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Thao & The Get Down Stay Down are a San Francisco-based indie band led by Thao Nguyen. A Man Alive is the band’s fourth album and follow-up to 2013’s We Common, which featured a duet with Joanna Newsom. On A Man Alive Nguyen wanted to bring bass and beats to the fore rather than guitars, building on the hip-hop influences of it’s predecessor. Available on marbled vinyl, exclusive to independent retailers, standard vinyl and CD.
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This is Thao & The Get Down Stay Down’s fourth record, and without having previously listened to an iota of their recorded output, I can tell. This is a fourth-y record if ever there was one, bursting with confidence even amidst its stylistic change-ups (the group have apparently been moving incrementally from a more standardized indie rocking to a sound full of hip hop influenced beats and electronic mismatching). Basically, ‘A Man Alive’ sounds busy as hell but happy for the myriad distractions. It thrives in a pickle.
Echoing the frantic rock maneuvers of tUnE-yArDs, Thao’s crew have created something wholly jubilant among the mess: “The Evening” rocks with cowbell, bustling bass and squeaking synths, each fighting for space in a room crammed with ideas. Despite way too much audio caffeine, the flow of the record seems to suffer none: this song slips into the relatively sober synth waltz of “Departure” like someone making a quiet exit at a party. This record is pretty thorough in its ridiculous arrangements, so much so that the promo CD I was listening to it on calmly accepted Thao & Co.'s internal logic and combusted at track seven.
This is a treat for those of you whose ears fear silence.
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- A Man Alive by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
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