 72-year-old longtime drummer for Al Green, backed him on the Memphis session.
With four studio albums, a rarities album and an EP, Hanlon has built a loyal Australian fan base. Known for his engaging live performances, Hanlon has toured with Billy Bragg, Violent Femmes, The Magnetic Fields, David Dondero, and Jeffrey Lewis. Prior to becoming a solo artist in 1999, Hanlon was a member of the Simpletons, and played with The Lucksmiths, The Dearhunters, and Mick Thomas.
The intimate music of Den-Mate—the latest project from DC
songwriter/producer Jules Hale—is arresting, like peering into a funhouse mirror. Her sparse, dreamy jams reflect and distort private nighttime thoughts of desperation and isolation, transforming abstract fears into throbbing bass lines and static-washed riffs. Drawing a bridge from Chimes Records' dreamy guitar pop and the exciting world of progressive electronica, Den-Mate brings a new style for adventurous listeners in DC and beyond.
$12.00 - $15.00
Songbyrd Music House
Fri, March 29
Sat, April 27