Monday, August 11th, 2008
Bag Of Hammers
Photo via MySpace
I think this past week was the first time this year I’ve come back from a trip and not had Thao with The Get Down Stay Down roll into town within the next 72 hours. There was a show at Sneaky Dee’s opening for Xiu Xiu in March the day after I got back from SxSW and then in May they were at the Phoenix as support for Rilo Kiley three days after I got back from the UK. And while it might be for the best – like those past couple times, I would have been way too busy/tired to go even if she was here – I’m still a bit disappointed that I haven’t been able to see them live yet as their live show comes highly recommended.
As does their debut album, We Brave Bee Stings And All, released way back in January (I’m nothing if not timely). The lazy frame of reference for Thao Nguyen’s husky rasp of a voice is Cat Power, but beyond the timbre and texture there’s not much else in common. Rather than engage in soulful naval-gazing, Nguyen is a musical extrovert crafting spirited bits of folk-pop, rich in hooks and melodies if a bit deficient in accurate vocal pitch. I’m usually a bit of a stickler or that sort of thing but in this case I’m happy to make an exception – Nguyen’s delivery is so earnestly exuberant that rather than a flaw, it becomes and endearing trait. Most times.
Thao is wrapping up an east coast tour this week, which probably means that odds of her making it up this way on a headlining tour anytime soon are slim. Maybe I should go book myself another trip. U Weekly has an interview with Thao, as does Consequence Of Sound – in MP3 format. Update: WOXY has a lounge act session available to download now.
MP3: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – “Beat (Health, Life and Fire)”
MP3: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – “Swimming Pools”
MP3: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – “Bag Of Hammers”
Video: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – “Swimming Pools”
Video: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – “Bag Of Hammers”
MySpace: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down
Metro has a feature on Noah & The Whale, whose debut Peaceful, the World Lays me Down is out September 16 and who’ve just announced a Toronto-less US tour, though that five day gap between Boston and Chicago is awful conspicuous. Five will get you six that a local date is in the works. Mayhap they’ll be touring in one of these, or at least on the dollars earned from it.
While technically it wasn’t a quiet weekend at all – celebrity passings aside – I didn’t get up to much hence the brief post. When I wasn’t having to work from home, I found the time to go out and pull the trigger on one of them iPhone thingies… first impressions? Kinda disappointed. Not just in that I’ve spent a lot of money on a phone when no one really calls me, but I didn’t think that having one device to combine my iPod, cellphone and PDA into one Voltron-style would come with as many compromises as it has.
First, while I know that 16GB is but a fraction of 60GB, I didn’t realize how much less music I’d be able to carry around with me. I’d gotten used to being able to toss whatever onto my old iPod without really worrying about space, but now its almost to the point of one album on, one album off. But in a sense, it’s good because it’ll make me actually think about what I want to have with me rather than having everything and being overwhelmed by choice. And if I want to be overwhelmed, I can always bring the old iPod with me.
Second, I didn’t expect that the iPhone would be so limited in its text-handling abilities, in particular the inability to sync the notes with, well, anything. On my Palm, I used the notepad and to-do lists pretty heavily and now, they’re no longer available to me. Research seems to imply that that functionality is coming – along with cut and paste, perhaps – in a later version of the firmware and I’ve already figured some workarounds but I had taken for granted that I’d be able to write on the unit and then easily transfer it to my laptop. Apparently not.
Thirdly, the headphones that came with the unit, and the little mic/iTunes control, are crap. Sound like crap and fit like crap, but everyone knows that. I’ll keep using my Shure in-ears for now, but one of these combos may be in order.
But on the good side, it’s a neat little unit and just getting rid of all the AC adapters I had on my desk for charging all my other various devices has been a reward unto itself. Clutter begone! I’m still figuring out what apps I want or need – not installing stuff willy-nilly yet – but this having access to my email from anywhere… it’s pretty sweet. Now I can start ignoring your “hey check out my MySpace” emails that much quicker! I’m kidding. Sort of.