Feature photos by quiquelopez

There is something that is just so quintessentially “summer” about singing along to poppy-punk songs at an outdoor concert. Sure, catching a ball game at Wrigley or The Cell is summery, and sweating it out at The Taste is specific to this time of year, but on Monday, July 5th, The Thermals officially bring summer to Chicago, or more specifically the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Not convinced? Try listening to “Now We Can See” without picturing yourself clapping along in your Wayfarers.

Beyond their low-fi pogo-friendly percussion and fuzzy three-chord melodies, there is substance and intelligence to their lyrics, which is unlike the pop-punk that usually makes it mainstream. (Sorry Blink 182.) And like any good punkers, The Thermals keep a balance in their lyrics between spreading the word of society’s wrongs and having some fun.

Album after album, they’ve continued to bring the knowledge and the noise, from their very lo-fi 2003 debut album More Parts Per Million to 2006’s The Body, The Blood, The Machine, a concept album telling the story of a couple escaping a facist Christian United States. Last year they released another album with an underlying theme (but not a concept album, they say) called Now We Can See, with lyrics that took a look at life as you might see it after you died. Again, not quite the masturbatory lyrics of Blink 182 or the boo-hoo breakup lyrics of Fall Out Boy.

On September 7th, they’ll be releasing their latest album, Personal Life, but it’s yet to be known what topic they’ll tackle this time. They did give fans a sneak peek this week as to what the new album will sound like with the release of the first single “I Don’t Believe You“. It will be interesting to see if they preview a few more songs from the new album when they visit Millennium Park next week.

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