Thursday, October 15, 2009

know better learn faster by thao with the get down stay down

I’m floating in a bit of a bubble this week with limited Internet access. Somehow, this feeling of disconnect—like I’ve somehow managed to fall off the grid, makes Thao’s (and her band, the Get Down Stay Down) new album Know Better Learn Faster just a bit more extraordinary. I can’t access the cheat sheet press release, and Thao defies easy summaries. It’s a fair trade.

Thao’s music simultaneously boasts an old-fashioned throw down musicality—not unlike a few great American songwriters you could easily Google (Muddy Waters and Bob Dylan immediately come to mind) and a certain Je n’sais quoi that’s tougher to pin-point . Case in point? “When We Swam.” Any girl who can sound demure while singing “open your hips to me” is the definition of “indefinable.”

A paean to the pitfalls of love, Know Better Learn Faster walks the listener though thirteen romantically downtrodden scenarios. From the lovers shortcomings in the titular track (accented with Andrew Bird’s violin and vibrato-heavy whistle) to the dismaying prospect of being little more than a body in a bed (“Body”) Thao leaves no relationship-ending stone unturned.

Still, even amidst the lyrical gloom and doom, there’s still an undeniable musical glee. Thao may talk a good game—voice often cracking like a woman scorned—but it’s difficult to get the pity party started when the prevailing theme of the record seems to be, “Dang, this girl can throw down a mean lick!” With a winning combination of whit and musicality, Know Better Learn Faster proves that there are few things more fun than dancing the blues away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this was an excellent show. i'm in love with thao.