Often I wonder: Do we make art for another entity, or do we make it for ourselves? And every time — every single time! — I come back to the conclusion: “We do it for ourselves.” Damn the end result. Damn the audience. Damn the profits. (Although, profits are good. Donate to Caffeinated Jam today!)
This thought came up again because Summer Cannibals of Portland have just released “False Anthem”, the lead single from their upcoming album Can’t Tell Me No, out June 28 via Tiny Engines. It’s filled with the same attacking sound that has brought Summer Cannibals to the attention of blogs and listeners everywhere, with Jessica Boudreaux speak-singing in a way where you can hear her sneer.
Can’t Tell Me No comes from the ashes of an album that the band had scrapped due to Boudreaux leaving behind a personal and creative relationship. So you understand where the thought of “art for ourselves vs. art for others” came from. Instead of running with the original product and allowing her abusive ex-partner to have credit, she and her other bandmates hit the studio, started from scratch, and created a whole new record for themselves. Hence the title of the album makes some allusion to its creation.
Boudreaux even makes mention of this separation from her ex-partner in the lyrics: “Look ahead and see your future’s gone. Here it is; right in my motherfucking palm!” Overall, “False Anthem” calls out those who talk about hating abuse but allow themselves to do business with abusers; Boudreaux, on behalf of Summer Cannibals, says that they won’t accept that kind of bullshit anymore.
Despite how much “False Anthem” rocks, you may wonder if the scrapped predecessor to Can’t Tell Me No will ever see the light of day again. It may not! Forget about it. Scrapped albums often have good reasons for ending up in the dustbin of history, and although I too wonder what that album would have sounded like, let it remain a figment of the imagination. It’s not for us, anyway. +