The Thermals 6-Pack & AIRheads Updates!

Long time no see, everyone! Kamotch here bringing you another one of my classic 6-packs. This time it’s none other than Portland-based indie rockers, The Thermals! A self-described “post-pop-punk” band, they released seven full-length albums between 2002 to 2018 before ultimately calling it quits. You know I like to curate my packs in a way that is representative of the band’s full career, so naturally six different albums are represented. 

The Thermals are a band that hold a lot of meaning for me personally. They were the first truly indie band I ever became a fan of. I had dabbled in alternative and/or niche bands like They Might Be Giants in middle school, but it wasn’t until my brother showed me a clip of The Thermals performing on Last Call with Carson Daly that I had my first exposure to this type of raw, noisy, radio-unfriendly sound that came to greatly influence my music taste as a whole. 

I’m very excited to finally get this one out. A version of this pack has actually been in the works for years now. Unfortunately something happened behind the scenes that initially discouraged me from completing it sooner. However, another somewhat similar thing happened recently that conversely inspired me to hunker down and get something released. I’ve included a nice mix of songs I would consider the “right picks” as well as a couple “heart picks”. So let’s take a look.

No Culture Icons

Definitely the most recognizable song of theirs that hasn’t been released yet. Their first album, More Parts per Million, definitely has the most unpolished, lo-fi sound. The song is also pretty dang simple. Just a few chords with a fairly simple rhythm section. The vocals are a good representation of the kind of talk-singing that was a staple of their earlier sound. Very catchy!

Let Your Earth Quake, Baby

Now this here is a heart pick. This has always been one of my favorites of theirs, paired with the fact that it’s overall one of the more musically complex songs in their catalog. There were a few songs from their sophomore album, Fuckin A, that might be more recognizable in general, but let’s face it, unless you’re already familiar with the band, that won’t matter. And honestly, I think this one is more likely to get someone’s attention than those others anyway. Super fun on drums and bass especially.

Power Doesn’t Run on Nothing

With the main singles from this album, The Body, The Blood, The Machine, already having been released in the database, I was forced to make another heart pick with this one. But I’ll gladly put this out there! To this day, I feel like this is perhaps their magnum opus. Rarely do their songs even breach four minutes, let alone five. The last verse of the song leading into the first guitar interlude may just be my favorite moment of their career.

Never Listen to Me

This album, Personal Life, was somewhat controversial for fans when it came out due to them taking an overall mellower tone. I remember hating it on my first listen, but boy have things changed since then. Now it’s probably my favorite album of the latter-half of their career. Despite the different tone, the music is incredibly catchy. Also the guitar riffs, while not super complex, make for a fun playing experience as well. Surprisingly, this is their only charting single, reaching 84 in UK Sales.

Born to Kill

Desperate Ground was their direct response to the sort-of backlash of the previous album. A return to form for their sound. Just short punchy jams with heavily distorted guitars. Oddly though, instead of returning to the politically-charged lyricism of their first 3 albums, this one opted for a DragonForce-inspired fantasy theme. I wouldn’t say this is my favorite on the album, but it was the lead single. The bassline was enough to justify its inclusion.

My Heart Went Cold

 The title of their last album, We Disappear, ended up being an accurate declaration, because they would disband a couple years later. While I doubt it’s anyone’s favorite album of theirs, I do think this song in particular is very emblematic of their later sound established in their fourth album Now We Can See. Nice and polished. Crowd vocals during the chorus. Pretty dang catchy. I wouldn’t say they ended on a high note, because their earlier career is infinitely more interesting to me, but I can’t deny this song is still a standout.

Normally this would be where I give my closing statements and tell you to enjoy the pack, but I have even more news!. If you paid attention during Chart-a-thon at the end of last year, you’d know that I’m part of a newly-formed charting group called AIRheads. I just want to give a couple updates on what’s happened with the group since the start of the new year. 

First, in addition to the seven founding members of the group – myself, Yaniv, jphn, Bat Ramps, BornGamerRob, EdTanguy, and The Oreo UngratefulDead has joined us as a new member. We looked at his personal releases during Chart-a-thon and realized there was plenty of overlap with our interests when it came to bands and genres. Plus he had previously collaborated with at least a couple members before, and they vouched for his character. So welcome aboard, UngratefulDead!

Second, we’ve created a spreadsheet to help plan future group projects. It’ll be a while before our next huge release like during Chart-a-thon, but we’ve got plenty of smaller-scale projects in the pipeline. That kind of release will probably be reserved for the end of the year. That’s not to say there’s not gonna be the occasional bigger release in the meantime, but they’ll mostly be single-artist packs. There’s one band in particular in the early stages of planning that’s gained no modest amount of attention, enough to warrant working with some outside collaborators. So look forward to that sometime in the coming months.

One of the best parts so far of being in the group is how quickly a collaboration can form. For example, The Oreo put out in the Discord that he was working on some Stereophonics songs, and BornGamerRob was able to jump on that. Less than a week later, they had a 3-pack ready for release! In case you missed it earlier last week:

That’s it in the way of news for AIRheads. As for my next move, I’m involved in a couple collaborations that I’m going to prioritize now that this pack is out. But hopefully, I’ll be able to put out another personal 6-pack fairly soon. I’ve already got a pretty good idea of who my next one will be! Anyway, to those who actually read through this, thanks and enjoy the pack!

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One Comment

  1. Love the work this collective does, especially as your roster has grown to include like all my favorite charters. Always thankful for the work that you do! (I know that sounds cheesy given that these are rock band customs we’re talking about, but I really mean it!)

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