Brattleboro, Vermont queer postpunk trio THUS LOVE are devoted to their music — Echo Mars, Lu Racine and Nathaniel van Osdol have lived together since the inception of the band. “I realize that most artists don’t live this way,” says Mars. “But for us, it was never really a choice. The art we make is so tied to who we are and the community we’re a part of, that this is the only way we can possibly do it.” Known for their dynamic live shows, the group have just released their debut album, Memorial, which captures their on-stage electricity pretty well. Fans of the dark, glammy and dramatic will find a lot to like here. Stream it below.
There is more to THUS LOVE’s sound than post-punk, though, and we asked Echo, Lu, and Nat to talk about some of the specific musical influences on Memorial. Read their list of albums — and one book — and commentary below.
THUS LOVE play a record release show in in Brattleboro on Sunday (10/9) at The Stone Church with Guy Ferrari and Greg Freeman.
THUS LOVE – INFLUENCES BEHIND ‘MEMORIAL’
1. Blur – Blur (1997)
LU: I started listening to Blur around the time I started playing in my first band. I’ve continuously looked to this band for guidance, whether it be tempo, vocal melodies, or simple chord progressions. I return to a baseline security whenever I put this record on. It makes me really happy. I feel like we were listening to this record a lot when we were recording Memorial – We covered a few songs with full intent to perform them. We always do that when we love a band.
2. Caroline Rose – Loner (2018)
LU: Echo gave me a copy of Loner on CD and there was a solid 6 months where it was the only thing playing in my truck. It became the true soundtrack to my summer. It was around this time we were exploring adding synth to the band, and this record opened my eyes to the space it could fill. (Loner inspired a lot of the synth sounds on Memorial, actually.) I love the attitude of this record so much, it’s like a wind-in-your-hair feeling, driving around shouting the lyrics with your best friends, feeling cool, feeling sexy, feeling free!
3. Ty Segall – Melted (2010)
ECHO: 2010’s Garage-rock is very close to my heart. Ty Segall especially. Simple, loud music that invites everyone in the room to feel cool. I originally found this album in high school, and although I’ve ventured far musically since then, I still made sure to bring a copy on a trip to check out a tour van in Philly only a month after finishing Memorial. The rough, lo-fi qualities of Melted speak warmly to a novice engineer with only three microphones. Absolutely a top suggestion I would give any aspiring young guitar players who want to find their attitude.
4. Pond – The Weather (2016)
ECHO: In 2017 I had the pleasure of seeing Pond live at a small festival in Vermont a day before The Weather dropped. The performance changed my life and so did the album. Pond is another contemporary band that shaped my interest in making nasty bops. The effect choices and total drama of this record set me forth on a path to more complex instrumentation. This past year, Thus Love played the same festival, it was very special.
5. Leslie Feinberg – Stone Butch Blues (1993)
LU: Stone Butch Blues is a masterpiece I’ve read maybe a dozen times. Every few years I come back to this book for a good cry, and to feel held and seen. My best friend gave me a copy when we were about 18 or so… Stone Butch Blues touches on the wide criminality of homophobia, political activism, organizing, political community, queer community, friendship, tenderness, defiance. Just existing as trans people, a lot of these themes and shared experiences influenced Memorial. It’s really important to learn this history. This book is life changing, and I’ll always keep coming back to it.
6. Nina Hagen — Nunsexmonkrock (1982)
NAT: Boisterous, loud, absurd, and still impeccably executed, this album is a contender for one of my top albums of all time. I first heard Nunsexmonkrock my freshman year of college; its high energy and daring melodies kept me awake and alert on late nights spent studying and writing. What Nina Hagen captured in this album, and what I admire most about the album as a whole, is an unwavering and cohesive energy that pervades from start to finish while still maintaining surprising diversity and distinction between tracks. Her outlandish and forceful vocal deliveries demand full attention, and impress with the commitment and seriousness in which they’re sang. Songs like “Dread Love” and “Iki Maska” were direct inspirations for me while recording, specifically for tracks such as “Family Man” and “Anathema” off of our album, Memorial.