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.