Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Every Friday, we feature a Northwestern artist. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “The Sunset” by Portland’s The Thermals from the 2013 album Desperate Ground on Saddle Creek.
Formed by Portland mainstays Hutch Harris and Kathy Foster in 2002, The Thermals’ dirty lo-fi take on power pop is both sugary and vicious. Although a number of musicians have played with them at various points, the duo of Harris and Foster have remained the band’s creative core, writing consistently compelling three-chord punk songs with a pop edge. The band’s third album, the politically-charged The Body, The Blood, The Machine, lifted them from local heroes to critical favorites, and their subsequent work has established the group as elder statesmen who remain as restless as ever. Now including drummer Westin Glass, the band hasn’t dulled at all over time and performed seven shows in four days at SXSW this year. (That’s more than most bands play during their SXSW debut.) “The Sunset”, today’s featured song and the crunchy first single from their latest album, Desperate Ground, roars to life as thick, stomping guitar chords and Harris’ intransigent yell. When Harris sings “Now the sunset won’t pass me by again”, his defiance is a rallying call, not just for the kids in the pit, but for everyone who never gave up on playing i-vi-iii-vii chord progressions on a scrappy little amp in their garage.
The Thermals return to the Pacific Northwest in a couple of weeks, playing a show in Seattle at Neumos with Wimps and La Luz on Thursday, April 25th. They’ll be LIVE on KEXP at 3PM that day! Be sure to tune in and get tickets and more info about the show here. You should also keep up with the band on their website and Facebook. For now, watch the band play “Only For You” live for KEXP at Bumbershoot 2010 below: