From the sunny valleys of Portland, Ore., come The Thermals, a new band on the newly reinvented post-grunge Sub Pop Records (you know, the label that brought you Nirvana). They're noisy power-pop, cute as buttons, and really, astoundingly good.
Their new album, More Parts Per Million, is a litany of incredibly infectious "no-fi" hooks and snidely warbling vocals that sounds something like Superchunk seen through the eyes of the Buzzcocks, or perhaps The Strokes gone horribly, horribly right. It could be in key with that new New York and Detroit garage sound, if it weren't for the fact that it's so genuinely fresh-faced and unpretentious. Fronted by singer Hutch Harris, they sound vital and talented, eschewing fashion statements and inclusion in the weird neo-mod garage-rock community for a sound that will outlast all the Vines you could possibly Stroke.
And to top it all off, thanks to local promoter Marc Peralta and his new Full On productions, they're playing downtown Colorado Springs with locals Against Tomorrow's Sky and Betting on the Muse, and Napier, from Cheyenne, Wyo.
While The Thermals have only been together for about a year, they managed not only to get a three-record deal with Seattle's Sup Pop Records after playing a paltry total of six shows in 2002. The band -- with its members hailing from various "d.i.y." (do it yourself) indie crusader bands -- said they were delightfully surprised to be moving on to the new "s.e.d.i.f.y." school (someone else does it for you).
While it may seem flukish for a band so green (and thrown together on a lark) to sign so quickly, one has to look at their pedigree. They've got Ben Barnett, singer-songwriter behind prolific band Kind of Like Spitting; Kathy Foster (bass) and Hutch Harris (vocals) of Hutch and Kathy; and drummer Jordan Hudson from Operacycle. Catch them soon before the decadence of the pop life catches up with their almost certain rise to fame. This will undoubtedly be some of the most wonderful pop to hit the Springs in quite a while.
-- Brian Arnot