Story: Jack Foley
THE Thermals live on the beautiful, eastern side of the Willamette
River in Portland, Oregon, where hordes of young 'artists' are
nurtured by foul weather and low-rent 'houses'.
In the Spring of 2002, The Thermals songs were created by singer,
Hutch Harris, in his kitchen.
By the Summer of that same year, The Thermals were a rock band
in the flesh, with Kathy Foster, Jordan Hudson and Ben Barnett
on bass, drums and guitar, respectively.
By the Fall, The Thermals had about 10 shows under their belt,
and almost half of those shows were on stage.
They felt at this point that they had really paid their 'dues',
and knew they had amassed a ton of 'street cred(ibility)'.
So, in late October, they signed a three-record deal with Sub
Staying true to their DIY (do-it-yourself) ethics, Harris recorded
The Thermals debut record on a four-track cassette recorder
in his one-bedroom house, lovingly dubbed 'The Moss Motel'.
Chris Walla, of Death Cab for Cutie fame, mixed the recordings
to a quarter-inch two-track at The Hall of Justice studio in Seattle,
As a result, Sub Pop now brings The Thermals to you, in all their
So what can fans expect? Distorted guitars, distorted drums,
distorted bass, and distorted vocals, all colliding into perfect,
distorted pop songs.
The sound is described as 'classic Sub Pop, with a twist'.
It's like combining the best of the grunge bands from the label
with some of the lo-fi geniuses whove worked with Sub Pop:
like Mark Arm recording a basement record with Lou Barlow.
The Thermals debut album is called More Parts Per Million,
and, according to their publicists, is a very fitting title, given
that the record pays absolutely no heed to any laws or generally
accepted principles of sound recording.
In fact, More Parts Per Million may force the listener to decide
for him or herself what makes a record 'listenable', 'unlistenable',
or 'very fucking listenable'.
In the future, the Thermals hope to perform many national and
international touring 'gigs', and to record at least two more
albums, as dictated by their 'contract'.
They are also looking forward to graduating from the school of
DIY, to enter the new and exciting world they refer to as 's.e.d.i.f.y.'
(someone else does it for you).
More Parts Per Million is released on June 16 on Sub Pop.