Local Wire

The Thermals

It never hurts to have friends in high places — just ask The Thermals. The Portland, Oregon-based band got a career boost when Death Cab for Cutie lead singer Ben Gibbard got hold of their self-produced debut album, More Parts Per Million, and subsequently passed it along to Sub Pop Records, who signed the band soon thereafter. The album, reportedly recorded at a cost of $10 on a four-track recorder in singer/guitarist Hutch Harris' kitchen, was mixed by Chris Walla (also of Death Cab) and released in early 2003. The Thermals would go on to release two more albums on Sub Pop before moving to Kill Rock Stars for their fourth release, Now We Can See, which came out in April. The Thermals' jangly sound has inspired the use of multi-hyphenated terms like "indie-post-pop-punk," but it's essentially just straight-ahead rock at its core, like a slightly tighter version of Pinkerton-era Weezer. In the seven years they've been together, The Thermals have gone through almost as many drummers as Spinal Tap, but the core songwriting duo of Harris and bassist Kathy Foster has remained unchanged since the band's inception.
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Mike R. Meyer