Why I Heart the Thermals
While I have to give credit to an ex-boyfriend for introducing me to the Thermals’ music, luckily I haven’t held it against the band. Anyway, it would be my loss. The Thermals, who hail from Portland, OR, came on the scene in 2002 and released their debut album, More Parts Per Million in 2003. Things really got heated up in 2006 with their album The Body, The Blood, The Machine, an instant classic. Their latest album, Personal Life, came out last year on Kill Rock Stars. Band leader Hutch Harris writes the music, sings and plays guitar, while longtime collaborator Kathy Foster plays bass and current drummer Westin Glass keeps the beat. But all that is neither here nor there.
The point is, the Thermals make indie punk pop rock music that while maintaining a solid, catchy beat that makes sure your feet keep moving, also assaults your brain with challenging ideas and thoughtful notions. Their music, to put it plainly, is fun and intelligent. As soon as I hear the opening hooks to songs like “A Pillar of Salt” or “Now We Can See” my heart widens and I can’t help but grin. There’s a time and place for depressing, introspective shoegazer music, but honey, this ain’t that. It makes me want to jump up and down as I contemplate the fucked-upedness that is religion, politics, and real life. And maybe scream a little.
Check out this video for “A Pillar of Salt”:
Their live show is a thing of high energy beauty and at this point I can’t even remember all the times that I’ve seen them. But I recently added one more to the list, when they played a sold out show at the Bell House on July 3.
More images from that show after the jump.