Song of the Day: Chastity Belt – Different Now

photo by Conner Lyons

photo by Conner Lyons

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Different Now” by Chastity Belt, from their upcoming album, I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone, out June 2nd on Hardly Art.

Chastity Belt – Different Now (MP3)In a city that’s constantly going through change, Chastity Belt feels like a constant to hold on to the past few years. Since they emerged with their debut No Regrets LP in 2013, their wit and impeccable songwriting has helped define the current iteration of the Seattle scene. That’s hardly an exaggeration. Songwriter Julia Shapiro arrived already equipped to tackle the city’s looming self-loathing with her own savvy snark and totally infectious melodies. The band helped create a new breed of Seattle punk – one that emphasizes shimmering guitars over copious distortion but keeping all the sneer and winking-at-the-camera. For a while, it felt like Chastity Belt was on a bill at least every week. If you hadn’t seen Chastity Belt, you inevitably would and would likely be converted to fandom. But above all else, the band’s greatest strength has always been how they’ve pushed themselves to grow and mature without losing their sense of humor and much needed skeptical perspective of the world around them – as evidenced on their remarkable sophomore album, Time To Go Home.

But even a band that feels like a foundation for the scene like Chastity Belt will eventually go through changes. On “Different Now”, the lead single from I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone, they grapple with the ideas of changing in a much more sobering light than they ever have before. The band has never been exclusively all about jokes, but “Different Now” may be one of the band’s biggest gut-punch track to date. Shapiro opens the song by singing, “You’re hard on yourself, well you can’t always be right.” That’s a truth bomb if there ever was one. It’s hard to tell who she’s singing about. The audience? Herself? Someone we’ll never know? It doesn’t really matter. What matters is the idea she’s communicating: growing old and putting down your pride to see who you really can be. With Lydia Lund’s hovering, bright guitars guiding Shapiro along, the band sounds their most mature and full-realized than ever before. Change is inevitable, but so is growth. “Different Now” is the band embracing both.

Chastity Belt will play their album release show at The Crocodile on June 1st. Tickets are available now. Find more dates and music on their Facebook page. In the meantime, check out the “Different Now” music video, an homage to the iconic Temple of the Dog “Hunger Strike” video:

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