This is what I know: The lead singer of Virginia-based outfit The Get Down Stay Down is named Thao Nguyen. Nguyen is the sole female in this otherwise all boy band, and, with that in mind, creates androgynous sounding vocals. Thao constructs songs that have hints of country, pop, and ’70s folk, all wrapped around a blanket of whimsical musical accompaniments.
What I am guessing: Somebody liked the concept of a semi-folk sounding band, that could fit into today’s contemporary indie rock genre, with the selling point of the band being that the lead singer, who sounds quite a bit like a guy, is actually a girl.
The sound: More or less, another band straight out of the lite indie bin. Thao plays music of the “I really dig Cat Power school of sing-ology,” pleasant and sweet, though ultimately leaving little onto which one can easily cling. That isn’t to say that it’s a complete failure, or that there aren’t any songs worth hearing. In particular, pay attention to the songs “Geography” and “Swimming Pools,” as the lyrics on both songs are riveting. Furthermore, they’re the best songs on the album.
Though, as an afterthought, after listening to this album a few times, I’ve discovered a great thing—Thao’s lyrics can be quite comical. She writes about what she sees, in only a way I’m sure only she could depict. Still, this is an album I could ultimately pass on, and I tossed it on top of the to-be-recycled pile. After my doing so, however, my friend picked it up, listened to it, and found it irresistible. She said she loved it because “of the softness, and the airy quality of it.” Yes, indeed, one girl’s shit is another’s shinola.