PRESS PHOTOS (credit: Tim Peterson)
GREY ROMANTIC ALBUM COVER
Grey Romantic is not the first album that The Shivers have dropped on Valentine’s Day. Honestly, they all could have. NYC singer-songwriter Keith Zarriello, backed by his rotating cast of friends and fellow musicians, has a deep catalogue of material exploring love and loss from ever sharper angles. 2015’s Forever Is A Word also saw a Valentine’s unveiling, but any of The Shivers more than half a dozen full-lengths could have born witness to the day as love letters either to stuff into bottles and hurl into the sea or to light as kindling and burn it all down.
Judging from the reaction to The Shivers’ earliest breakout single, 2004’s “Beauty” — which was the impetus for the band’s cult following of people like Aaron Paul, Daniel Radcliffe, Rose McIver, Tessa Thompson and bands like Deer Tick and Foster the People — Zarriello is impressively skilled at describing love.
Grey Romantic is the latest proof that he’s equally capable of depicting love’s aftermath and charred wreckage, as the album leans heavily to the heartbroken side. The Guardian’s Laura Barton testified to The Shivers’ already impressive ability to capture the pain, as she remarked on the 2011 album More, “It’s a breakup album, a song cycle of sorts, that moves through the collapse of a relationship and on to regret, defiance, the hope of reunion and, finally, resignation…It’s a mainstay of my record collection.”
Grey Romantic, true to form, is a frank and beautiful record on isolation, brutal and honest. Zarriello revealed about the album, “It’s all about human loneliness. I like the term cosmic loneliness.“ Zarriello’s output cycles through searing love and cold loneliness, mirroring life’s familiar pattern. He explained last year in an interview with Motif RI, “My songs are divided up into albums, but I guess I tend to look at the whole body of work as one unbroken line.”
The Scotsman noted as much in 2011: “A particularly interesting part of his songwriting is that he carries lyric and melodic motifs across songs and even entire albums…Mining the pain of isolation and lost love for art isn’t a new concept, but Zarriello has been finding new ways to explore it for over a decade.”
The Shivers’ forthcoming full-length Grey Romantic is due out on February 14th. Its creation, as the story goes, started in November of 2015 when Keith Zarriello left Queens after years in NYC real estate, disillusioned and reeling from a breakup, packed some recording equipment and personal belongings into a rented cargo van and drove 2500 miles to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to a small shack where he lived and wrote the bulk of Grey Romantic in isolation.
The album was then recorded first in an old warehouse in Downtown L.A. across the hallway from studio space that belonged to The Velvet Underground’s John Cale, and later re-recorded in an old converted cabin in the Catskill Mountains.
Grey Romantic is The Shivers’ latest exhibit of what it means to be human, and this Valentine’s Day, Zarriello will give us one more way to feel it. To experience his isolation exegesis in a crowd, Zarriello invites fans to The Shivers’ album release show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY on Saturday, February 18th.
In spite of inevitable heartbreak, in an email to fans, Zarriello knows there is reason to celebrate, “Twenty years ago, at the tender age of 16, I played my first gig in NYC at the legendary CBGB’s. We got ice thrown at us. Now 20 years later, I’ve finally landed a legit gig. It’s at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on a Saturday night and The Shivers are the headliner.”
Keith Zarriello’s voice carries an eerie, mesmerizing eroticism. – Jessica Suarez, Pitchfork
Certain songs can seem like home the very first time you hear them. The way that by the time you reach the second verse, you want to move in and live between their walls, you want to kiss them until they agree to marry you. I had that very day been gifted such a track – a song named “Beauty”, which appeared on the Shivers’ debut album Charades. – Laura Barton, The Guardian
“Beauty” has since become one of our favorite songs of all time. – Gorilla vs Bear
The Shivers track catalog is one of the most impressive, extensive, and under appreciated collections in rock. Keith Zarriello is a phenomenal guitarist whose far removal from electronicized indie pop supports his identity as one of the truly authentic musicians and songwriters in Brooklyn. – Quiet Color
One of the best kept secrets in today’s indie scene…The Shivers make beautiful, honest music. – IndieMuse