Thao With the Get Down Stay Downs – Know Better Learn Faster
Prior to listening to Thao with the Get Down Stay Down’s new album, Know Better Learn Faster (Kill Rock Stars), I knew absolutely nothing of Thao Nguyen or her band. Boy, am I glad that has been remedied! Know Better Learn Faster has got to be one of the most pleasant listening experiences I have had in some time.
Those who have met me know that I am not drawn to dance parties or music played at dance parties, but I have to tell you, Nguyen has crafted a tight and whimsical long player that is essentially a dance party on a five inch piece of plastic (or a twelve inch slab of vinyl, depending on your tastes). Starting with rowdy hand clapping and foot stomping of ‘The Clap’ you are transported to a sweaty living room filled with pulsating bodies. The thirteen tracks on this album are sweet and sexy and just plain fun.
The influences on this album tend to shift from song to song, which would normally irritate me, but somehow on Know Better Learn Faster, it works. The music goes from Minus the Bear to Andrew Bird to No Kill No Beep Beep era Q and Not U sometimes in the same song (see the title track). Nguyen’s vocals are a little harder to pinpoint. They are at time reminiscent of Nico, Rebecca Pearcy, or Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, which are all really good things!
I have a hard time finding something bad to say about Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. Know Better Learn Faster is perfect for the changing seasons; it will continue to bring sunshine into these dreary Fall months.