Monday, November 06, 2023

Kurt Vile Tries On Chastity Belt

A handful of weeks out of the release of his absurdly long EP, 'Back to Moon Beach' and it’s as clear as it’s ever been that Kurt Vile is a big beast. Courtney Barnett too, is the stuff of high indie office. So it’s a fair solid that the two of them have done Chastity Belt in covering a couple of tunes from their 2017 LP, 'I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone'.

A pouting, slouching group of girls from Walla Walla, Washington, howling and muttering irreverent indie over inevitable Stratocasters, Chastity Belt are fun and funny. 

Listening to ‘Chazzy B’ (as Vile sweetly calls them), you can see how his MO, the perpetual shrug of his vocal delivery, the apologetic hands-in-pocketness of his sound, might have drawn him to the indie Pacific north-westers.

Tourmates in recent years, 'This Time of Night' has clearly lodged itself in Vile’s head, and he lovingly languishes in the keening melody. You can hear his Chastity Belt t-shirt in the way he turns the words “pull the sheets over my eyes” over in his mouth. 

There’s an oxymoronically mature angst to Chastity Belt. The laid-back, bare-all songwriting has quite a grown up lacquer, possibly it’s the knowing vocals that do it, or the qualified and controlled mourning in Julia Shapiro’s voice. Not dissimilarly, Vile’s artistic voice can also command trust and comfort even at his most naive and maudlin. He describes this track as a “raw” effort, “but hey, so were the times” – I can only imagine shrugging as he says so. It’s true, he doesn’t do much more than enjoy it and relish those lyrics that “punch you in the gut” – a couple additional layers of wobbling guitars and it’s already a natural fit for his oeuvre. He wears it well enough, while still essentially just standing there, pointing you to Chastity Belt’s Spotify page.

Rory Calland
Image: 'This Time of Night' Official Single Cover

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