If there were any natural selection in punk rock, the Thermals would have emerged victorious long ago. Their trio of albums on Sub Pop were the real thing: shrewd incidents of frayed edges and distilled fury, hooks twining brashly with singer Hutch Harris's nasal poetry about politics, technology, and, yes, Darwinism. Their especially ambitious third offering, The Body, the Blood, the Machine (2006), was a cutting concept album about Christianity that (miracle!) neither preached nor pandered, and the Portlanders' fourth album, Now We Can See (out April 7 on Kill Rock Stars), continues the trend with bittersweet musings on evolution and modernity. And you can dance to it. Catch the live wires before their album release and official tourand call it progress.
Sat., Feb. 14, 7:30 & 10 p.m., 2009