Stream: Summer Cannibals, No Makeup

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I was saved by Portland's new carnivores of rock.

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Sjimon Gompers | July 31, 2013

Portland's saviors of the seasons; Summer Cannibals. (photograph by Jason Quigley)

From the PDX indie pop landscape, meet Summer Cannibals' crew of Jessica, Marc, Lynnae and Valerie with a human hunger for any season as they premiere a first listen to their upcoming album, No Makeup, from New Moss Records. Portland's Cannibals devour a variety of attitudes and styles like the classic dismissive-put-down song “Sounds” that outlines the noises and whatever local clamor that they could do without. “I'm tired of the sounds, they make when they hit the ground, I'm dreaming of this city on mute, where I can't hear your band, and I don't pretend to care”. Then the situation gets elevated to a heavier status with “Emergency” with the immediacy of “oooohs” backed up by the banter of dulling and soloing guitars. Casting off the reigns and ropes of external control, “The Hand” shakes off the interference with a rough and rumble floor tom-tumbling ruckus. “No Makeup” takes a deep breath of burning gusto to show up superficial crowds that act too cool to notice anyone or anything else around them; endemic of the appease and please game.

Fit for the couture of Portland's Red Light Clothing Exchange or Time Bomb, Jessica suggests on “Wear Me Out”, “Let's pretend I'm your favorite dress, wear me every day and ignore everything else”, to be worn out-but preferably not worn down. The great sound of the Northwest is alive and well with, “Hey/I Was Saved”, that rolls on the heels of the rolling bass brings attention to the rough smiling colloquial, 'what was I saying' lyrics in the surefire quiet-loud format. “He holds me down and then he picks me up, they made me smile and then they roughed me up”. Not the “Take Me Out” pop number you might be thinking from Scotland's archdukes; Summer Cannibals exhibit their over brimming thirst for fun here that pivots between the skronk of sweat soaked denim and celebratory high spirits. In a fake out lull, “Don't Think” starts out like a simple and slow toast to heedless behaviors before bursting into plugged in/turned up hedonism. Grinding down the album to a slug's trot, “Wives” observes armies of husbands and wives like opposing yippie legions of suburban encroachment. Smashing the old constructs and breaking the vases of irrelevant world cares, the Cannibals bid you temporary adieu with the closing Portland grunge lullaby, “The End”, that falls steadily asleep to the chord assemblages that wind down to the last note struck.

Summer Cannibals talked with us about getting back to basics with their album No Makeup, sounds for the seasons, Portland bands we have overlooked, and more.

How did you dub yourselves Summer Cannibals, instead of Fall Cannibals, Winter Cannibals, Autumn Cannibals, Spring Cannibals, etc?

Well, we’re actually named after a Patti Smith song but I wouldn’t say we’re all Summer people…I’m more of a Fall fan myself.

What was the mindset when you all began to work on the full length No Makeup?

We just wanted make a record that felt live and sounded pretty much exactly like what you’d hear if you came to a show and saw us play. We hadn’t been playing together for very long and a lot of the songs we hadn’t even played live yet so everything felt really new going in.

“Hey/I Was Saved” is one of my favorite songs from the Summer of 2013, what's the story behind it's cool status of rock and roll saviorship?

I really like “Hey” because it can take on a lot of different meanings. Different people take different things from it…that’s how it was intended to be. It was one of the last songs I wrote for the album and I showed it to everyone a couple of days before we went it so it came together really quick. I think it’s cool how simple and straightforward the music on it is, it lets the vocals be the main focus.

Is the title a reference to a sort of straight up, no nonsense, stripped down approach to rock and roll?

Yeah, definitely. That’s pretty much the idea, a back to basics kind of thing.

Dispatches from the Portland garage scenes worthy of mention or worth looking out for?

Yes! Check out our label-mates Sun Angle. Also…we really love Still Caves, XDS and Charts.

Summer Cannibals' debut album, No Makeup, is out August 6 from New Moss Records.

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