A Man Alive by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down on Apple Music

12 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Thao Nguyen has found her idiosyncratic match in producer Merrill Garbus (Tune-Yards), who helps bring out the band's weirdest, wildest pop inclinations. A Man Alive giddily jumps from crackling staccato funk ("The Evening") and reverb-soaked garage-punk ("Nobody Dies") to slow-burning psych-folk ("Millionaire") and fuzzy, experimental hip-hop ("Meticulous Bird"). It's all doused in warped synths and effects, but every sound serves its purpose—like the rumbling bass of "Astonished Man" reflecting the weight of the singer's apprehension toward her relationship with her dad, or the loops of "Slash/Burn" circling like a nagging memory.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Thao Nguyen has found her idiosyncratic match in producer Merrill Garbus (Tune-Yards), who helps bring out the band's weirdest, wildest pop inclinations. A Man Alive giddily jumps from crackling staccato funk ("The Evening") and reverb-soaked garage-punk ("Nobody Dies") to slow-burning psych-folk ("Millionaire") and fuzzy, experimental hip-hop ("Meticulous Bird"). It's all doused in warped synths and effects, but every sound serves its purpose—like the rumbling bass of "Astonished Man" reflecting the weight of the singer's apprehension toward her relationship with her dad, or the loops of "Slash/Burn" circling like a nagging memory.

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About Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down is an indie pop band led by the distinctive-voiced Thao Nguyen, whose songwriting tends toward the musically playful and lyrically heavy-hearted. Raised in the City of Falls Church, Virginia, Nguyen took up the guitar and songwriting as a pre-teen, and was part of a country-pop duo in high school. In 2005, she released a solo album, Like the Linen, which revealed her somewhat raspy, punky voice and folky indie pop style. She subsequently collaborated on a single with tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus under the name Merrillthaocracy, and formed Thao & the Get Down Stay Down with Like the Linen producer Frank Stewart and her fellow College of William and Mary students Adam and Willis Thompson (no relation) in 2006. The band enlisted Tucker Martine (Mudhoney, the Decemberists) to produce We Brave Bee Stings, released on the Kill Rock Stars label in 2008. It was followed by a Nguyen solo collaboration with labelmates Portland Cello Project and Justin Power called The Thao & Justin Power Sessions, and then a second Thao & the Get Down Stay Down album, Know Better Learn Faster, both in 2009. The latter was made without Stewart but featured guests including Andrew Bird and Jenny Conlee (the Decemberists). Having relocated to San Francisco, Nguyen released the 2011 album Thao & Mirah, a project with her singer/songwriter friend Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn that was co-produced by Garbus. Marking her main band's move to Ribbon Music, another Get Down Stay Down album, We the Common, followed in 2013, this time without Willis Thompson. It was produced by John Congleton and again involved several guests, including Midlake's Paul Alexander and McKenzie Smith. With official membership down to Nguyen and Adam Thompson, the group's nonetheless especially muscular fourth album, Man Alive, was produced by Merrill Garbus. It arrived via Ribbon Music in March 2016. ~ Marcy Donelson

  • ORIGIN
    Virginia
  • FORMED
    2006

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