Now We Can See
Release Date: April 7th, 2009
The Thermals were born in Portland, Oregon, in the early winter of 2002. The United States was going through a mental and moral quagmire, of sorts. At the time, we referred to our brave, new world as "Post-9/11". We would soon re-name this era "Pre-9/11 Flight Tax". These were NOT simple times, my friend! These were days of fear, of terror, of salvia! The world looked like a horrible place, whether you were tripping or not.
Now here we are, in 2009. How things change! How they get worse, and worse, and wow even WORSE, and then... wait for it... looks like maybe there is a light at the end of this tunnel? Good God were we in a TUNNEL for eight years?
Barack Obama is elected president of the U.S.A. and as millions of people cheer at the top of their lungs, millions more breathe an enormous collective sigh of relief. Now we can start over, now we can begin repairing the damage done over the last eight years, now we can restore our great nation's standing in the world.
Now we can see!
Which finally brings us back to The Thermals. Don't go anywhere, we are still going to sell you The Thermals, and maybe some aluminum siding, if you do not have aluminum siding.
Like most Portlanders, The Thermals are only conservative when it comes to their stash. So they were of course thrilled to see not only Obama become the nation's first black president, but also to see Portland's Sam Adams become the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city.
Now we can see!
The problem is, I think they meant the title to be ironic. After all, The Thermals certainly love the 90's (think Pinkerton, Last Splash, Dookie, Mr. Show), the decade when irony battled sarcasm until they both collapsed upon themselves. When The Thermals sing "Now we can see/What do we need?/We should need nothing/Nothing at all", "should" seems to be the key word. Now we can see. We know the truth, but do we even care? Does it change our behavior at all? It might not be ironic, but is it optimistic?
Don't ask The Thermals! Rumors of their death have been greatly under-exaggerated. Though NOT a concept record and NOT a sequel, "Now We Can See" picks up right where The Thermals left off, at the end of their last LP, 2006's "The Body, The Blood, The Machine", when The Thermals were either obliterated by nuclear war, or walked the earth as the last living souls, until they dropped dead of quite unnatural causes. I don't know, the plot was a little hard to follow.
Either way, the story continues... from beyond the grave! With catchy choruses!
The Thermals imagine death by drowning, in attempts to de-evolve ("When I Died", "At The Bottom Of The Sea"), death by psychosis ("We Were Sick", "I Called Out Your Name"), and death by French exit ("You Dissolve"). But as much death as there is on this record, it won't get you down! These songs are really about life. After all, The Thermals are only fictionally deceased. Hell, they're only seven years old! They know little about death, and slightly less about life.
2009! Did we really make it? Wow, we're incredibly Post-9/11 now. But we won't be Pre-2012 for much longer! Who knows what the future will bring? Where do we go when we die? Is there electric guitar in the afterlife? It's too much to think about! Let's try to just concentrate on the present. We hit some crazy highs, and lows, over these past eight years. If we died, now we are definitely reborn . Now we can start over. Now we can get back to work.
Now we can see!
- Stiner Ringsage
April 7, 2009
01. When I Died
02. We Were Sick
03. I Let It Go
04. Now We Can See [mp3] [video]
05. At the Bottom of the Sea
06. When We Were Alive
07. I Called Out Your Name
08. When I Was Afraid
09. Liquid In, Liquid Out
10. How We Fade
11. You Dissolve
Please allow The Thermals to re-introduce themselves!
Hi, we're The Thermals. We're a three-piece alternative/indie/punk band. We live in Portland, Oregon. You know, the place all your friends are moving. So they can paint/record/do gravity bong hits, when they're not slinging lattes at one of a thousand or so coffee shops.
We have some lovely neighbors here. The Shins, Modest Mouse, The Decemberists, The Jicks, The Blow, Blitzen Trapper, Menomena, you can stop us anytime. What you can't stop is the overwhelming awesomeness of Portland's indie-rock scene, of which we consider ourselves an integral part, thank you very much!
Since the summer of fear and hate (2002), we, The Thermals, have been cranking out three-minute, no-fi sonic gems with a neo-grunge attitude. When we're not powering through one of our catchy anthems, we're racking our brains to come up with ridiculous(ly bad) new sub-genres. Hey, we just thought of a new one! Just in time for the release of our new album, Now We Can See. It's totally post-power-pop. We know, we've done the whole "post-" thing before (see our 2006 opus The Body, The Blood, The Machine, a true post-pop-punk classic). We should really be so post-"post-" at this point. But we're not. Do you know why, dear reader? Because adding "post-" to any genre AUTOMATICALLY MAKES YOUR MUSIC SOUND SMARTER. Actually, adding "post-" to ANY WORD OR PHRASE immediately makes you "over" it, and therefore better than it. Go ahead, try it! Don't forget to thank us when yr ass is post-broke.
But, uh, yeah, our new record. Sorry, we got distracted. We're sitting on our porch writing this, and sixty naked bicyclists just rode by. Portland! We love this fuckin' place.
Like we said, our new record is called Now We Can See. We think it's pretty good! Pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty good. Not only are the songs filled with some of our smartest lyrics and sweetest melodies, but the recording is, for us, another great leap in fidelity (you might even call it hi-fidelity), thanks to producer John Congleton (Explosions In The Sky, Polyphonic Spree), who brought massive amounts of sound and bombastic style to the project.
So much else is new and wonderful for us! We have a new record label, Kill Rock Stars. Not only has Kill Rock Stars released some of Portland's (and the Northwest's) best punk and indie records to date (Elliott Smith, Sleater-Kinney, The Gossip), but the label has recently relocated to Portland, and is quickly filling it's roster with even more great Portland bands (Shaky Hands, Panther, Horse Feathers). The Thermals are thrilled to now be a part of this family as well. We were thrilled to be part of the Sub Pop family for six years, but we felt it was time to move on.
We have a new drummer as well. Westin Glass, formerly of Seattle's Say Hi, joins us (Kathy Foster and Hutch Harris) to complete the third (or so) live line-up of The Thermals. In addition to (again!) touring the UK with The Cribs this February, and playing multiple shows at SXSW in March, we will be touring the U.S. for two months, following the release of Now We Can See on April 7th. We'll be doing festivals in Europe and the U.S. all summer long, followed by a full European tour in the fall.
Whew! We're exhausted already. It's probably time to hit the vaporizer again, then head out for Voodoo Doughnuts and Stumptown Coffee. We gotta get down to Lincoln High, Gus Van Sant is casting 16-25 year olds for his next picture. We can pull off 25, right? Sure!
But only in Portland.
April 7, 2009