Album review - Thao & the Get Down Stay Down

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down
We the Common
Ribbon Music

There's nothing "common" about Thao Nguyen's talent and vibe. A delicious unease grasps these 12 tracks, a sort of folksy Williamsburg (Kentucky AND Brooklyn) feeling. Her voice, gritty as a washboard and sincere as a dove, slices through young-adult monotony.

"We don't call, we don't write. We love some strangers every night-- oh, no," she laments in the brassy "We Don't Call." In battling with a dooting sax that acts as her foil, she musically walks the tightrope of coolness and frailty. It's a song that's all at once a throwback to Edie Brickell and a rocket blasting off into the future NYC sound.

In further looking back to look forward, Nguyen teams with Appalacian-granny-sounding Joanna Newsom on "Kindness Be Conceived," a Carter Family-like boot-stomper. It's a fun little think-piece on "why we breathe and why we die." Agnosticism never sounded so pretty.

T&TGDSD take other cues from nascent acoustic R&B (Dirty Projectors influence rings clear and true on the spidery "Every Body)" and other ferocious fillies ("Move" would make Karen O and Alison Mosshart proud). Nguyen is an artist that sings as gayly of life's tribulations as she does of its triumphs. And that is worth celebrating.

- Melissa Bobbitt

More from Melissa Bobbitt (See All)
Permalink to
Jim Cook Is Chasin' His Dreams
  Melissa Bobbitt      0

Image by Kate Ryder Full disclosure: This artist is a pal of PhantEye's blogger. Musicians' bios often suffer from delusions of grandeur. PR spin doctors build up tinkering nobodies as though they were the second coming...

Dec 29, 2013

Permalink to
Rock takes the (Broadway) stage
  Melissa Bobbitt      0

Image courtesy As a birthday gift to myself tomorrow, I'm seeing Green Day's American Idiot at the Ahmanson Theatre. This live-action stage play based on the NorCal punk trio's essential album of the same...

Apr 21, 2012


Receive updates on what's going on in live entertainment, events, and music.