Julia Shapiro talks through the songs that inspired her debut solo album, ‘Perfect Version’

Take a peek behind-the-scenes of Julia's new record.

Chastity Belt lead singer and guitarist Julia Shapiro is about to drop her debut solo LP. ‘Perfect Version’ was created during a short period of downtime from her main band, during which she was dealing with health issues, freshly out of a relationship, and in the middle of an existential crisis. She had a lot going on, like. To celebrate the record’s release – it arrives this week (Friday 14th June) via Hardly Art – she’s compiled a playlist of the album’s influences, from pal Kurt Vile and down-in-the-dumps aficionado Elliott Smith, to nostalgic faves Lemonheads.

Anna Domino – With the Day Comes the Dawn

I’m a fan of a lot of Anna Domino songs, but I’ve been really into this one lately. Her songs have this spooky and haunting quality to them, while also being really catchy.

Godstar – Lie Down Forever

My Australian friend recently introduced me to Godstar and Smudge – two bands led by Lemonheads members when the Lemonheads were Evan Dando and a bunch of Australians. These bands both wrote a couple of songs that later become Lemonheads hits, like ‘The Outdoor Type’ and ‘Shaky Ground’.

Smudge – Impractical Joke

A band led by Tom Morgan of the Lemonheads. I love how 90s this song is; it just feels good.

Elliott Smith – Pitseleh

I’ve been listening to Elliott Smith since I was 12. He’s still one of my favourite songwriters and guitar players. It’s my favourite genre of music: sad. I’ve been covering this song on guitar.

The Roches – One Season

I think The Roches would’ve gotten along really well with my band Chastity Belt. I love their attitude, and I feel like I can really relate. They don’t take themselves too seriously. Their harmonies are so strange and dissonant, I can’t imagine what they were thinking, and I’m in awe of them.

Little Wings – Gold Teeth

This is just one of those songs that you want to listen to over and over again. It has this steady, rolling movement to it.

Lemonheads – My Drug Buddy

I’ve been covering this song lately. It’s only four chords — one of those songs that is just the same chord progression the entire time, but the vocal melody keeps changing. I love the line “I’m too much with myself; I wanna be someone else.” I also love the line “We have to laugh to look at each other, we have to laugh cause we’re not alone.” It’s a perfect song; I wish I had written it.

Lucinda Williams – Drunken Angel

Lucinda is another hero of mine. I love singing along to her gravely, crooning voice. There’s no other voice like hers. I think often women are expected to sing in a certain way, with a smooth, polished voice, so whenever I hear a woman who isn’t concerned with making her voice sound how it’s “supposed to,” it really moves me. Lucinda’s voice is so special and evocative, and I love this song and cover it all the time.

Jonathan Richman – That Summer Feeling

Big Jonathan Richman fan here. I love this song; it’s both nostalgic and melancholy… the perfect song to cry to.

Kurt Vile – Mutinies

I recently opened for Kurt in Castlemaine, Australia… I really love this song from his most recent album. It’s really hypnotic, and it has this strange five beat/six beat thing going on that is pretty unusual. He told me he wrote most of the song when he was in high school, so that makes it even cooler.

Julia Shapiro’s debut solo album ‘Perfect Version’ is out 14th June.

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