Nakde Giants
Naked Giants are playing Chop Suey tonight, Easy Street Records tomorrow. Samira Shobeiri

The title of rising Seattle trio Naked Giants’ debut record, SLUFF, is actually just a filler word intended to sound punk. There are a few different origin stories for the word swirling around the internet, but the band admitted that they just needed a shoutable word for the chorus of the title track.

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SLUFF, which has since come to capture a few different meanings for the Seattle rock trio, primarily is meaningless beyond the title of their debut record. But it’s also morphed into a word synonymous with the nasty shit that ends up under your shoe, as well as a not so subtle abbreviation for Seattle’s favorites: South Lake Union Fuck Faces.

While most people their age would be gearing up to graduate from college in the spring, vocalist/guitarist Grant Mullen, vocalist/bassist Gianni Aiello, and drummer Henry LaVallee, who are all under the age of 22, are releasing their first record SLUFF on March 30 via New West Records.

And as noted earlier, the record originally intended to be about nothing.

“It’s a smorgasbord of shit,” Mullen said of the album. “Loud rock music, that’s what it is.”

Whereas Aiello assured me there is a bit more to it now. “The more [SLUFF] came together… it's that kind of thing where you make something and you don't really know what it is, but you understand it later,” Aiello said. “Mostly because of what other people have told us—the theme seems to be finding the profound meaning of meaninglessness.”

So, the arguments will continue over if the record really is about microscopic dust particles flying through the air, or if it’s a statement about finding a way to make something out of nothing, but nonetheless, it’s a purposeful debut that’s been in the works since Naked Giants formed about four years ago.

SLUFF absorbs the intensity of their infamously rambunctious live show into a compact 12-track record, which isn’t easy for a band that routinely has to stop their set to control the mosh pit.

Anyone who’s seen Naked Giants live will be familiar with a couple of their staple live tracks, including “Slow Dance II” and a revamped version of “Easy Eating,” the lone track to appear on both SLUFF and their R.I.P. EP.

Shorter blasts of high-strung pop that line the record, like the infectiously catchy “Everybody Thinks They Know (But No One Really Knows),” and riff-laden anthem, “Goldfish II,” that are sure to become future crowd favorites.

One of the most representative Naked Giants tracks is “TV.” Full of screams and shouts, the track emphasizes what makes these rockers so great—pulsating drums, fiery guitars, and alternating vocals from Mullen and Aiello that keep everyone on their toes.

Through these songs, Naked Giants show their innate ferociousness, while also revealing a more vulnerable side on the closing track of the record. “Shredded Again” is the opposite of every other track on the album—a nearly eight-minute acoustic number.

Making a debut album that’s futile by choice is a gamble, but Naked Giants also recognize the ability to create something out of nothing, and the privileges that come along with making a meaningless record in 2018.

Living through the times of #MeToo, it’s not unreasonable to look back on rock and punk and question an entire genre that exploited many things en route to success. The duality emerges today where artists are coming to terms with privilege, and often address it head on. Naked Giants are cognizant and upfront about the role they play within the music community.

“Every day we must acknowledge that we are participating in a system which is working to suppress women/womxn/womyn as well as pretty much any group of people other than the cis white male (to which group we belong),” they wrote in an Instagram post on International Women’s Day. “The patriarchy is in everything… we promise to keep learning, keep fighting.”

So, the bottom line is that while a lot of rock music has sucked in the past, Naked Giants don’t, both musically and as people. In fact, as people, they’re pretty goofy.

If you saw Naked Giants on the street, you’d be convinced they were just some average Seattle slobs, and despite what their name might suggest, they’re even of average height and clothed.

I had the opportunity to talk with the band about the new record two days after they got back from a tour in Australia, and only a day before they went back on the road to head to SXSW where they’d be playing nine shows over four days.

And after SXSW, Naked Giants will be gearing up for a tour that extends well into the summer with fellow Seattle indie darling Car Seat Headrest, where they will be both opening, and playing in Car Seat Headrest’s live band.

Their main concern about all of this isn’t exhaustion or nervousness, but merely finding time to go to the bathroom. “The true trick is you have to go pee at some point between our sets,” LaVallee cautions.

While Naked Giants don't take themselves overly seriously, they're always self-aware and aiming for progression. They're one of the rare Seattle bands keeping rock alive in 2018, while simultaneously transforming the genre into what they envision it’s capable of being: conscious and attentive.

“We're limited in our perspectives, just as us,” Aiello says. “I think now it's more important to become part of the bigger picture. Not that what we have to say isn't important, but it's much more valuable to contribute to something else.”

Naked Giants perform Thursday, March 29 at Chop Suey with Fabulous Downey Brothers and the Black Tones. They also perform an in-store record release set at Easy Street Records on Friday.

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