The folk rock band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down originated in a town familiar to most University students — Falls Church, Va., or in other words “NOVA.” The group has since moved past its Commonwealth roots and is now based in San Francisco, but still remains relatively unknown after the release of their full length album We the Common.
If the album’s playful melodies don’t increase their popularity, their celebrity fans’ efforts to catapult the group to fame should do the trick. Glee actress and personal friend of Thao, Dianna Agron, was the director of the group’s music video for the song “Body,” from their previous album. And indie folk star Joanna Newsom, who is celebrating a recent engagement to the Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg, is featured in one of the tracks on the new album. But talent alone should be enough to warrant attention for this band.
Lead singer Thao Nguyen, a William & Mary graduate, founded the band in 2003 after meeting Willis Thompson in Williamsburg. Although Thompson and other original member Frank Stewart have since left the band, the quirky group has not lost its charm, largely remaining true to its original simplistic and melodic appeal on its most recent album.
Listeners will be getting down and staying down with the album’s first released single, “Holy Roller.” The melody will “roll over” you as Thao’s sweet voice serenades you and the simple strumming of the guitar and steady percussion beats resonate. Most of the other tracks build off this same theme, but a few songs like “City” experiment with more edge and a little more hard rock vibe. Even though the group is down a few members, the band has started to work more with harmonies — and successfully so — into tunes like “We the Common.”
But be careful: the catchy melodies and edgy harmonies have great potential to get stuck in your head. Only time — and a lot of time at that — can get them out.
Thao and her cronies just kicked of a national tour where they’ll be hitting up venues up and down the East Coast, including stops in Ashville, N.C. and Washington, D.C..
Hopefully this album is finally the one that brings the band the attention it’s deserved for years.