The Thermals

Urban Lounge Presents

The Thermals

Summer Cannibals, Chalk

Sunday, May 8, 2016

8:00 pm

$12 ADV / $14 DOS

This event is 21 and over

The Thermals
The Thermals
I don't know how to write a bio for an album. I've never written one.

I'm a comedian. My job is to talk onstage for long enough that the trapped, drunken audience has to buy more chicken wings from the club. I am not qualified to write about music. And yet here I am, writing a bio for the new Thermals record, We Disappear. Thank god it's a great fucking record.

The first time I heard The Thermals was on broken headphones while riding the A Train to Rockaway, Brooklyn, flying mere feet over a frozen Jamaica Bay on a too-bright January morning. I had just fallen in love with a wonderful, terrible woman who was thousands of miles away. I was very fragile, I had no boundaries, and I was the strongest I'd ever been. And that's how this album feels. There's a new vulnerability here, but The Thermals' sound is as strong as it's ever been.

The Thermals are best at making songs you put on mixtapes named 'Drunken Sing-alongs When You're Sad.' They specialize in late-night, secret conversations about feeling simultaneously romantic and resentful over being raised Catholic. They're the soundtrack to breaking glass, and an ode to the beauty of brokenness.

They say that the mark of intelligence is the ability to hold two disparate and conflicting truths in the mind at the same time: I am a good person; I am not a good person. We Disappear lives in this delicate, in-between place: at once hard and noisy, while also soft and personal. And seeming contradictions abound on this album. We Disappear is an all-too-real, dark, and intensely personal album – in the past most of singer Hutch Harris' lyrics have been mostly fictitious tales – about how we try to outrun demise, whether personal or physical. It is an emotional document of how two people can tear each other apart, while simultaneously making you wanna get up and jump around the room.

The deeply dark, yet oddly catchy "Heart Went Cold" plays on the double metaphor of loss of love/life and features the sad realization "I pushed you away", but is immediately followed by the super poppy "oh-oh oh". The classic fucking rock anthem "Hey You" is a paranoid fantasy about running from the Grim Reaper as he calls after you, about "being terrified of death," says Harris, but "a celebration of that feeling as opposed to feeling sad about it." A surprisingly uplifting eulogy of the death of a relationship, "Thinking Of You" is explained by Harris as "one of the most straight-forward love songs we've ever written, a point-blank post-break up song. It's a song that says exactly what it means. It and a lot of the record are about regret, i.e. still loving someone after a break-up and hanging on to these feelings."

We Disappear is also about separation in terms of technology, how it can isolate us and impact our relationships, and how humans have embraced it to the point where we've already assimilated into it. "The Great Dying" and "Into the Code" examine how we're so afraid we're going to be forgotten, or overlooked, that we upload everything about our lives onto the Internet.

Harris explains, "Technology, love and death are the three obsessions of the record. Our privacy used to be so important to us and now everything has changed – we freely offer once private information about relationships and reveal everything about our day-to-day lives. We're trying to preserve our life digitally so when we're gone people won't forget us. We're using technology to become immortal. You can even set up Facebook and Twitter accounts to continue updating after you die! We Disappear is about how humans fight the inevitable."

I'm sure you want to know that the record will come out March 25th, 2016 on Saddle Creek, that it features the longest running Thermals line-up of Hutch Harris, Kathy Foster, and Westin Glass, and that it was recorded in Portland, OR at Kung Fu Bakery (The Shins, Tegan and Sara) and in Seattle, WA at The Hall of Justice (Nirvana, Mudhoney), and produced by Chris Walla (formerly of Death Cab For Cutie). But what really matters is that this record GETS IT. It walks that fine line between truth and lies, between death and life, between depression and joy – all the while recognizing that one cannot exist without the other. And it brings us with it. That's the reason to listen to this record: Because it's a fucking great album, by an amazing band. Long Live The Thermals.
Summer Cannibals
Summer Cannibals
Summer Cannibals’ fourth album Can’t Tell Me No, out June 28th on Tiny Engines, is a defiant release whose very existence is the result of taking back power—after escaping a manipulative personal and creative relationship, guitarist/vocalist and bandleader Jessica Boudreaux chose to scrap an entire record that had been finished for over a year and start from scratch. “We had to sacrifice an album we’d worked hard on so that someone abusive and manipulative couldn’t benefit from it,” says Boudreaux. “It was, in a matter of 24 hours, making the decision to start something new or let them win.”

Creation and determination prevailed; along with Cassi Blum, Devon Shirley, and Ethan Butman, Boudreaux wrote and recorded and mixed many of the new tracks during 14-hour days. She and Blum hunkered down in Boudreaux’s home studio, where they had been already been engineering records for other bands, and finished Can’t Tell Me No as Summer Cannibals’ first entirely self-engineered and produced album.

“Writing this record and making it ourselves was about liberation from the parts of an industry that have protected abusers for way too long, and about saying fuck you to the people who have invalidated my and so many others’ experiences of abuse,” says Boudreaux. “It's really easy for people to condemn the government and figures we see on the news,” says Boudreaux, “but those same people often fail when it comes to standing up to and calling out the people in their lives who are just as evil.” Songs like “False Anthem” confront this cowardice; “Hate who they are, say you hate what they do,” snarls Boudreaux against an insistent, hard-charging guitar, “but you love all the things that they promise you.”

The Cannibals formed in 2012 and gained a fervent following on the local Portland scene, eventually playing with some of their musical heroes including L7, Mudhoney, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and The War on Drugs, and touring with Ted Leo & the Pharmacists and Cursive. They've played some major festivals including Sasquatch, Project Pabst and Riot Fest, and made their TV debut in 2016 on Last Call with Carson Daly. Along the way, they released 2013’s No Makeup and 2015’s Show Us Your Mind on their own label, New Moss Records, and 2016’s Full Of It on Kill Rock Stars. Show Us Your Mind appeared on NPR’s Sound Opinions Best of list in 2015, and Pitchfork said that on Full Of It, the Cannibals “expertly balance flame-belching Mad Max riffage with lyrics frankly exploring questions of co-dependence and need.”

Now with Can’t Tell Me No, the Cannibals are as honest and confrontational as they’ve ever been; though ironically, more harmonious as a band. With the inspiration and adrenaline driving the new album’s creation, the current members of Summer Cannibals are working together in a new, reinvigorated way. “This is the first time that we've had all four members who are really dedicated and care about their role in the band,” says Boudreaux. “We function as a unit and everything goes so smoothly. I think we all feel very supported.” That support comes through in the confidence on songs like “Like I Used To,” a self-assured anthem to the renewal that comes with independence and leaving violent toxicity behind you.

Because where there is anger there is also hope, and Can’t Tell Me No is, as much as anything, about finding love and acceptance on the other side of pain. “Part of getting over my past has meant looking forward and letting myself know that I'm capable of love in the context of an honest, open and communicative relationship,” says Boudreaux. Songs like “Into Gold” encapsulate this; a warm,Be My Baby manifesto that promises “I’ll be the one to want to break this mold, pull you out of the dark and back into gold.”

And on a larger scale, Can’t Tell Me No stands up not just to a relationship or an industry, but to the people and constructs that have been trying to silence women and hold them down for so long. “It’s about doing the right thing,” says Boudreaux, “even when it’s terrifying.”
Chalk
Chalk
Chalk was formed in 2012 with one eye on the past and one on the future. Keeping smaller spaces in mind in the heart of Salt Lake City, Chalk continues to pave over the streets of guitar based indie rock with catchy choruses and fuzzed-out riffs.
Venue Information:
Urban Lounge
241 South 500 East
Salt Lake City, UT, 84102
http://www.theurbanloungeslc.com/