October 7, 2010

Hot in Here: The Thermals Hit Castaways

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“We were born to sin.” High quality words from any group of people, but perhaps they pack a little more punch when being shouted onstage from an independant rock band. This Sunday, Portland’s own The Thermals will take the stage at Castaways in the latest Dan Smalls Presents show to feature an indie rock megaforce.

The above lyrics are from the band’s 2006 single “A Pillar of Salt,” which attacked mainstream establishment and religious zealots alike. The band is at their core a punk band, rebellious and loud. But they distinguish themselves from their peers through sheer listenablitiy, producing a unique brand of pop-punk. Indie royalty such as Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie (reppin’ the pop) and Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty (reppin’ the punk) have produced the band’s albums. Band members also hail from a storied Portland scene that blended folk, pop and punk influences.

The band is riding high off of the release of their fifth album last month, Personal Life, their most polished and pop driven record to date. It is definitely catchy, but lacks some of the immediacy and energy of the band’s previous albums, particularly their career high point thus far, 2006’s The Body, The Blood, The Machine, a concept album set in a dystopian American future in which religious tyranny reigns supreme. That album is chock full of good ol’ fashioned Bible stories set to driving, pounding drum parts, dynamic bass lines and vocals that will sound like the devil’s sneer. In a good way.

The band will be joined by New York natives Cymbals Eat Guitars. Although they only have one album under their belts, Why There Are Mountains, it’s a monster, earning considerable critical acclaim that includes a Pitchfork “Best New Music.” The hype is almost as big as their sound. Their live show is reportedly a sight to behold as well, with one piece of advice: Bring a towel. Apparently when frontman Joseph D’Agostino gets in to a song, the whole audience knows it.

Original Author: Peter Jacobs