So, Thao + the Get Down Stay Down has a new album out, it came out … yesterday?  But it was available a week early on iTunes or some nonsense like that, and anyway, it is called Know Better Learn Faster and I have been listening to it all evening in hopes of telling you something awesome about it.  And, not surprisingly, I feel that like We Brave Bee Stings this is going to be an album that I have to live with for awhile and listen to for awhile, and like a good wine, it will get better as it ages.  I find this to be one of the marks of a great album, up there with finding a new favorite song every week.

The thing that impresses me the most about Thao with the GDSD is their craftsmanship.  After all, I’d say that making music is about perfecting both your art and your craft–these guys are perfecting both.  I guess it’s one of those general truths that to break the rules, you have to know them first.  I’m in love with the introduction to the album–the 30 second opening, “The Clap” (not the STD)–where it sounds like when a group of people who have no concept of key sing “Happy Birthday” and you want to laugh and cry at the same time because it sounds so ridiculous (or I guess you could call it “modal”).  Of course, after about 10 seconds of that, the band breaks into brilliance.  “If this is what you wanted, okay, okay”–well, yeah, thanks, I did want that.  They’ve developed into something very refined, each song being wonderfully orchestrated with enough edge in the sound to be rock’n’roll, and with Thao’s raw, boyish, sexy voice as the perfect complement.  “Burn You Up,” for instance, has enough of an interesting countermelody going on behind the vocals with keys and guitars and drums and other percussive instruments and such that it would work as an instrumental track.  However, what would they be without those vox?  Pretty damn cool music that I would probably still listen to…but not at all the same.  This stuff is just good.  I don’t know what else to say about it.  You should listen to it because it is legit GOOD, and how often do you hear/see/think/know things that are for real legit 10 out of 10 GOOD?  Probably never if you’re me and your ipod thing for the car broke and you have to flip between top-40 radio and oldies.

Highlights of the album:
“The Clap”–gosh it’s such a freaking fantastic intro!  I have nothing more to say about it.
“Cool Yourself”–I like the bridge, it’s pretty badass.
“When We Swam”–I don’t know, the “bring your hips to me” is funky and I like it.
“The Give”–the guitar parallels the voice…Thao w/the GDSD has a cool way of giving the guitar melodid lines.  It’s nice to hear something other than strumming chords.
“Oh. No.”–this is about as tender as I’ve ever heard Thao sound.  I like it alright.
“Fixed It”–what the crap is that intro?  It’s kind of cool.
Another general highlight–sassiness everywhere.

So that’s about it, you should buy the album, and probably you should also watch this funny video.

And this one:

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down in the studio from Kill Rock Stars on Vimeo.

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