Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Morning Show host John Richards, is
Bag of Hammers by Thao with the Get Down Stay Down from their brand new long player, We Brave Bee Stings and All, on the Kill Rock Stars label.
So… am I the only one who really, really wants a Thao Nguyen action figure? Thao and her combo, the Get Down Stay Down, have knocked out an album that’s pretty damn irresistible. “Bag of Hammers” is the track featured here, built around the 23-year old Nguyen’s scratchy acoustic guitar groove and a narrative that’s at once both menacing and charming — always a winning combo. The loose, organic feel of the performance never lapses into the ol’ KRS trap of self-consciously oddballing it, a feat we can likely thank producer Tucker Martine for. Martine’s touch is picking up on what makes an artist special and letting those qualities shine through, even if it means less time at the mixing desk and more time adding frisky hand percussion.
For those of who enjoy comparisons, I looked around and found everyone from Cat Power (often) to Laura Veirs (almost as often) to Grant Lee Philips, Beth Orton and Carole King (wha…?) So go on, Grant Lee Cat King fans — crank it up! And if you want something to read while listening, check out Thao’s hilarious imeem tour blog. The same site has plenty of homespun videos as well. The fuzzy cap she’s wearing? My action figure’s going to come with that cap. Special order.