Feels So Good // Feels So Bad by The Shivas on Tender Loving Empire (the album artwork features a colour photograph of the four members of the band sat on the floor in front of a stack of amplifiers and drums)

The Shivas - Feels So Good // Feels So Bad

TENDER LOVING EMPIRE

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EXPECTED RELEASE DATE: FRIDAY 18TH FEBRUARY 2022 

 

The Shivas have recorded six albums since forming in high school in the mid-2000s, including three LPs as well as a 7" EP on K Records, but the bands raison d'etre and first love is playing live shows. 

Shivas shows are bombastic, explosive and thoroughly communal live rock and roll experiences where barriers between the performers and their audience seem to dissolve into the sweat and sound. The stage - or the basement, or the living room - is The Shivas’ true element. The band’s live urgency may have been born as teenagers, when the band, too young to be in the clubs they were playing, waited without fanfare on sidewalks or in parking lots, before being rushed onstage for their sets. Maybe it developed a little later, as The Shivas blasted their way through Portland’s storied and unsanctioned mid-2000s house show scene. Whatever the origin of their famously kinetic live experience, it’s the show that keeps them coming back after over one-thousand performances spread over twenty-five countries in fifteen years. 

In those fifteen years, The Shivas have grown tight-knit as a group. The trio of guitarist/singer Jared Molyneux, bassist Eric Shanafelt and drummer/singer Kristin Leonard have been together since the start, with guitarist Jeff City, another high school friend, joining in 2017. Together they’ve learned to thread a seemingly impossible needle: They’ve honed and tightened their performances without sacrificing the element of surprise that makes each show special. And despite touring and recording for most of their lives, they speak about their project with humility, in the DIY vernacular of their Pacific Northwest upbringing. They talk up their own favourite bands, play all-ages shows as much as possible, and bring a sort of blue-collar humanism to the live performances they relish so much. “We just want to make people feel good,” Molyneux says. “We want them to forget they have to work tomorrow.” Kristin Leonard elaborates, “The live show is all about that feeling of catharsis - in ourselves and in everyone who comes out. We’re creating this safe space where we can all let go. Where we can exhale. And it feels really good when we are able to facilitate that.” 

So when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the band knew it was time for transformation. After a settling realisation that live music would be grounded for the foreseeable future, The Shivas booked significant studio time with Cameron Spies, who also produced the 2019 Dark Thoughts LP. They also transformed their lives: three of the band’s four members found work with a local nonprofit serving unhoused Portland residents. They became engaged in protests and fundraisers for social justice. They spent a whole summer actually living in Portland, settling into the city they had always called home, but that sometimes felt like a temporary stop between tours. 

“We got into a more community-minded headspace,” Leonard says. “And that did give us some purpose. It felt cool to see everybody come together to stick up for what they believe in. It feels like an incredibly formative last twelve months.” 

The album that emerged from this new moment finds The Shivas reborn as a band that seems seasoned and perfectly at home with itself. There is a calm, even a hopefulness, to their seventh album, Feels So Good // Feels So Bad, that sounds new. The Shivas didn’t write or record the album with a particular theme in mind, but one seems 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: how being honest with yourself changes your relationships and your priorities. “I do think it’s about acceptance,” Leonard says. “There’s a weird relaxation that comes with being at peace with things you can’t control or have regrets about.” 

Whatever 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 and reverb-soaked bubblegum anthems - a timeless sort of rock and roll that tinkers with and explodes elements from every era. But there is also a mournfulness, like the towering 'You Wanna Be My Man,' a slow-burning six-minute velveteen shoegaze prayer for a higher sort of love, there is a level of emotional nuance that feels like something altogether revolutionary. 

 

TRACKLIST: 
  1. Feels So Bad 
  2. Undone 
  3. Tell Me That You Love Me 
  4. If I Could Choose 
  5. Don't Go 
  6. My Baby Don't 
  7. You Wanna Be My Man 
  8. A Gift 
  9. For The Kids 
  10. Rock Me Baby 
  11. So Cold 
  12. Sometimes 
  13. Please Don't Go 

 


 

 

 

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