Monthly Archives: December 2008

Thermals Say Howdy (Again!)


New album en route + a
very special personal message.


By Blurt Staff



cutest band the Thermals want to reintroduce themselves to you. Not that they
need reintroducing; 2006’s The Body, The Blood, The Machine set the blogosphere and crit-o-sphere afire
just fine. But they also are prepping their new album, titled Now We Can See and due April 7 from Kill Rock Stars. Full tracklisting below.



Prior to that
they’ll be hitting the road, including a high-profile stop in Austin in March for SXSW. Be there or be



Now We Can See Track Listing:

1.) “When I Died”

2.) “We Were Sick”

3.) “I Let It Go”

4). “Now We Can See”

5.) “At the Bottom of the Sea”

6.) “When We Were Alive”

7.) “I Called Out Your Name”

8.) “When I Was Afraid”

9.) “Liquid In, Liquid Out”

10.) “How We Fade”

11.) “You Dissolve”



And now, a message from the Thermals….





Hi, we’re The
Thermals.  We’re a three-piece
alternative/indie/punk band.  We live in Portland, Oregon.  You know, the place all your friends are
moving.  So they can paint/record/do gravity bong hits, when they’re not
slinging lattes at one of a thousand or so coffee shops.


We have some lovely neighbors here.  The Shins, Modest Mouse, The Decemberists,
The Jicks, The Blow, Blitzen Trapper, Menomena, you can stop us anytime.  What you can’t stop is the overwhelming
awesomeness of Portland’s
indie-rock scene, of which we
consider ourselves an integral part, thank you very much!


Since the summer of fear and hate (2002), we, The
Thermals, have been cranking out three-minute, no-fi sonic gems with a neo-grunge
attitude.  When we’re not powering
through one of our catchy anthems, we’re racking our brains to come up with
ridiculous(ly bad) new sub-genres.  Hey,
we just thought of a new one!  Just in
time for the release of our new album, Now We Can See.  It’s totally post-power-pop.  We know,
we’ve done the whole “post-” thing before (see our 2006 opus The
Body, The Blood, The Machine
, a true post-pop-punk classic).  We should really be so post-“post-”
at this point.  But we’re not.  Do you know why, dear reader?  Because adding “post-” to any genre
Actually, adding “post-” to ANY WORD OR PHRASE immediately
makes you “over” it, and therefore better than it.  Go ahead, try it!  Don’t forget to thank us when yr ass is post-broke.


But, uh, yeah, our new record.  Sorry, we got distracted.  We’re sitting on our porch writing this, and
sixty naked bicyclists just rode
by.  Portland! 
We love this fuckin’ place.


Like we said, our new
record is called Now We Can See
We think it’s pretty good! 
Pret-ty, pret-ty, pret-ty good. 
Not only are the songs filled with some of our smartest lyrics and
sweetest melodies, but the recording is, for us,  another great leap in fidelity (you might
even called it hi-fidelity), thanks to producer John Congleton (Explosions In
The Sky, Polyphonic Spree), who brought massive
amounts of sound and bombastic
style to the project.


So much else is new and wonderful for us!  We have a new record label, Kill Rock Stars.  Not only has Kill Rock Stars released some of
Portland’s (and the Northwest’s) best punk and indie records to date (Elliott
Smith, Sleater-Kinney, The Gossip), but the label has recently relocated to
Portland, and is quickly filling it’s roster with even more great Portland
bands (Shaky Hands, Panther, Horse Feathers). 
The Thermals are thrilled to now be a part of this family as well.  We were thrilled to be part of the Sub Pop family for six years, but we
felt it was time to move on.  We turned
down a second contract from Sub Pop, lest you think we were dropped!  You don’t drop us, we drop you. Not you,
personally.  We love you!  Seriously, you’re the best.


We have a new drummer as well.  Westin
Glass, formerly of Seattle’s
Say Hi, joins us (Kathy Foster
and Hutch Harris) to complete
the third (or so) live line-up of The Thermals. 
In addition to (again!) touring the UK
with The Cribs this February, and playing multiple shows at SXSW in March, we
will be touring the U.S.
for two months, following the release of Now We Can See on April
7th.  We’ll be doing festivals in Europe and the U.S.
all summer long, followed by a full European tour in the fall.


Whew!  We’re
exhausted already.  It’s probably time to
hit the vaporizer again, then
head out for Voodoo Doughnuts and Stumptown Coffee.  We gotta get down to Lincoln High, Gus Van
Sant is casting 16-25 year olds
for his next picture.  We can pull off
25, right?  Sure!


But only in Portland.


The Thermals






Compiled by Blurt Staff


206 digital, satellite and hi-def channels and nothin’ on?
Not likely. Here are BLURT’s top music television picks of the day. The time is
followed by the network/cable/satellite channel, then the name of the program
and/or featured artist(s). All times are EST.








Monday December 29:



1:00 Rave HD: Depeche Mode Live in Milan


3:30 VH1 Classic: Neil Young Hert of Gold


4:00 Rave HD: Beautiful Noise – Ben Kweller


4:30 Sundance: New
York Doll


8:00 Rave HD: David Gilmore – Live at Royal Albert Hall


10:00 Rave HD: Beautiful Noise: British Sea Power


11:30 CBS David Letterman: Harry Connick Jr.


12:00 Sundance: Spectacle: Elvis Costello & James Taylor


12:05 ABC Jimmy Kimmel: Jay Lenon, The Hives


12:30 VH1 Classic: The Temptations


1:35 NBC Carson
Daly: Wyclef Jean




Tuesday December 30:



11:00 Rave HD: Razorlight – Live in Paris


1:30 VH1 Classic: Bruce Springsteen Live In NYC


5:00 Rave HD: Beautiful Noise: Yo La Tengo


5:00 VH1 Classic: Pink Floyd Which One’s Pink?


6:30 VH1 Classic: That Metal Show: Rush


9:00 Rave HD: Soundstage: Foreigner (!)


12:05 ABC: Jimmy Kimmel: Jonas Brothers


1:35 NBC: Carson
Daly: Talib Kweli




Babes To Bitches: “Better Watch Out”


It is really such a
slow news day that we’re reduced to trawling for news items about these bimbos?


By Fred Mills


Yes. To answer your question. Although it might just be a
shameless ploy to get your attention, dear readers. Rest assured we haven’t
lost our minds at BLURT. Not yet.


At any rate, Amelle Berrabah of British pop tarts the
Sugababes was quoted this morning in the press as warning such fellow artists
as Girls Aloud and the Pussycat Dolls, “Bitches better watch out. Next
year we’re coming back stronger.”


Glad we settled that. The comment was accompanied by news
that the femme fatales, stung by crappy sales for their most recent album Catfights and Spotlights, will be taking
“a long while to write the next album.” Apparently C&S only took a few weeks to write and record, and in the wake
of it flopping, the band members determined that haste made waste.


No word on the ephemeral “talent factor” at this stage,
however. What’s that old saying? You can go into the studio and spend a year polishing
a turd and it will still be a turd?






John Lennon Does Charity Laptop Ad



By Blurt Staff




The One Laptop Per Child Foundation, which works with the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology to get inexpensive solar-powered
computers to third world children, has announced that Yoko Ono gave them
permission to use John Lennon’s likeness and voice in an advertisement. (See
the clip, via YouTube, below.)


Via an intriguing bit of technological sleight-of-hand,
Lennon says in the ad, “Imagine every child no matter where in the world
they were could access a universe of knowledge. They would have a chance to
learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want. I tried to do it through my
music, but now you can do it in a very different way.”


Reportedly cable TV companies will also be donating air time
for the 30-second ad.


In Short: The Year in Review

Before we get to the list, a little self-indulgent get-to-know-me holiday montage…. Full disclosure, last year I actually set my parents house on fire Christmas Eve. No one was injured. The Harrington’s ham was saved. We had to do a lot of cleaning though… damn, oven smoke is insipid. This year, however, although we did set off some smoke alarms, it was all for a good cause []

A Triple-A radio programming veteran, Kate has served as Music Director of the Loft at XM, Midday Host at WYEP, Evening Host at both WNCS and WUIN, as well as Content Supervisor for Pump Audio. Currently, she’s the CEO of Outlandos Music, a new-music discovery service for grown-ups. Kate has been nationally recognized for her ardent presentati on of music and her ability to champion talented, compelling artists.

Ana Egge w/New CD, Tour



All-originals followup to all-covers album.


By Blurt Staff


Due Feb. 17 is Road to My Love from Brooklyn
songbird Ana Egge. In 2007 Egge released the critically acclaimed concept
record Lazy Days, a covers album
celebrating the all-but-forgotten virtues of laziness in our work-obsessed and
over-stimulated culture. Inhabiting songs by luminaries as diverse as Stephen
Stills, Ray Davies, and Sandy Denny, stretched Ana in new directions, and
inspired her to visit previously uninvestigated places in her vast musical
range. While on her Lazy Days tour,
Ana found herself creating the most provocative work of her career. “I
think because I wasn’t singing my own songs every night, I felt free to dig



With Road To My Love, Ana delves into her
family history in “Farmer’s Daughter.” Over the lonely call of the
pedal steel, she lets us share in the tender, exposed, and desolate feeling of
being alone on the prairie. She confronts fidelity and trust in “Quitting
Early,” taking a note from Joni Mitchell with a sophisticated,
jazz-inflected take on the precariousness of modern relationships. She shares a
beer with a veteran, just back from the war, who bares his soul in the wistful
“Carey’s Waltz,” and is blindsided by a tempestuous but irresistible
relationship in “Storm Comin’.” The warm harmony vocals of Trish
Klein & Frazey Ford of The Be Good Tanyas on “More Than A Day”
are a perfect match for this ’60’s inspired soul song. Finally, Ana carries it
home to her American roots with a haunting rendition of “Swing Low, Sweet
Chariot” that puts her peerless vocals and virtuosity on the resonator
guitar on full display.



Road To My Love was co-produced by her longtime collaborator, Jason Mercer
and includes many of Ana’s friends and favorite musicians from across North
America, including: Steve Moore (Sufjan Stevens, Laura Viers), Michael Jerome
(Richard Thompson, John Cale), Frazey Ford & Trish Klein of The Be Good
Tanyas, Adam Levy (Norah Jones) and Tony Scherr (Bill Frisell, Feist). “I
couldn’t have asked for a better group of musicians to play with” Ana says
in her low-key, humble way, “It really makes this record stand out from
all my previous work.”






Jan 28 & 29           Dead of Winter Festival   Halifax, NS, Canada

Feb 3                     The
Living Room              NY, NY                  9
Feb 10                   The
Living Room              NY, NY                  9 pm

Feb 16                   Club
Passim                    Cambridge, MA      8 pm

Feb 17                   The
Living Room              NY, NY                  9 pm

Feb 18-21              Folk
Conference Memphis, TN                  

Feb 24                   The
Living Room              NY, NY                  9 pm

Feb 27                   Austin Bergstrom Airport Austin, TX             3:30 pm

Mar 9                    TBA                                 Los Angeles, CA

Mar 10                  Silverlake
Lounge            Los Angeles, CA

Mar 11                  Silverlake
Lounge            Los Angeles, CA

Mar 12                  The
Crepe Place               Santa Cruz, CA




Beasties’ “Boutique” Deluxe Reish


Comes with intriguing
track-by-track commentary, too.


By Fred Mills


The year was 1989, and it was the followup to the mega-hit License To Ill. The Beastie Boys’ sophomore platter Paul’s
was perhaps destined to be a relative failure in the wake of its
predecessor’s over-the-top success, but hardcore hip-hop fans, deejays and
musos alike all knew that the Dust Brothers-produced record was something special
and it’s since attained near-heroic status among Beasties acolytes.


Now comes a remastered edition of the album, complete with
restored artwork – Rolling Stone describes it as “an eco-friendly, eight-panel digipak displaying a panoramic
view of the intersection at Rivington and Ludlow in New York City’s Lower East
Side” – plus a fold-out poster. There won’t be any bonus cuts, but what’s cool
is that purchasers will be able to obtain a free download of a “directors’
commentary”-like audio file that has the three Beasties describing and talking
about individual songs as they play in the background.


A new Beastie Boys album is reportedly due in May



Arcade Fire Offers Free/Unreleased MP3



“Burning Bridges”
track hails from the band’s Neon Bible archives.


By Fred Mills


As part of their ongoing promotion
for their new Miroir Noir film documentary, the Arcade Fire is offering fans a free MP3 download of a
previously unreleased studio track.


“Burning Bridges,” and instrumental, was previewed in
concert way back during the Funeral era,
although at that point it also had lyrics. Intriguingly, the band is billing
the song as being “from the Neon Bible Archives, which would suggest it was never committed to tape first time around.


Go HERE to get the download.



Flight Of Conchords Show Preview Vids!


Where will you be Jan.


By Fred Mills



BLURT faves the Flight of the Conchords will have their
Season 2 debuting on HBO on January 18, but in today’s world of viral
marketing, the term “premiere” seems to be taking a backseat to “get the word
out any way you can.”


To wit: at you can already watch the first half-hour
episode. You can also watch it at (although there’s an
interesting disclaimer that reads thusly: “Sorry guys, the video only works in
the US.
We all want the WHOLE world to be able to watch Flight of the Conchords, but to
be honest, legally we only have rights to stream the video in the US”).


But naturally it’s already been copied and posted over at
YouTube for any and all to view. And you can see it below as well, courtesy
your friendly neighborhood BLURT.


Watch for the scene when the boys crawl out of the “Femident”




The Grays of History

By Martin Bisi

When telling a story about a time in history, what does the teller owe society? Can a small truth about a time in history, contradict the larger, socially progressive, educated truth? What if the story teller wades into the small-scale, inter-personal stories that are the back drop to any moment in time? Can there be a conflict? controversy ? Yes.

Gone With The Wind, the 1939 mega-blockbuster Hollywood movie, romanticized the old South and glossed over the great injustices of that era. One subject of controversy, was the image of a slave crying in sympathy for her masters. The view of history Gone With The Wind projected, is not the one we want to teach our children, or put forth as a society, especially in 1939.

But that does raise a difficult question. With the millions of slaves in the old South, is it not a certainty that some slaves cried for their masters? It’s the tip of a small iceberg. There were likely love affairs, elopements–many kinds of relationships under the radar, that an artist may want to elaborate on.

But what if the artist lived in that era?

Phillis Wheatley was a slave, and poet, living in Boston in the colonial era. She was first published in the 1760’s, at the age of 14. Her masters placed a high premium on education in their home, and having recognized Wheatley’s talent in writing early on, they introduced her to the literary elite of Boston, and helped advance her career. Wheatley barely mentioned slavery, or race in her poems, even after she was freed later in life. And there was a positive tone in her writings, in regards to Boston and the colonies in general. She was later sharply criticized within the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, for presenting a flattering picture of her world.

General opinion on Wheatley has been more forgiving in the last few decades. It reminds me of how some scenes in Schindler’s List (’93) may have been unacceptable 60 years ago – particularly the one where Schindler, still wearing his lapel-pin swastika, even after the fall of the 3rd Reich, suddenly grasps it and collapses in tears, not because of what the symbol may have meant to him, but because he realizes he could have saved one more life, had he sold it. We can accept now that there was a gray area there, and it’s valuable to depict it.

How interesting that in the present, we can accept that most artists are like Phillis Wheatley. Most current artists don’t include the wars and injustices of our time, in their creative expression. And most of us know that a lot happens between the bad headlines, that needs to be expressed. But when the battle is on, for defining an era in history, art is expected to serve the writing of history. History needs to be taught in blacks and whites. One group invaded the other –period–not, some people fell in love, a barbarian hugged a child, things were nice temporarlily in a certain week, and, a woman eyed her reflection in a store window. Why am I suddenly giggling (stop that)?


Martin Bisi is an American producer and songwriter. Visit him at