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Know Better Learn Faster

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Thao with the Get Down Stay Down

Know Better Learn Faster

12" LP

Availability: In stock


Quick Overview

Thao and the ever-versatile Get Down Stay Down (Adam Thompson on bass, keys and additional guitar, and Willis Thompson on drums and percussion) return with the follow up to their critically lauded and riotously applauded previous album, ''We Brave Bee Stings and All'', the breakout success and best-selling record of 2008 for Kill Rock Stars. With super-producer and friend Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Bill Frisell, Spoon) again at the helm, Know Better Learn Faster perfectly captures the band as their more mature, tastefully raucous, tastefully subdued and musically adventurous selves. Honed, trimmed and tightened over the last year and a half of constant touring, the now-trio delivers Thao's cleverly crafted and emotionally evocative songs with vibrant, innovative instrumentation, incredible energy and a still-acutely-solid sense of what sounds good. The new batch of songs spans all genres and influences, all the while staying faithful to their distinct style, sharp wit, and the infectious and enamoring exuberance of their renowned live shows.


Like Cat Power, to whom she's often compared, San Franciscan songbird Thao Nguyen evolved over time from indie folk gal-with-guitar and sparse (if any) accompaniment to full-blown bandleader. On her second outing for Kill Rock Stars -- whose former bossman Slim Moon was so taken with Nguyen's talent he's become her manager -- Nguyen pretty much picks up where she left off last time in terms of presenting a sound that fully incorporates her band, the Get Down Stay Down, but this is the first album to be credited to the collective rather than just Nguyen, which is probably not insignificant. Something else that hasn't changed is Nguyen's ability to wring peppy tunes from emotional angst. A not so subtle clue can be taken from the album cover, where Thao and pals merrily puncture a party piƱata that looks like a giant human heart. If anything, the dichotomy between the buoyancy of the arrangements and the brokenheartedness of the lyrics is more pronounced than ever, especially on the post-breakup blues title tune, whose tagline Thao intones repeatedly over a rapid-fire rhythm as if she's trying to hypnotize herself into making better romantic decisions in the future. For the sake of her art, those who have been listening long enough to care are bound to hope that doesn't happen. For their part, the Get Down Stay Down provide plenty of propulsion as they throb, bob, and weave their way through Nguyen's songs, giving them a lot more rhythmic subtlety than your average indie rockers. Occasionally, Nguyen's folkie roots still show through, but only for scant moments, before the plaintive guitar arpeggios are absorbed into the Get Down Stay Down's visceral swoop. That said, the production (a return engagement from Tucker Martine) remains relatively economical throughout, leaving plenty of room for Thao's distinctive warble/weep to unfold its tales of passion spent and soured.

Additional Information

Artist Thao with the Get Down Stay Down
Track Listing 1 The Clap - :33 2 Cool Yourself - 2:34 3 When We Swam - 2:58 4 Know Better Learn Faster - 3:49 5 Body - 3:12 6 The Give - 3:43 7 Good Bye Good Luck - 2:22 8 Trouble Was For - 2:47 9 Oh. No. - 2:46 10 Fixed It! - 2:57 11 Burn You Up - 2:28 12 But What of the Strangers - 3:37 13 Easy - 3:37

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