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The Thermals - Fuckin A (Cover Artwork)

The Thermals

The Thermals: Fuckin AFuckin A (2004)
Sub Pop Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: maverickScott
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Dear Sub Pop, You're blowing it. You seem to have forgotten what your record label was all about. Throughout the past few years, I've seen you become inundated with side project after side project on your release schedule, intermingled with the bland singer-songwriter efforts and random comedy .
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Dear Sub Pop,

You're blowing it. You seem to have forgotten what your record label was all about. Throughout the past few years, I've seen you become inundated with side project after side project on your release schedule, intermingled with the bland singer-songwriter efforts and random comedy albums for hipper-than-thous. It's depressing to think you once helped define modern indie rock music. Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Reverend Horton Heat, Seaweed - while these bands might not sonically sound the same, they all had one thing: balls. Big brass ones. Why have you forsaken the rock, Sub Pop?

Consider this letter an intervention. Today, you have released the second full-length from Portland trio The Thermals, called Fuckin A. You haven't advertised it at all. Hell, you haven't even posted an MP3 from it on your website for download. You. Are. Blowing. It. This record is the freshest thing to have your name stamped on it in quite some time.

Since it seems like no one who works at your label has actually listened to it, I'll give you the lowdown: The Thermals pack 12 high-energy, low-fi garage rock songs into a little under 28 minutes. The term "power trio" could never be more perfect than right now. These songs burst at the seams with frantic guitar strumming, fluid basslines, and drumming that is as simplistic as it is spastic. Songs bleed into each other [see "Odd Trip" and "Every Stitch"] carrying over tempos, reminding me of stories I would hear about the Ramones playing at CBGB's - the pause between songs is just fast enough to count off the next one.

The Thermals channel as much energy from 70s punk icons as they do from Bob Dylan. Singer Hutch Harris spits out vulgarities as if they were second nature, yet still is able to tell a solid story, as evidenced in "Top Of The Earth" or "God and Country." These songs would be just as powerful stripped down to an acoustic guitar and a barstool.

Sub Pop, I urge you to re-consider your recent path you've been walking down. For a time, you were the only label who still flew the flag of rock and roll proudly. You can still be that label once more. The Thermals want to wave that flag; help them. Do it for the children.

Love,
Scott Punknews

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (May 23, 2006)

if that MP3 is indicative of the quality of the rest of this album.....

Anonymous (July 19, 2004)

This album kicks. I want to see this band live. Good review Scott.

CallingLondon (July 17, 2004)

this album. is. incredible.
i saw them today at the coney island siren festival, and they put on a very solid show. every instrument was turned up all the way, they were loud, and fast, yet you could hear everything going on. the songs were great, so I went straight to the tent and bought this album. i'm very happy i did. best straight up punk band i've heard in so long.

Imposs1ble (July 13, 2004)

First of all Mitch Hedberg is the king.
Second of all, Dave Attell is the funniest man alive.
Third, Lewis Black is one funny dude.
Fourth, but most importantly, David Cross is not funny in any way shape or form. He even tried to ruin Eternal Sunshine. That's just not funny.

Anonymous (May 23, 2004)

here's the real deal aight. Both albums are quality listening, and mitch hedberg kicks david cross and lewis black out to sea, period.

Anonymous (May 23, 2004)

score is for thermals. as in the clothing item.

JimmyArndt (May 22, 2004)

Their first album was overrated. This one blows that one out of the water.

-Scott

honestly dude. they made the same album twice. they're both good, but to say this one was any better than the first? ridiculous. every song by the thermals is very catchy and great to listen to. but saying this record is so much better than more parts per million? it sounds exactly the same, their sound didn't change one bit. to reiterate: IT'S THE SAME RECORD.

still good though. something a little different would've been nice but i wasn't expecting anything other than this.

Anonymous (May 21, 2004)

jeez...wow, THIS hasn't been done before (cough cough)

Anonymous (May 21, 2004)

this album is great. but by saying the first was overrated and not nearly as good as this one just shows, ONCE AGAIN, how big a wetdick you are.

mrwaffles (May 20, 2004)

Lewis Black > David Cross? I think not.

1234go (May 19, 2004)

Scott = David Cross has been popular doing comedy/TV/Movies etc for years. Just because you see "hipsters" (which by the way hipster is a really broad and shallow term)embracing him now can't really be any sort of knock against him. The value of a persons work isn't determined by a small number of the people who appreciate it. Also just look at the guy...if his appearence and personality don't scream hipster repellent I don't know what does. He dresses like a 12 year old dying of cancer. Also yeah big shit sub-pop had a crazy run right there at the start. Seattle was loaded to the tits with what would become some of the most influencial for better or worse bands in a decade...the city isn't like that anymore. And I'd say that the last 5 years have been the best they've had since that explosion. They're not all winners by a long shot but there's still some amazing records. I really like that this is a Thermals review and my only comments have been about anything but them haha. I really really really liked that first record and I'm looking forward to this new one. I miss working at a record store 3 blocks from the sub pop office. My rep would have walked me over a vinyl copy a long time ago. Man I miss deaner.

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

i was about to say the same thing. maybe scott should do a little research before commenting. i guess pitchfork's boner for cross is about as big as the one they have for a wilhelm scream (wait, i'm thinking of another site.......)

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

pitchfork has a huge boner for david cross by giving his latest a 6.5? (i expect a response saying that a 6.5 from pitchfork is like a 10 from anyplace else)

maverick (May 19, 2004)

Their first album was overrated. This one blows that one out of the water.

-Scott

Eddie (May 19, 2004)

that MP3 you guys posted a while back kicks fucking ass.

jheisel (May 19, 2004)

You remember how you were telling me last summer how overrate this band was? Remember how wrong you were?

Anonymous (May 19, 2004)

Best album review I've read in a while, I totally agree.

p.s. the new david cross is weak, lewis black is way funnier...doing 2 cd's in a row where you talk about 9/11 and stupid consumer products shows that you are a chump and you are trying to drag in a few more bucks while you still have 2 min. left out of the 15.

maverick (May 19, 2004)

1234go:

I personally think David Cross is hilarious, but you can't deny that he's been embraced to a ridiculous extent by the hipster crowd. Pitchfork has a huge boner for the guy.

And as for the modern state of Sub Pop, I judge my opinion on what they've been putting out lately, and what they've been putting out lately [or plan on releasing in the coming months] is a bunch of side projects [Postal Service, All Night Radio, The Elected, Helio Sequence], and a bunch of mostly acoustic singer-songwriter stuff [Iron and Wine, Rosie Thomas, Album Leaf, Fruit Bats].

That's not to say there haven't been good things on the label recently [Hot Hot Heat, Constantines, Shins], but Sub Pop as a whole isn't nearly as strong as it once was.

-Scott

greg0rb (May 18, 2004)

Gotta give subpop some credit for getting Hot Hot Heat out there. They kick major ass, and I know scott will agree. They dont have them anymore... by the way, when is their album coming out and on what label?
-Greg

StabbingGoldfish (May 18, 2004)

david cross is hilarious, and is definatly not related to anything 'hipper than thou' not like he or any of his fans would care what anyone thought of him...ask scott stapp.

1234go (May 18, 2004)

I think it's funny that David Cross is considered for "Hipper Than Thou's". You don't know shit about him or the modern state of Sub-Pop.

maverick (May 18, 2004)

ADDENDUM:

When I checked Sub Pop's website before publishing this review earlier today, there was no MP3 posted. Upon looking now, there has finally been a track posted by the label, which I've linked above.

I'd like to think I had something to do with this.

-Scott

Icapped2pac (May 18, 2004)

Garage rock is the new emo.

And David Cross fucking rules, especially as Happy Time Harry. Gotta love those action bills.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

Sub Pop has gone downhill fast...I've been trying to contact their retail rep for over 3 months.

kirbypuckett (May 18, 2004)

These type of reviews are why I love you Scott.

- Kirby

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

"random comedy albums for hipper-than-thous"

i guess by "random", you mean two david cross albums released two years apart. i happen to own both albums, and yet don't consider myself a hipster or "holier-than thou", but rather a comedy fan. i'd also like to point out that despite the fact that cross isn't a musical act, he still has more balls than all the thermals, shins, and iron and wines combined. with the exception of mr cross, sub pop died with the murder city devils.

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

Yeah... what's up with Sub Pop? And why did Dr. Strange stop doing anything but rehash crusty old UK punk?

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

Lo-fi?!

Anonymous (May 18, 2004)

They have a bunch of samples in itunes

travis (May 18, 2004)

yah, i really still dont see it scott. this album is no good.

inagreendase (May 18, 2004)

You may as well have included a post-script in that letter asking Sub-Pop if you could play the whole thing on the show tonight. It's not like you won't have enough time.

TahoeJeff (May 18, 2004)

damn..I really want to hear an mp3

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