Chastity Belt Rocks Out with New Album ‘No Regerts’

Emma Dahl

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Illustration by Asa Mease

Illustration by Asa Mease

If you’ve been at Whitman for more than a year or two, odds are you may have heard of Chastity Belt, an all-female rock-and-roll group of Whitman alumni who play fun, relaxed punk-y jams. Back in their Whitman days, Chastity Belt played numerous house shows, and while they are currently located in Seattle, the band continues to acknowledge their firmly planted roots at Whitman.

Consisting of Whitman alumni Julia Shapiro ’12 on vocals and guitar, Lydia Lund ’12 on guitar, Annie Truscott ’12 on bass and Gretchen Grimm ’12 on drums, Chastity Belt got their start by joining forces their sophomore year to play at the annual Betafest and a Battle of the Bands contest in 2012, which they won. Hot off their win, Chastity Belt went on to play house shows on campus where they became a Whitman music staple.

“A great way to start out playing shows is to only play for really drunk people,” said Shapiro in an email interview. “This was the first band any of us had ever been in, so we didn’t know what we were doing at all.” 

The band went on to play shows in Seattle later that year, and they have a U.S. tour planned this October with another Seattle band called Pony Time. It’s clear that the band is out to have a good time.

“We aren’t really aiming for a sound. Our songs are just the result of all of us playing music together. We just play what sounds cool to us and hope that other people like it,” said Shapiro. “We still don’t really know what we’re doing, it’s cool.”

Chastity Belt recently got a dash of publicity when a photo of the band was posted as number one on a list of “21 Painfully Awkward Band Photos” on the popular website BuzzFeed.

The image features the four band members, all dressed in feminine dresses with a pastel color palette. The lead singer, with a knowing smirk on her face, is pulling up the front of her dress to reveal a raw slice of steak held in place by a thick chain and padlock.

Maybe the band was trying to send a message about sexual objectification of women, or maybe they were just out to have a little fun and create an attention-grabbing band photo. (My money’s on the latter.) BuzzFeed labeled the picture as “terrifying,” but it can be interpreted in many ways.

Symbolism and social statements aside, Chastity Belt’s debut LP No Regerts is a great punk-rock album. With toe-tapping tracks like “Nip-Slip” and “Giant (Vagina),” it’s apparent that Chastity Belt is looking to have fun with their music, and this attitude definitely comes out in the sound of the album. The instrumentation, vocals and lyrics all ooze rock-and-roll, and the tracks have a warm and relaxed feel to them. Shapiro’s vocals are almost Niko-esque, casual and nonchalant in her projection and pitch. The album is streaming on the band’s Bandcamp page.