Thao & the Get Down Stay Down’s new album We the Common compiles quite a quirky blend of instruments that naturally melt together, thanks to Thao Nguyen’s inviting voice. Banjo, fuzzy guitar riffs, dream-pop elements, tropical marimba, and horns that would be welcome on any ska track all appear throughout the album, yet no noise ever sounds out of place.


Indeed, Thao Nguyen’s voice glows in the center of this swirling, jangly, diverse musical world. Her breathy, cooing vocals feel as warm as a fresh mug of tea in my hands, and furthermore, they’re so cute that her sneaky suggestions are all the more powerful, like on the song “Every Body,” when she sultrily mumbles, “everybody has a body above/yes we get naked but not naked enough.” She sang of similar themes on 2009’s Know Better Learn Faster, an album that I thought was fantastic, yet We the Common feels stronger and surer, with infectious melodies on each track and a direction that pulls the entire album to a winning finish. Check out the track “Holy Roller” below, and stream the new album on NPR.




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