Friday, May 23, 2014


Full disclosure (because I think I said something like this in years prior, but I'm not sure and so I'm saying it again): writing about bands is hard and most of the time really dumb. Maybe not dumb as in dumb dumb, but pretty dumb--like, have your eyes ever fallen out of your head from rolling so hard when reading a review or write-up about a band you really like? Mine have. Seriously. I'm typing this on a braille keyboard. Namaste.

But really, the big problem is that writing about bands requires you to zero in on aspects of the band that could potentially trivialize what the band represents or what they do--you know, play music. And I'm not even going to get into that thing (I am now getting into that thing) about how "writing about music is like going to Lowe's when you really need to go to Home Depot" because that discussion can be had elsewhere. There's always the chance that you'll overlook what later seems to be a necessary detail, which is because the actual sound a band produces will do the best job of representing the actual sound a band produces, and not the work of some overly cautious, amateur blogger. We all know this, but I have a job a to do. I just want to make sure we're all on the same page (for clarity: we are on this page).

Here is my roundabout way of writing about one of may favorite bands going right now, Chastity Belt. 

Chastity Belt is great, and their album No Regerts--yes, an intentionally hilarious misspelling--is one of the best records I've heard in recent memory. Wonderfully restrained, it's the kind of record that makes you stop and reconsider all of the over-the-top aggression present in a lot of punk--even if punk is an inadequate genre designation in the same way that punk is an inadequate genre designation for bands like Wire or The Raincoats. There's something else going on--more precision, more nuance, more attention to the little things that make records or bands special to a listener. 

However, let's not confuse being special with being precious. The lyrics on No Regerts scrutinize how our experiences when young risk becoming overly sentimentalized the older we get, and Chastity Belt takes on themes of youth and sexuality and partying in a frank, non-judgemental way. This is a rare--and, I think--valuable perspective that more often than not becomes muddled by overly serious chin-rubbers musing on the delicacy of the past. Complimentary to this is the band's inclination towards bright, chiming guitars and upbeat, direct rhythms with the occasional somber-sounding melodic turn--you know, sunny music for people who live in cloudy cities. 

Best of all, Chastity Belt absolutely rules live, which is excellent news for this year's Total Fest crowd. If you haven't caught them live before, here's your chance.

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