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Thao & the Get Down Stay Down

We the Common (Ribbon Records)

Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., Oct. 4, 2013

ACL Music Fest 2013 Friday Reviews

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down

We the Common (Ribbon MUsIC)

After spending the lion's share of her 20s pumping out and promoting albums, Thao Nguyen tethered herself to San Francisco for four years. We the Common, her third release with the Get Down Stay Down, finally reflects that sense of place, stretching nuance and bringing the only brand of folk that metropolitan California allows: one laden with pop hooks. Longtime Cali girl Joanna Newsom joins her on "Kindness Be Conceived," blending the fragility of her singing with Nguyen's demure alto in a tête-à-tête duet. Introduced by simple banjo strums, "We the Common (For Valerie Bolden)" takes the LP to full throttle only 30 seconds in, bumping along on heavy drums and a joyous "oohed" chorus, though it's the fevered hunt of "Holy Roller," led by more banjo, that outshines the full-band join-in and polishes We the Common with elated brevity. (1:30pm, Bud Light stage)

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