Tuesday 29 Jul

Power Pyramid - The God Drums

Power Pyramid doesn’t have much patience for nonsense. That appears to be the takeaway from the Oklahoma City quintet’s last 10 months, which brought The God Drums in September, the Insomnia EP in January and its latest, self-titled effort in July.

07/29/2014 | Comments 0

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Portland indie-punkers The...

Portland indie-punkers The Thermals warm hearts with 'Personal Life,' an album that swells and sputters like love

Chris Parker October 21st, 2010

Complexity's overrated. That's one of the guiding principles for The Thermals.

The Thermals with Coathangers
9 p.m. Monday
113 N. Crawford, Norman
$10 advance, $12 door
$12 advance, $14 door under 21

Complexity's overrated. That's one of the guiding principles for The Thermals.

The Portland, Ore., trio's five full-length albums are characterized by propulsive, straightforward lo-fi rock with a strong punk undercurrent and perceptive lyrics. Too loud to be called minimal, their music is grimy, but never sloppy.

"A lot of my favorite songs are super-simple, with three chords and simple drum beat," said bassist Kathy Foster. "It's like those songs are the most fun to dance and sing along to."

The Thermals were formed in 2002 by Foster and Hutch Harris. The two met in San Francisco in their teens, and eventually started the band Haelah, which started as a kind of stoner-rock band before morphing into the folk-pop duo Hutch & Kathy. After recording an acoustic pop album under the new name, Harris retreated into the studio to indulge a different side of his personality.

"He kind of wanted to make some songs really fast. A lot of the songs were written and recorded within a day or two, just spouting it out, and not thinking about it," Foster said.

Although the chunky throb is the first thing to catch your attention, Harris' canny writing is a galvanizing force. The trio's first two albums bristle with brash anthems, and the band followed with 2006's breakout, "The Body, The Blood, The Machine." It landed on many critics' year-end lists, and graduated The Thermals from cult fave to underground sensation.

For its latest, "Personal Life," The Thermals took on the subject of love.

"It's not so much a story, but the whole thing is within the theme and has a kind of arc to it as this kind of failing relationship," Foster said.

While the last two discs were written and recorded as a duo, with Foster playing both bass and drums, the new album benefits from the arrival of drummer Westin Glass, who encouraged more of a live writing process. The rhythm section drives the group's new songs. It's a subtle, but undeniable difference.

"You don't feel like anything's missing, but we don't feel like we all have to be playing the same thing for it to sound full," Foster said.

While The Thermals remain their main project, both Foster and Harris have been working on solo stuff for the past year. She played some solo shows over the summer on electric guitar backed by four-track recordings of her on other instruments.

Harris hasn't taken the stage solo, but did enter the studio to record four songs for a new project called Forbidden Friends, which Foster said will feature her and Glass performing backing tracks.

"We just like to try different things musically that excite us and hope that people like it, and that we continue to grow and not be tied to one sound coming from us," she said. "Chris Parker
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5