Thursday, December 15, 2016

Ken's Top 10 of 2016 - #2: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - A Man Alive

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down could be a complete trainwreck of a band. They merge folk, rock, indie, dance, and hip hop. Anytime that many genres blend, it makes it more likely for the album to be a disaster of a hodgepodge and feel completely disconnected. But A Man Alive is an absolute masterpiece. Let me explain how special Thao is. The photo pit at a major festival should be a magical place. You're within feet of rock stars, taking pictures of them, and enjoying the show in front of a crowd that has been jockeying for position all day. However, for some reason, it can be a miserable place. Photographers are trying to get that one great picture and see all others as their competition for that picture. Plus, most are just doing an assignment and see it as a waste of a weekend. That was the attitude when Thao & The Get Down Stay Down played the Newport Folk Festival in 2014. Add a torrential downpour during her set to the mix, and the photo pit should have been completely miserable. Instead, the photographers were actually smiling. One woman turned to me and declared "She's just so much fun!" When a performer can get music journalists to enjoy themselves, it's something truly special. You're going to want to check out the full album, but if you're not completely sold, check out "The Evening," "Meticulous Bird," and especially "Nobody Dies," which is probably my favorite song of the year. What can I say, I love party songs about everyone's imminent demise.

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