Episode 173: Hutch Harris (of The Thermals)
Change isn’t always easy when you’re a punk rock band — particularly one with a sound beloved and well-defined as The Thermals. After a pair of well-received LPs that cemented the Portland band’s place as one a low-fi, distortion-laden indie power-pop trio, the group released its masterpiece, The Body, the Blood, the Machine. Produced by Fugazi’s Brendan Canty, the album was a dystopian concept record of sorts, that channeled Bush-era anger into the tale of a young couple forced to flee an authoritarian government. In 2010, the band offered up Personal Life, a far more somber and deliberate album that went a ways toward polarizing the band’s fanbase. This year’s We Disappear marks a return to form for the band after the somewhat disappointing performance of 2013’s Desperate Ground, both building upon the simple punk rock the band does best, while incorporating lessons learned from their more emotionally complex outings. It’s alternately anthemic and somber, a reflection on maturing while hanging on to one’s pop-punk roots.
Lead singer Hutch Harris sat down ahead of the band’s fiery Bowery Ballroom performance to reflect on the ups and downs of the band’s illustrious career.