The Thermals have been bringing their bratty pop punk to the masses for more than a decade now, and they show no sign of losing steam. Ever since they exploded with the energetic “More Parts Per Million (Sub Pop 2003),” indie kids and old punks alike have embraced the band due to its mix of catchy pop songs loaded with politics and energy.
The band sprang out of the Portland music scene to the delight of music fans everywhere. They were loud, a little scary, and enthralling to watch. Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster had formerly made sweet folk music as a duo, but the Thermals were anything but soft and folky–they were the polar opposite. The group hit the road playing dingy clubs and basements and signed to Sub Pop, putting out three records before switching to bigger venues and to the punk powerhouse label Kill Rock Stars. The Thermals may play to bigger crowds now, but they still bring the same high-energy indie punk to every show–and a laugh or two if you’re lucky.
The trio current trio of Hutch Harris, Kathy Foster, and Westin Glass, released their last album, “Personal Life (Kill Rock Stars),” in 2010–that was a long time ago, and the kids are clamoring for some new Thermals. Fortunately for the super fans, the band is set to release some tunes this year with their sixth LP “Desperate Ground,” and we couldn’t be happier.
“Desperate Ground” was recorded in Hoboken just as Hurricane Sandy was about to bring the fury down on the coast. Luckily, The Thermals and the record made it out of the storm.
The Thermals are great at a lot of things: updating their facebook with cool stuff, posing for cute close up band photos, and creating amazing rock and roll. They’re also great at putting on a fantastic live show. The band unleashes wave after wave of loud sounds in the form of short, smart songs that get fans singing along and waving fists. If you’re in the front rows, be prepared to get up close and personal with your fellow Thermal fans. The Thermals, above all, are fun to listen to and fun to observe–you won’t regret trying to snag that front row spot. LAUREN ROSENTHAL
DIRTY GHOSTSDirty Ghosts are bringing the haunted back to rock music…well, if you can be haunted and poppy at the same time. The band springs from years of noodling around–finally producing the genre blending “Metal Moon.” Dirty Ghosts will get you moving despite yourself, most likely with fists clenched in punk rock glory. Singer Allyson Baker’s voice is strong yet personal in the tradition of the great punk rock femme fatales. Musically, Dirty Ghosts falls somewhere between Allyson’s punk roots and a dark electronic pop group. There’s enough guitar riffing to please the punks, and more than enough catchy beats to please the dancers in the crowd. The drum loops are intricate and amazing, and of course, created by Baker’s ex-husband and friend Aesop Rock. LAUREN ROSENTHAL
THE SHE'SIt’s easy to be young, fun and awesome–especially when you are The She’s. The She’s are four San Francisco girls who are about to graduate, put off college for a year, and make it big. Sam, Hannah, Eva and Sinclair (get it? S-H-E-S) are more beach pop than punk, with great harmonies, sweet summer lyrics, and jangley guitars out the ying-yang. The songs are so much more polished than anything your average teen could pull together. I wish these girls were at my high school when I was still young and innocent, they would have been invited to all my parties and featured ‘em in my zine. LAUREN ROSENTHAL
EV KAINEv Kain is an experimental pop band from San Francisco that plays on well harmonized vocals and funky bass lines. The complex instrumentals make this band interesting and unpredictable, and those vocals keep listeners wanting more. Did I mention you probably won’t be able to stop yourself from dancing? So far the band has only released a few singles online, but hopefully this next year will see a full length from EV Kain. LAUREN ROSENTHAL