New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Portland psych-surf quartet The Shivas released "If I Could Choose" today, the vibrant first single to announce the September
24 release of their sixth studio album, Feels So Good // Feels So Bad via Tender Loving Empire.
"If I Could Choose" focuses on the spirit of radical self-love and acceptance. "It says I would never want to be anyone anywhere else. I want to be me because that is the most me I can be," says band frontman Jared Molyneux of the track.
Like every other band on the planet, The Shivas were railroaded by the pandemic, which hit just as they were about to tour behind 2019's, Dark Thoughts. Dark Thoughts was a defining sonic achievement for the band and lauded by NPR Music, Flaunt, KEXP, and Rolling Stone, who dubbed the music, "When pop colors mingle with the dampness of a garage."
Transformed by the experience, The Shivas utilized their time off from touring to record Feels So Good // Feels So Bad with Cameron Spies, who also produced Dark Thoughts. Feels So Good // Feels So Bad wasn't written or recorded with a particular theme in mind, but one seemed to have emerged: where Dark Thoughts was about confronting your demons with fearless self-examination, much of Feels So Good // Feels So Bad is about what happens once you find that peace and how being honest with yourself, changes your relationships and priorities. "I do think it's about acceptance," says drummer/singer Kristin Leonard. "There's a weird relaxation that comes with being at peace with things you can't control or have regrets about."
As bandmates who are also in a long-term relationship, Molyneux and Leonard know that their songs might be seen as glimpses into their personal lives, but their songwriting is rarely autobiography. Leonard compares their process to something more akin to screenwriting. "There's bound to be some autobiographical material in there," she says. "But the common denominator is the exploration of universal feelings: ones that everyone experiences or can relate to." The goal is to use the music to drill down into something genuine and sincere, beyond genre or stylistic affectation. That's where The Shivas have arrived.
growth led the band to Feels So Good // Feels So Bad, plenty of their fascinations remain. They're still turning love songs into psychedelic, transcendent epics. "Tell Me That You Love Me" subverts doo-wop extravagance and dabbles in Flamenco rhythms. "Rock Me Baby" is a bubblegum anthem soaked in so much reverb that we might just be hearing it from the stadium nosebleeds. "Sometimes
" is almost impossibly huge, like a witchy outtake from the Brill Building era.
Those songs feel like logical expansions from a band that has always excelled at a timeless sort of rock and roll that tinkers with and explodes elements from every era. But on the towering and mournful "You Wanna Be My Man," a slow-burning six-minute shoegaze prayer for a higher sort of love, there is a level of emotional nuance that feels like something altogether revolutionary. It's there again in the stripped-down vulnerability of the album-closing elegy "Please Don't Go."
Widely known for their bombastic, explosive, and thoroughly communal live rock and roll performances, The Shivas have asserted themselves in the music scene over the past 15 years, with more than 1,000 concerts spread over 25 countries. The group was started by high school friends, guitarist/singer Molyneux, Leonard, and bassist Eric Shanafelt, and in 2017, they were joined by another high school friend, guitarist Jeff City. In those years, they've grown tight-knit as a group and have connected over their love for the stage, which they'll finally be returning to next month. "We just want to make people feel good," Molyneux says. "And forget they have to work tomorrow."
Feels So Good // Feels So Bad is an album about acceptance. Sometimes that acceptance feels enlightened and sometimes it feels like the end result of a lot of kicking and screaming. The Shivas have adapted in both of those ways. With new tours scheduled and a new album on the way, they're still hoping - like all of us - for a new era of vibrant, cathartic live music. The lessons they learned from having their normal upended, though, have only helped them grow.
The Shivas Tour Dates:
Aug 09 - Portland, OR - The Lot
Aug 12 - Boise, ID - Idaho Botanical Gardens
Aug 13 - La Grande, OR - HQ
Aug 14 - Boise, ID - Kin
Aug 15 - Boise, ID - Kin
Sep 21 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
Sep 22-25 - Boise, ID - Treefort Music
Sep 27 - Bend, OR - Volcanic Theatre Pub
Sep 28 - Redding, CA - The Dip
Sep 29 - San Francisco, CA - DNA Lounge
Oct 02 - Reno, NV - Offbeat Music
Oct 07 - Chicago, IL - Sleeping Village
Oct 08 - Indianapolis, IN - Square
Oct 10 - Louisville, KT - Zanzabar
Oct 11 - Huntington, WV - The Loud
Oct 20 - Brooklyn, NY - TV Eye
Oct 23 - Richmond, VA - Fuzzy Cactus
Oct 26 - Charlotte, NC - Snug Harbor
Oct 27 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
Nov 02 - Tallahassee, FL - The Bark
Nov 14 - Seattle, WA - Freakout Fest
Dec 11 - Guadalajara, MX - C3
Dec 18 - Mexico City, MX - Monkeybee Festival.