The first time I encountered Thao & The Get Down Stay Down was at a free concert series in downtown Los Angeles and they were kind of fresh off the boat from Virginia, asking people for a ride or a place to stay or something, or they were going to Disneyland — I can’t remember which but it was just endearing and fun to watch the band with their array of individually talented musicians jamming like friends and Thao herself shaking her knees to their rhythms and either rocking a tambourine or a guitar.
So I was pretty excited to hear the entire album, We The Common, with songs that are kind of familiar now when I think of that stage island surrounded by water and the people of downtown enjoying their lunches – but the difference this time is a clean, round studio sound that brings the music a little closer. The Get Down’s sound travels from southern kind of folky-blues (that reminds me a little of Alabama Shakes without Brittany’s voice) to popish indie-ness all with the kind of female vocals I tend to crave when it’s that time of the month.
It’s also the type of album that makes me remember why I love albums because of the way it works as a good 30-something minutes of music and you already start to hear the beginning of the next song as the last one finishes. I love the third track ‘We Don’t Call’ for the Mark Ronson brass and the memory it evokes of that Friday noon-time show, but in general, all the songs have a way of standing out and that’s what keeps me coming back for another listen.
We The Common is out February 5 (US) but you can stream the full album here, thanks to NPR.