- Category: Music for Mondays
- Published on Monday, 21 May 2012 02:06
- Written by Chris
Maybe I just have Vietnam on the brain after seeing the Epic Nguyen textbook prank, but I woke up with Thao's song Yeah, So On and So On playing on repeat in my head. There are worse ways to wake up (True story: while sleeping on a poorly-patched air mattress in a yurt in the Mongolian steppes, I am awakened by something on my chest. It takes my eyes a moment to adjust to the gloom. When they do, I see that Pikachu is sitting on me.)
My introduction to Thao came via the always-interesting Tiny Desk Concert on NPR. She had a young, folksy, slightly-awkward vibe that made listening to her very inviting. If you want to label her, she'd fit in the female singer-songwriter group with Regina Spektor and Rilo Kelly, but I find sound a little more laid back and breezy. Fraught or frenetic would not be adjectives to use with her. Like a good singer/songwriter, she knows her way around lyrics. One favorite of mine: It was brave to play, it was an honor to lose. Or I am going away, but not away from you. I have learned the difference between the two. Nothing groundbreaking, but enjoyable. When she sings, it always sounds like she enjoys what she's doing.
As the name suggests, her family is from Norway. I mean Vietnam, though she grew up in Virgina. Her first gigs were at her mother's laundromat (you can insert a stereotype comment here if you wish). The band formed while she studied at the College of William and Mary, and came into its own when they moved to San Francisco.
In an interview in the Washington Post, she notes that while she excelled academically and went to a prestigious high school and university, she'd been devoted to music for quite some time.
"I just went because I got in and my mom would have been really angry if I didn't go. Since I found music and became interested in it, everything else faded in priority."
Thao has released albums under her own name and with her band The Get Down Stay Downs. Either way, it's a light, easy listen.