Thao & the Get Down Stay Down Know Better Learn Faster

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down Know Better Learn Faster
San Francisco, CA's Thao Nguyen has a weary/sexy catch in her singing voice that knocks the ten-speed out from under the 17-year-old me. With today's strong women mostly shored up in R&B or electronic music, Thao is a great rock antidote to the anodyne heart-on-sleeve-on-acoustic-guitar popular model. Know Better follows a solid debut last year, and what's most notable is the step up her backing band have taken. Not funk but funky, the Get Down Stay Down throw barrelhouse piano, marching rhythms and randy sax behind the upbeat numbers. Plucked violin and slide steel are the broken heart prelude to the title track's little eruption, which implores a shifting of burdens. Thao takes more quiet moments this time around, like the blue torch lit "But What of Strangers," which touches on the gospel of the lonely. "Easy" caps things with the spoken intro "sad people dance too," before giving them a rubbery rhythm invitation to do just that. (Kill Rock Stars)