I interviewed Thao Nguyen way back in Giant Robot 44, after she signed to Kill Rock Stars but before she released any albums on the fabled Olympia label. She had a cool story to tell, unabashedly citing the influence of the Lilith Fair movement to leave her family’s laundromat in Virginia, move to San Francisco, and make music to raise spirits, enlighten minds, and change the world–and maybe shake some asses in the process. Since then, she went on to form a band (The Get Down Stay Down), forge a fruitful partnership with Mirah, and tour with the Portland Cello Project. In the midst of all that, I somehow convinced her to contribute a series of articles to Giant Robot (issues 57-59 or so) and the coolness of that really hit me when I heard her on PRI this week.
So I was stoked to catch the record-release show for her newest release with The Get Down Stay Down at Fingerprints Music in Long Beach last week. We The Common seamlessly empowers her folkie roots with heavy production, at times with nearly hip-hop beats and keyboard flourishes, yet retains her natural and populist vibe perfectly. This was the first time for the group to play new songs such as “City” and “Age of Ice” and they sounded great. Even better was getting to introduce Eloise to Thao. I hope to catch up with her again when she hits the road for a proper string of shows in the spring. So should you.
Yesterday, I had coffee with another former contributor to Giant Robot mag. Some of you who supported on the business end will identify Kiyoshi Nakazawa as our ad guy and hardcore readers will fondly recall the “Fight Back!” series of self-defense articles that he and I collaborated on (not to mention various illustrations and written contributions on his own). Kiyoshi gave me a couple of recent 7″ singles put out by Razorcake (the descendant of L.A.’s venerable punks and drunks rag Flipside) that feature his artwork on the packaging. In the Sister Series, two bands release singles with connected artwork and cover one of each others’ songs. Young Offenders are kinda like if Rick Fork sang for the Misfits, while Hex Dispensers sorta sound like if Leatherface were injected with scum from a Texas sewer. Yes, they’re that good and, yes, that’s some lazy-ass music journalism. Thanks, Kiyoshi!
Of course, I had something to give Kiyoshi in return. Some of you may be familiar with a mix tape that I have been alluding to. It all started when I found a sealed cassette in the shed. Since I mostly listen to vinyl at home, one thing let to another. My friend Nate The Man found out about my obsession to make a new mix tape via Facebook and gave me a box of SA60s. Now I’m passing around dupes to friends like Kiyoshi who can listen to it in when they drive around in older cars.
The labels read Side Posh and Side Slash, but the nomenclature is pretty loose. There’s nothing super rare or obscure, but it’s all off vinyl and it’s all stuff that sounds good to me when driving around in the van…
Agent Orange – Bloodstains (ROTR Vol. 1)
Adolescents – Amoeba (ROTR Vol. 1)
Circle Jerks – Wild in the Streets (ROTR Vol. 1)
Black Flag – Wasted (Everything Went Black)
The Weirdos – Life of Crime (Destroy All Music 7″)
The Dils – Sound of the Rain (Live) (Class War)
The Avengers – The American in Me (Live) (Two Black Eyes… And a Bloody Nose)
Channel 3 – I’ve Got a Gun (I’ve Got a Gun)
T.S.O.L. – Abolish Government/Silent Majority (The Future Looks Brighter)
The Vandals – Legend of Pat Brown (Live) (Suburbia: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Social Distortion – The Creeps (I Just Want To Give You) (Mommy’s Little Monster)
Bad Religion – We’re Only Gonna Die (How Could Hell Be Any Worse?)
Fear – I Love Living in the City/Anthem (The Decline of Western Civilization)
The Zeros – Don’t Push Me Around (Don’t Push Me Around)
X – White Girl (Slash 7″)
The Blasters – Border Radio (The Blasters)
The Go-Go’s – How Much More (Stiff 7″)
The Plimsouls – Zero Hour (Zero Hour EP)
Redd Kross – Look Up at the Bottom (Born Innocent)
Descendents – Hope (Milo Goes To College)
The Dickies – Paranoid (Paranoid 10″ EP)
Big Boys – Red Green (Wreck Collection)
Minor Threat – Think Again (Out of Step)
7 Seconds – 99 Red Balloons (Walk Together, Rock Together)
Shoot me an email if you want a copy, make your own tape, or just listen to fairly close mutations via Spotify (minus vinyl popping and crackling, quick segues, rougher mixes, Fear’s take on the National Anthem, dialogue from Suburbia, the Brooke Shields intro, etc.) at these links: SIDE POSH, SIDE SLASH.
Nate gave me a box of SA90s, too, so there might be a follow-up…