Just a couple miles north of Seattle, far out of sight of the iconic Space Needle and shiny new Amazon buildings, lies a suburban landscape marked out in strip malls and endless rows of stark pine trees. The sky seems permanently pale—never quite blue, never quite gray. It is this washed-out landscape that Julia Shapiro chose as the setting of the music video for her latest single, “A Couple Highs.”
The video, directed by Claire Buss, pays homage to Kelly Reichardt’s Pacific Northwest-set film Wendy and Lucy, starring Michelle Williams as a drifter whose closest companion is her dog Lucy. Shapiro, of Chastity Belt and CHILDBIRTH fame, strides around a bingo hall, a bowling alley and donut shop, accompanied by her equally blonde and curly-haired dog. The shots are punctuated with quiet moments of joy, like Shapiro getting a strike or sharing a mini donut with her canine pal.
The grungy track, held together with fuzzy guitar and Shapiro’s lonesome vocals, provides a fitting soundtrack for these suburban doldrums. On her own, Shapiro’s voice emerges with the same listlessness that marks many a Chastity Belt track, but sharpened into something much her own. Shapiro recorded nearly every instrument on her forthcoming album Perfect Version (out June 14 via Hardly Art) herself, except for a mouth trumpet solo by Darren Hanlon and violin by Annie Truscott. Amidst trouble in her personal life and health issues, Shapiro found comfort in ruling her own little sonic world.
“When the rest of my life felt out of control, I felt like this was my chance to be in control of everything,” she recalled in a statement.
Watch the video for “A Couple Highs” below and explore the details of Perfect Version here. Check out her tour dates (including those in Australia supporting Kurt Vile) further down.
Julia Shapiro Tour Dates:
02 — Aldinga, Australia @ Cooee Arthouse
03 — Adelaide, Australia @ The Golden Wattle
04 — Broken Hill, Australia @ The Palace Hotel
05 — Quorn, Australia @ Emily’s Bistro
08 — Alice Springs, Australia @ Epilogue Lounge
11 — Katherine, Australia @ Block Gigs
12 — Darwin, Australia @ The Railway Club
01 — Seattle, Wash. @ Inscape Arts Bash
27 — Seattle, Wash. @ Barboza