Julia Shapiro, best known as part of Seattle outfits Chastity Belt, CHILDBIRTH and the supergroup Who Is She? (with Robin Edwards of Lisa Prank and Bree McKenna of Tacocat), is setting off on her own come June 14 with her debut solo album Perfect Version. Tuesday, the singer/guitarist released “Natural,” the lead single exploring the nature of true self-love, tinged with a summery sorrow akin to Snail Mail’s Lush.
Album opener “Natural” is a fitting introduction to Shapiro’s introspective project, which was crafted during one of the darkest periods of her life. This time last year, Shapiro flew home to her one-bedroom apartment after a canceled Chastity Belt tour. She was plunged into an existential crisis following health issues and a recently ended relationship.
“I was really struggling; I was really depressed. I felt like I couldn’t sing or be a person,” Shapiro reflects in a statement. “At that point I couldn’t even imagine playing a show again, I was so over it.”
Thankfully, Shapiro found her artistic footing once more as she navigated surgery and depression during the last year. Perfect Version is an exercise in self-reflection, as well as a learning process for Shapiro. After recording and mixing four tracks at the Vault studio with Ian LeSage, she chose to record the last half-a-dozen tunes alone in her apartment. She added the drums afterward in the studio, learning to mix them with the help of her friend David Hrivnak.
Fans of Chastity Belt will enjoy the familiar, restless jangle-pop sounds on “Natural,” harking back to the Shapiro’s work on their celebrated 2017 album I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone. The video itself is a fun, lo-fi mix of the real and the surreal, switching between heavily filtered clips of the Pacific Northwest (the bubbling wake of a ferry, rows of pine trees passing outside a car window) and scenes of Shapiro’s stuffed animal doppelgänger in her own plush mock-up of the Seattle area. Eagle-eyed CB fans will also spot the floral sofa that graces the cover of their 2015 album Time to Go Home.
Watch the video for “Natural” (dir. Matthew James-Wilson and Ambar Navarro) below and explore the details of Perfect Version, out June 14 via Hardly Art, further down.
Perfect Version Album Art:
Perfect Version Tracklist:
02. Parking Lot
05. Harder To Do
06. Around The Block
07. A Couple Highs
08. Perfect Version
09. I Lied
10. Empty Cup