A complicated web of human interactions and emotions has never sounded so fun and playful as it does with Thao with The Get Down Stay Down. Thao’s music is indie rock at it’s finest, with elements of chamber pop and alternative folk mixed in for good measure. It’s catchy, quirky, and everything you’d expect from a band that sounds like they could be your best friends. Thao’s voice and lyrics are laced with an innocent sexiness that enhances the fun and fresh melodies of the band and the music strikes a balance between being both relatable and danceable.
The band’s latest album, Know Better Learn Faster, boasts songs like When We Swam, which instantly make an audience want to sing along. The title track is another standout and highlights their ability to produce an escalating progression of sound and emotion. The music portrays a kind of human quality that lets us know that this is a band that has lived their lives like the rest of us: just trying to figure it out as they go along and doing their best to enjoy the ride, even through the pain.
Thao was gracious enough to take some time out during the band’s current US tour to answer a few questions for The Rock and Roll Report.
Q: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be a musician?
A: I think I knew very young, around 13, that I wanted to be a musician. I didn’t fully commit to the idea until the end of college when I intentionally left myself no other option. By this I mean I refused to even consider going to grad school and did not have any other kind of job lined up.
When it comes to music, I find that most of my favorite albums are the ones that take some time to grow on me. However, every once in a while I hear an album with which I fall in love instantly and this was the case with Trevor Hall’s latest self-titled release.
From beginning to end this is an album that will not only engage your ears, but will also engage your inner being. Trevor mixes reggae style with a rock and roll edge and smoothes it all out with deep, soothing vocals. His music has an undeniable refreshing tone of unity that leaves behind a feeling of inspiration and his sound is somewhere along the lines of Matisyahu, Ben Harper and Michael Franti. He has however found his own voice and it’s one of love, hope and connection.
Heard of a little band called Phoenix lately? Even if it doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve definitely heard the song 1901 in a car commercial, a TV show, or just turning on the radio. Well that band is great…and now commercially popular obviously. But that’s old news, and now I’m on to the next big thing that Glassnote Records is bringing to the masses, and that’s The Temper Trap.
Hailing from Australia, The Temper Trap has already caught the ears of BBC’s Radio 1 and countless SXSW critics and bloggers, and now it’s time that The Rock and Roll Report gets a taste of their newest album Conditions. These emotion driven melodies can transport you to an inner reflection and still manage to keep your toes tapping. You may not know it yet, but these guys are the soundtrack to your future.
This week, RockAngel’s Weekly Radar brings you the hard-hitting punk influenced sound of San Diego native Buckfast Superbee. Just coming off a national tour, they are making their way back to their hometown this weekend to literally “rock the Casbah” (http://casbahmusic.com).
Buckfast’s music sounds like the lovechild of Unwritten Law, Jane’s Addiction and Rise Against with an original twist and their live show brings just as much energy as any of those bands. The music will keep you rocking, but they go one step further and bring in meaningful lyrics that weave their way around catchy electric guitars riffs.
This week, RockAngel’s Weekly Radar brings you the classic southern-sounding rockers Dirty Sweet, hailing from San Diego, CA. They’ve made numerous appearances at daytime music festivals around the area, but definitely have the sound of a sweaty dive bar written all over them.
You may recognize their single “Hey Delilah” as it received some airplay, but somehow they’ve managed to slide under the radar, Their sound falls between The Black Keys and Wolfmother with a heavy pour of Lynyrd Skynrd.
Dirty Sweet is the kind of band that you can just imagine playing in a hot southern bar to a bunch of 30-something women with cut off jean shorts and cropped tops, dancing around and singing all the words in order to seduce a bunch of bikers. If that picture isn’t really your scene, you can remove the southern bikers and replace them with the San Diego rockers who have welcomed them as a main staple in most of the big music festivals.
The great thing about their album is that they won’t grab you with one catchy song and use the rest as filler. Dirty Sweet’s latest full length album …Of Monarchs and Beggars starts off strong with “Baby Come Home” in which a steady drumbeat gets your toes tapping and Ryan Koontz’s vocals just makes you want to rock out all over the place. They move through steady rockin’ beats with all the seduction of rock and roll and all the nostalgia of classic southern rock. If you’re looking for a video to video to get your interest piqued, check out “Marionette” on their website. The twist on the classic Western is a perfect representation of what you can expect from Dirty Sweet. It’s dirty rock without frills, but somehow goes down so sweet…like a shot of smooth aged whiskey.
This week, RockAngel’s Weekly Radar brings you Daniel Wesley Band, hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. But if they never told you that, you would be adamant that they were from Hawaii or some SoCal beach city. Their sound is a mix of Pepper and Pearl Jam…and their songs fit equally into a summer beach day (“Johnny” from Outlaw) as they do into a smoky dive bar (“Pony” from Sing + Dance).
Their debut album Outlaw from 2006 definitely has a laid-back Jack Johnson kind of influence, but trust me, they bring a lot more energy to their live show than Jack ever has. Although…trying to pinpoint the feel of that album is difficult as at anytime they’ll throw you for a loop and kick it into a southern rock style as they do on “RockSteady”. This was a great start, but the album got little recognition and was barely a blip in the musical scene.
This week, RockAngel’s Weekly Radar brings you the softer side of rock and roll with Ross Copperman… a Virginia native who spent some time getting airplay in the UK before settling back down in Music City, USA (Nashville, TN). Ross has singer/songwriter written all over him but his music has much more depth than the typical songs from that genre, and he has managed to make music that touches the soft spot in even the hardest of rockers.
My history with Ross goes way back to the college days of James Madison University and Music Industry class, although we never really talked until running into each other at a party later that year…go figure. Discovering our mutual love for music, he started sending me demos he was putting together for class over IM…little did I know those raw tracks were the beginning of something bigger…much bigger.
This week, RockAngel’s Weekly Radar brings you White Rabbits and…The Subjects? Normally I wouldn’t be so quick to write about a band that’s already made it to the satellite radio rotation like White Rabbits, but after seeing both of these bands live last night, I have their musical energy oozing out of me and straight into the Rock and Roll Report.
Of course, after saying that Last Night’s Vice was the best thing out of Missouri ever, I am forced to eat my words as White Rabbits hail from that same state (though now they are based in Brooklyn) and rock just as hard. Originally seduced by the lead track Percussion Gun from their new album It’s Frightening, I explored the rest of it and realized this band is really on to something. With a smooth Spoon sort of feel (hmmm, may have something to do with the creative hand of Brit Daniel on this album) and a rugged Cold War Kids intensity, White Rabbits manage to create something that is nothing short of music heaven. They put more creativity into one song than most put into a whole album.
This week, RockAngel’s Weekly Radar brings you Endoxi…campfire music that really rocks.
Their first EP, New Blood, Old Soul is exactly what it says it is. They bring life to music with a timeless energy that sounds like everything and nothing you’ve ever heard before. They capture the sense of nostalgia, much like O.A.R. does, but with more of a west coast style. It’s evident that they don’t just throw words together to fit their music, but instead, craft them in such a way as to bring out the emotion that’s already so present in every note. If you took the music out of the equation, these are lyrics that could stand alone and still tell a story of love, hurt and a lot of self-discovery.
This week, RockAngel’s Weekly Radar brings you Last Night’s Vice…the best thing out of Missouri since…um…ok, the best thing out of Missouri…period.
Last Night’s Vice is unsigned, and weighs in at less than 4,000 MySpace friends, which means they may be one of the most hidden jewels in rock music out there. I like to refer to their music as “sour apple Pop Rocks candy for your ears”…let that image sit for a minute…
Not only do they have a kickass name, their music literally picks you up out of your seat and makes you jump around like a crazy teenage girl at a New Kids concert…or maybe that’s just me. Either way, there is no denying the energy in their music which fuses sounds of Head Automatica, The Used, and Fall Out Boy. “The Power Cosmic” could become a hit radio single faster than an Amy Winehouse relapse and “All I” would be a valiant follow-up.
Their live show has been raved about, and I can only imagine, as they haven’t made it out to San Diego yet. They do have plans to hit some of the Warped Tour on the east coast, so be sure to check them out if you have the chance. I have a feeling this is one of those bands that is gonna reach a tipping point and when they hit, they’re going to hit hard and fast…just like their music.