I got the press release that the Thermals signed to Kill Rock Stars just as I got home from the office. I think it’s great that they were able to stay on a classic Northwest label, but it seemed more strange that they wouldn’t re-up with Sub Pop.
Coincidentally, Swedes Loney, Dear — a band signed in the post-“Young Folks” hysteria — recently departed Sub Pop as well. Not to get too pulpy, but is there more to this than meets the eye? Loney, Dear were poorly reviewed and their Sub Pop debut, Loney, Noir, was a stinker. But the Thermals seemed to be the sort of act that Beggars Group would’ve poached in a heartbeat just a few years ago.
I’ll stop beating around the bush: I’m shocked that a band like the Thermals would end up on such a tiny label at this point in their development. I know the music industry is bad, but labels like XL are still signing bands and reissuing albums a year after everyone in the blogosphere downloaded them. But that’s just business.
Think of it another way: if Deerhoof — a band that critics once showered with praise — doesn’t generate heat a month after dropping their new album, Offend Maggie (7.6, no less), can they work a band that may have outlived its hype cycle? At this point in history, it doesn’t even seem to matter if a band is hitting its stride. Everything is yesterday’s papers the moment it leaks.
Don’t believe me? Read this pullquote in the Pitchfork news piece from this afternoon and tell me it didn’t make you wince.