Friday, August 26, 2011

Thao and The Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All

I first heard Thao & The Get Down Stay Down on the last day of Pickathon, when i was at my most jubilant; hopping and skipping in the sunlight. I had come to grips with darkness, pain, fear, loneliness the day before, while listening to Califone, Jesse Sykes, Future Islands; reading tarot cards in the blazing summer sun for 8 hours, forsaking food, water, and sleep. I felt renewed, cleansed; finally in a proper festival mood, and most of all, in love with MUSIC. Dear sweet music, my constant friend, my loyal travel companion, my north star. Holy of holies, if this was asceticism, it was the most delightful, delectable kind!
Thao's music skips and bounces in the sunlight; it swings and swaggers. It soars, it climbs, it grows and flourishes; music for the summertime. Music for health and well-being, and do please remember that bumps and scrapes and pressure are necessary to make us healthy and strong. It reminds me of a style of music which i can only generically identify as 'old-timey', bringing to mind bands like Beirut, the Be Good Tanyas, Paper Bird from Colorado. Its not strictly confined to denim and ten-gallon honky tonks, however, i can hear modern influences like The Strokes, on the 4/4 thump and clean guitars of 'Bag of Hammers', as well as the swinging nostalgia of M. Ward on 'Big Kid Table', with its rippling guitar arpeggios. Thao did not invent this style of music; she did not even rediscover it, but the genie's in the details, in this case. Textures, nuances, and details make this record stand out from legions of lackluster impostors: soulful horn stabs, rickety percussion, banjo pickin', layers of guitars and vocals. All the little flourishes, combined with strong songwriting, pristine performances, exquisite production, and interesting lyrics, make this a mandatory addition to yr record collection. I won't say yr life is incomplete without this album, just lacking. Yr life will be enriched if you get down with the Get Down Stay Down.
As i sit with these transformative experiences that have been occurring, letting their effects wash over me like a waterfall, i'm excited by the changes that are happening. Rather than spending my days in daze, coccooned in a haze of insane harsh-noise, pummeling my ego into non-existence, i find myself sitting outside on a nice day, listening to sweet soul music, gospel, sufi devotional chants. Rather than letting these visions pass like Dorothy's adventures in Oz, waking up to resume a routine of the same old shit, i'm noticing my personality shift, preferences changing, habits mending. I'm getting healthier, happier; certain things aren't bothering me as much. I'm making new friends. Feeling more creative, more confident, better able to focus on music and writing, and i am able to pass along the rewards to you, dear readers. Keep an eye out, things are just gonna get better and better, from here on out!!!


  1. welcome back J. Missed your posts.

  2. thanks man! nice to see you, too! my posting will be sporadic, as i'm on the road, right now, scavenging internet whenever i can get it, but hearing metric shit tons of awesome new sounds, not to mention be introduced to tons of new bands, here in the Pacific Northwest. Got so much writing to do!