The Thermals – “Canada”

By Amrit Singh / February 9, 2010 - 4:43 pm

This week the world turns its attention to our northernly neighbor for Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics. Not everyone’s enthused. While the Thermals’ one-off ode to Canada has no direct relation or reference to the world’s most celebrated international pissing contest, that pissing contest is having its Opening Ceremonies in three days, and as if on cue, here is a power-pop homage to its host. It’s loose and quick, a feel-good fist-raiser that sounds like it should be the theme music to a song about youths in Canada brought to you by the makers of That ’70s Show. Listen:

A press release gives us the non-Olympic backstory:

Don’t get us wrong – Buffalo, NY is a swell American town. But it’s not the easiest city to play, ask any band! So when The Thermals, on a recent tour, found themselves staring down the barrel of a less-than-spectacular night in Buffalo, The Thermals comforted themselves with the thought that the next day they were headed for CANADA. Toronto, to be exact, where they would headline an amazing sold out show at The Horseshoe Tavern. Sitting in the van in Buffalo, Thermals guitarist and singer Hutch Harris picked up a guitar and strummed a few chords, and sang a few lines about going to CANADA. Kathy Foster walked up and sang “Whoa Whoa-Oh Whoa!” as if on cue. Drummer Westin Glass set a fat beat to it at soundcheck et voila, “Canada”. Seriously, I’m not making this up. I mean, listen to the song. It doesn’t sound like it took The Thermals longer than half an hour to write “Canada”. But therein lies its brilliance! Totally off the cuff, yet totally sincere, “Canada” is an instant classic, a raucous, joyous ode to our brothers and sisters to the north. CANADA! Where everyone is funny, friendly and ready to have a beer or seven with you. CANADA! Where we’ll have everything we need! CANADA! The country we aspire to be.

And this game of Six Degrees of “Canada” is pretty amusing:

The lyrics to “Canada” contain the line “Sittin’ all alone / Pick up the phone and call Ramona / Go to Canada”. Ramona refers to Thermals sound woman Anna Lockwood, who sometimes goes by the name Ramona Flowers, a character in the Canadian comic book Scott Pilgrim, by Canadian author Bryan Lee O’Malley. Scott Pilgrim is published by Oni Press, who share a hometown of Portland, Oregon with The Thermals. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, a live-action film adaptation of the comic starring Canadian actor Michael Cera, is due in August of this year. Scott Pilgrim is named after a song by the Canadian band Plumtree.

Buy “Canada” on iTunes.

The Thermals fifth LP, the Chris Walla-produced Personal Life, is out 9/7 via Kill Rock Stars.