The Thermals Are Huge Fans of The Thermals
Not every band can say they fled the merciless grip of a natural disaster while tracking the songs for their next record, but that's exactly what happened to The Thermals while they were in the studio with Desperate Ground.
While recording their forthcoming release (and their first in three years) in Hoboken last October, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Jersey Shore just before their final sessions, forcing the band and their producer, John Agnello, to board up the studio and head for higher ground the night before the storm. "It was insane for us, because the lyrics are about death and destruction and burning and flooding, and just, like, cities crumbling, so it was crazy!" recalls singer/guitarist Hutch Harris. "We listened to the howl of the wind while we were mixing on the last song there, and it was exactly what was going on around us. The coincidence was too crazy."
See also: Thermal Insulation
Desperate Ground may call upon some brutal imagery while invoking the emotional bloodbaths that erupt in between discovering love and confronting loss, but this tempest of a record is a revelatory one for The Thermals in that it hits a handful of milestones for the Portlandian lo-fi rock trio. To start, the tenth anniversary of More Parts per Million, their debut record, was this past Monday, and Sub Pop is re-releasing their first three records on limited edition vinyl to mark the occasion. Meanwhile, Desperate Ground is The Thermals' first album with Saddle Creek, the Omaha-based label that's been a home to Bright Eyes, Cursive and Tokyo Police Club. It's also the first time they've had the chance to work with Agnello, who they've long admired since his work with Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth in the '90s. For Harris, Agnello was the perfect production foil for exploring their distorted, imperfect tendencies in a high fidelity format.