The Thermals – More Parts Per Million
Sub Pop, 2003
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2006
Easily one of the best debut LPs of the 00s, and of all the bands who thought they've been saving punk rock over the past five years or so, the Thermals are the only ones actually doing it. This is mostly because they don't claim to be saving shit. There's no artifice, no 77 stylebook, and they just seem to be having a shit ton of fun. This is apparent once you've seen the band live. I saw them a couple times at SXSW just because. Sure there was probably some other band I could have gone see, but only if I wanted to have a miserable time. Them and the Hold Steady (whom I passed up Grizzly Bear for because c'mon, live it's gotta be more like Grizzly BORE). I should also note that the first three songs are perfect and follows all the rules of sequencing a great record. “It's Trivia” is a great song, one of the best on the record, and they bring it down with “Brace and Break” which is there to set up “No Culture Icons,” which is fucking amazing. It's raw and primal and honest. The production is perfectly lo-fi and when this song hits, it's like a goddamned revelation every time. When “Can't fucking stop thinking about you” falls out of Hutch Harris' mouth at the end of the song and the whole thing unravels, I am stunned. I'm always stunned. For some reason this band never seems to get as much credit as they are due and they aren't nearly as popular as they should be. Not only is this album great, but the three they released after it are also fucking great, each one improving on the last. They've grown, but they're still the best punk rock band out there right now. Maybe I'm biased, because their songs are catchy as fuck and I specifically model my songs for Caribbean Isles after the Hutch Harris method, but goddamn you just don't find this kind of energy in music today. It's rare. Everyone seems so caught up on looking cool or being the next big thing that finding a band that's doing what they do for the hell of it with fandom as a byproduct is astoundingly cool. There are just so many jams here. “Goddamn the Light,” “I Know the Pattern,” “Overgrown, Overblown!,” “Back to Gray,” oof. This is everything I love about music.
"No Culture Icons" video. Kathy Foster dressed as Eazy E FTW!