05.15.13 — “Dreams of Cannibalism” by Typhoon


If you only listen to one song today, make it “Dreams of Cannibalism” by Typhoon (2013, from the forthcoming album White Lighter).

Typhoon is an indie rock eleven-piece orchestra from Portland, Oregon. Multiple guitars, multiple drum kits, horns, strings, more guitars, complex vocal harmonies. They’re sort of hard to classify, and sort of hard to say “sounds like…”. This could very easily be the exact same thing that I said about Altos, the magnificent 12-piece post-rock band from Milwaukee. Altos was, if you’re keeping score, my favorite “new to me” band from Hopscotch last year, and their set was the one that I enjoyed the most. That’s saying a lot, considering that The Jesus & Mary Chain also played that festival.

While I implore you to buy the album by Altos, this isn’t about them. Although some of the same things might be said about Altos and about Typhoon, the two bands don’t sound very much alike.

I didn’t know anything about Typhoon until I got something in the mailbag yesterday promoting this song and announcing the new album, which is scheduled for release on August 20. They released an acclaimed EP called A New Kind of House in 2011. Last year, they released a couple of singles and an album called Hunger and Thirst.

The band didn’t do that tired “hole ourselves up in a cabin in the woods to write the new record”, but they did something in the same vein. They set up shop on a farm, isolated from the outside world. They roamed around the farm and its many buildings, woods, and ponds. They had a constantly changing view, and that helped in the writing process.

Frontman Kyle Morton recently had a health scare after a bug bite. One thing led to another, and he needed a kidney transplant from his father. This experience of, as he says, “living on borrowed time” has contributed to the writing of what he calls a very autobiographical album. Today’s song, he says, is supposed to represent the part of youth when a person becomes very self-conscious.

This is that song.

This is a weird thing to say, but his singing style kind of reminds me of Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit.

There are other elements of this song that remind me of Pavement, elements that remind me of Los Campesinos!, and some elements that remind me of Altos. Those are all very good things.

There’s certainly some darkness to this, even if it sounds bright.

Unhand me
I am not a criminal
But I’ve played a guilty part.
In the … sense that one pretends
that life is original

I wrote a book and I will call it something cynical
The story’s slow
The hero does not change
And he can’t and he won’t anyway

I fled the country
I thought I’d leave this behind
But I built the same damn house
on every acre I could find
And I tried to fake my own death
just to shake the devils from my mind

And I said
Unhand me
I am not a criminal
And if I am, I paid the band
Just let me go
Soon enough you will be dancing at my funeral

Some of those lyrics might not be exactly right, and I missed a couple of lines, but that’s it. The first time I heard the song, I was morbidly attracted to the line “soon enough you will be dancing at my funeral”. There’s more to it than that. I guess it’s about how we repeat ourselves so often, how we make the same mistakes again and again. How we don’t learn. I don’t know why it’s called “Dreams of Cannibalism”.

I really like this song, and I’m looking forward to the release of White Lighter. The album will be the first one they’ve done for Roll Call Records. It’ll be out on August 20, and they’ll be touring the US this autumn. In the meantime, you can grab a free download of today’s song from soundcloud.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

2 responses to “05.15.13 — “Dreams of Cannibalism” by Typhoon

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