The Thermals @ Crescent Ballroom
Didn't think apocalyptic chic could translate into an existential-blend blink-182? Think again. The Thermals swirl your Interpol with Ted Leo before throwing in a dash of humor to balance out the depressing despair of existence in the shadow of nuclear bombs, drone strikes, and rising sea levels. But if your anti-Bush-era metaphors won't carry you, it helps to have hipster friends in high places. When The Thermals were less than six months young, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie gave Sub Pop Records a nudge. That and a $60 recording budget led to their first album, More Parts Per Million. It also doesn't hurt that they were once joined by Jordan Hudson of M. Ward, or that they grabbed Isaac Brock and Wild Flag/Portlandia favorite Carrie Brownstein for the video for "I Don't Believe You." See, they're not just cool because they live in Portland and get AAA SPARS codes stamped on their vinyl — they're cool because their anti-establishment commentary resonates with a generation completely burnt out by the fucked-up things around them. The only response is cynicism. There's biting sarcasm and then there's sarcasm that grinds your teeth to dust, and The Thermals are the latter.
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