Saturday, March 2, 2024 
--archival-captured-cinematronic-continuity error-daily report-datastream-depth of field--
--drama-44.1 khz-gramophone-inquisitive-needle drops-picture book-twinklepop--
Neumu = Art + Music + Words
Search Neumu:  

44.1kHz = music reviews

edited by michael goldbergcontact

Editor's note: We have activated the Neumu 44.1 kHz Archive. Use the link at the bottom of this list to access hundreds of Neumu reviews.

+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive

peruse archival
The Thermals
More Parts Per Million
Sub Pop

About 22 — nah, make that 23 — people hid in the shadows of the nightclub that sluggish Sunday evening. They may as well have not been there; I kept forgetting they were. Were these semi-invisible attendees there to see The Pattern? Or maybe they were just doing what they do every Sunday night: hanging out, quieting their weekend hangovers in the reclusive corners of Berbati's nightclub, careless and clueless about who would take the stage. Let's just say it was dead, but I was there anyway, to see The Pattern. But what I remember most is The Thermals.

I don't go to a lot of shows. I don't have a lot of friends and I don't hang out in any kind of scene. For me, it's easier to stay at home and listen to music. I tell a lot of bands I interview that I will definitely be at their show. I doubt they notice that most of the time I'm not. But lately I've been pressing myself to experience live sets — you never know what you're going to stumble upon. I found the Von Bondies when I went to see the White Stripes, The Sights when I went to see Hot Hot Heat, and so on and so forth.

I sat at a small circular table to the left of the typically and claustrophobically full area in front of the stage. Many empty tables surrounded me. I had never been lucky enough to get one table at Berbati's; now I had more than a dozen. I was so taken by the unusual chilling bleakness, I didn't even notice The Thermals take the stage, until, of course, I heard their music.

I have to admit my first reaction — they're so cute, way beyond physical characteristics. I just wanted to grab them all and squeeze them, jump up and down with them. I wanted to feel the exuberant youthfulness and supposed innocence rising from their frail, pumping bodies. I wanted to ball up their enormous energy (can't imagine what they'd be like with an audience) and take it home, because I knew it would last me months. They jolted and bounced and shook and sweated and loved, loved, loved the music.

I love, love, love this band. I would squeeze them until they're squished. Their music crushes me for one simple reason: singer/guitarist Hutch Harris writes the best songs. And I have a feeling they just fall out of him like the rain that falls on his hometown of Portland — which does not mean his songs succumb to the grimness of long winters and seasonal disorders. They are bright, fast, crunching, melodic and moving sing-along songs recorded with little money. They are pop and punk and rock and indie and a combination of all these things, but, more than all of the above, they are Harris' personal songs and they are incredible.

The Thermals — Harris, bassist Kathy Foster, guitarist Ben Barnett and drummer Jordan Hudson — signed to Sub Pop after four months in existence, releasing their debut album March 4. This isn't the first band experience for Thermals members — Harris and Kathy are also known as Portland's lo-fi folkish duo Hutch & Kathy, and Barnett as Kind of Like Spitting — but it's got to be their best. The way the crunching guitars are wrapped in distortion, the way the hollowed-out garage beats knock your insides, and the way Harris' singing sounds like none other, bringing so much emotion and desperation to the echoing, lo-fi instrumentation — it all feels so right, so touching. But not in a sappy way. There is so, so much music out there, and so very little of it is touching. Whatever ingredient it takes to touch the listener (and don't ask me, 'cause I don't know), The Thermals have got it.

Of course the songs aren't complete without the right words. Harris writes the kind of lyrics that are so powerful and feel so simple you wish you would've thought of them first. Snowballing so perfectly together, the words feel made for each other, burning with emotion, passion, angst and wittiness. On the pummeling "Overgrown, Overblown!," Harris pleads, screams, strains and sings: "Nod if you're near/ If you can hear me/ Signal if you feel it, you're feeling it/ I see the fire and it's faceless/ I hope you came here to embrace/ And not escape it/ Tell me if this hurts/ If you've heard this/ Tell me if it hurts/ Is it worth it/ We can go to hell/ If you can teach me/ I finally found my voice/ And I'm speechless."

"No Culture Icons" illuminates a hole, something missing. Maybe it's art, maybe it's culture, maybe it's love — it's a disillusioned emptiness yearning for fulfillment. "Hardly art/ Hardly starving," Harris sneers. "Hardly art/ Hardly garbage/ ...No new deafness/ No self-reference/ No one ideal/ No what I feel/ No getting psyched on/ No culture icon/ ...I can't stop thinking about you."

And when Harris sings, fired up and full of passion, "It's been so long I forgot how to say it/ It's been so long I forgot I was waiting/ ...Where have you been?" on the fuzzy, stormy "Goddamn the Lights," you know exactly what he's talking about. You've been there, but never knew how to put it into words — you feel like someone's done it for you, validating your frustration and pain perfectly. And Harris does it again on minimal, dark, acquiescent "Time to Lose." He wails in a hate-to-admit-it tone: "I think we've reached our limits/ I think we're getting finished/ ...Know it's not the same/ Know it's entertaining/ I know I'm unaware/ But I just can't bear to leave."

The softest song on the album, "Back to Gray" — the one I'd like to squeeze to pieces the most for its frail, adorable, pretty feel — is sad, light and bouncing without being slow (none of the tracks on the record are). "Hail Mary/ Heaven wailing/ Let a blanket/ Cover everything/ ...Mother don't let us die before the springtime/ I don't need any love/ Because I've got the elements," he sings, with pain in his voice. He ends the song with my favorite line on the album, one that any living being can probably relate to: "If you do not mind I will stay/ If you decline I will find a way."

Find a way to get this album. The Thermals are more than a mere discovery at the lazy end of the weekend. Nobody likes being called cute, especially not people in rock bands. But they're so damn cute — in a different kind of way. In a way where you're immediately enamored and sucked in — you just want to grab them in all their bursting energy and fervent passion, and squish them to pieces, just as their amazing songs will do to you.

by Jenny Tatone

-snippetcontactsnippetcontributorssnippetvisionsnippethelpsnippetcopyrightsnippetlegalsnippetterms of usesnippetThis site is Copyright © 2003 Insider One LLC