The Thermals are a Portland, Oregon-based indie rock group, formed in 2002. All three members were previously known for their work in other Portland bands. Hutch Harris, from Hutch & Kathy, sings and plays guitar. He also wrote the band's songs, in the spring of 2002. Kathy Foster is the bassist, also from Hutch & Kathy and the All Girl Summer Fun Band. The third member is drummer Jordan Hudson, who comes from Opera Cycle.

By the fall of 2002, the band members had played several shows together, and in October, they signed a three-record contract with Sub Pop Records, the well-known Seattle indie/alternative label. Rumor has it that Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard was an early fan of theirs and got them in touch with Sub Pop. Their first recordings were made by Harris on four-track tape in his own home, which was then mixed by Chris Walla, also of Death Cab for Cutie. The first single, No Culture Icons, was released in January 2003, followed by More Parts Per Million, a full-length album, in March.

The Thermals' songs are all short and to the point, with punk-like urgency, and with some catchy melodies, especially in No Culture Icons. The album is quick and intense, making it through thirteen songs in half an hour, with lots of energy and clever lyrics. The DIY recording is very lo-fi, which, combined with the two minute length of most songs, contributes to the sense of urgency, as if there's something so pressing about their songs that there was no time to do anything else because you have to hear them now. All in all, it's a strong debut, showing potential to do even more with their musical style on their next two contractually-obligated recordings.

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