Tonight’s Concert Picks: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down at Underground Arts, Dr. Dog at The Fillmore, Sonnder at Johnny Brenda’s, and more…

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
Thao and the Get Down Stay Down | photo by Maria Kanevskaya | courtesy of the artist

Happy Record Store Day everyone! Tonight, San Fran folk rockers Thao and the Get Down Stay Down take on Underground Arts with support from Saintseneca and Little Scream. Thao Nyugen and company are touring to celebrate the release of their recent album A Man Alive. For tickets and more information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Preview tonight’s all-new Indie Rock Hit Parade! (and revisit last week’s show)

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

We’ve got another Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session in store! Tune in tonight starting at 10pm to hear, among other things, live performances from the Missouri-based Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. They just released a new album called Fly By Wire, and we’ll hear some of the new songs performed live in our studio!

Also tonight, I’ll share my Top 10 Songs of 2013 list, in hopes that you’ll vote for your own favorites in our Year In Review Poll!

Here are a few more things you might just hear in the mix tonight:

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Feeling Kind” from stereogum on Vimeo. Continue reading →


Review: A majestic second night from The Head and The Heart and Thao

The Head and The Heart | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.comAll photos by Chris Sikich |

The Head and The Heart brought their own take on the intersection of folk, rock, and Americana to Union Transfer for their second consecutive sold-out show Saturday night. The Seattle-based six-piece led by vocalists and guitarists Josiah Johnson and Jonathan Russell bathed the Philadelphia crowd in a hybrid of music influences including The Beatles, Edward Sharpe, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. Walking onstage with their former tourmates Dr. Dog playing overhead showed the awareness and gratefulness The Head and The Heart had of the Philly love. They dove into a set mixing and matching songs from their debut self-titled work and their recently released Let’s Be Still. Johnson and Russell’s harmonies were expertly complemented by the violin-toting vocals of Charity Rose Thielen, bassist Chris Zasche, pianist Kenny Hensley, and drummer Tyler Williams.

Russell worked the stage the most, wandering with his microphone during quite a few songs, including the blue-lit opening track of Let’s Be Still, “Homecoming Heroes.” The lighting was one of the keys to the show’s success, varying between bright and dark with autumnal oranges and spotlights from the side of the stage thrown in for good measure. And then there was the unusual mirrorball on the floor by Williams, onto which another light reflected during songs including “Coeur D’Alene,” giving extra emphasis to the drummer’s sometimes-raucous beat.

The best was certainly saved for last, as the two-song encore began with Thielen strapping on a harmonica and doing the country-esque “These Days are Numbered” solo acoustic basking in a spotlight. And then they closed with fan favorite “Down in the Valley,” a grand moment of musical joy for all in the crowd.

If there could be a rock counterpoint to the many genres of The Head and The Heart, San Francisco-based opener Thao & The Get Down Stay Down were certainly it. With a punk soul and folk heart, lead singer and guitarist Thao Nguyen went through a blistering set consisting mostly of songs from their 2013 release We the Common. And despite some rare Union Transfer sound issues in her set opener, the title track to her 2009 work Know Better Learn Faster, where her vocals were barely audible, Thao and her supporting crew blasted through an 11-song parade of raucous rock and roll. The highlight was surely “We the Common,” one of 2013’s greatest songs, a blazing work of political and social awareness that is a universal call to the conscience.

Portland, Oregon-based folk and country group Quiet Life opened the night.


From the Pages of JUMP: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down played Underground Arts

Thao01Text and images by Greta Iverson.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down returned to Philly this weekend for a well-attended show at Underground Arts. JUMP Philly writer and photographer Greta Iverson attended, and has this to report:

Thao02Thao Nguyen has been at the center of a couple of musical projects since she started her career. Nguyen performed as a solo act and a duo (with Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn) but Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, which put out their first album, We Brave Bee Stings and All in 2008, has caught fire.

They’re probably this popular because of how well they manipulate the indie-folk scene. Nguyen picks from a set of instruments that include a number of guitars, a mandolin and a banjo – all of which she plays masterfully. Nguyen, the bassist and guitarist incorporate a slide at some point during the show, bringing a sweet, bluesy feel to the otherwise mellow indie rock. Continue reading →


Thao Nguyen plays “We the Common” on banjo, through a megaphone, at a prison (playing Underground Arts on 3/23)

For all their snappy indie-rock hooks, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down are activistic folksingers at the core. In this new video, we see frontwoman Thao Nguyen performing at the Chowchilla Freedom Rally at the Central California Women’s Correctional Facility on Saturday, January 26 – which spoke out against overcrowding in the state’s prison system. Nguyen delivers a powerful, crowd-participatory performance of the title track of her new record We the Common, and in it (since we were speaking earlier today of the many definitions of folk music) there’s a snapshot of folk in the 60s sense, as a vehicle for protest and social change. Watch it below; Thao and the Get Down Stay Down plays at Underground Arts in Philadelphia on March 23. Get more information at the WXPN Concert Calendar.


Listen to Thao and the Get Down Stay Down’s We The Common via NPR Music (XPN Welcomes them to Underground Arts on March 23)

Singer Thao Nguyen and her band The Get Down Stay Down are releasing their third full-length, We the Common, on February 5th. It’s a return to the group vibe for the indie-folk performer, who’s been collaborating with K Records luminary Mirah for the past few years. NPR Music premiered the record via its First Listen series last night. Of it, NPR’s Stephen Thompson said:

Thao Nguyen is one of the most commanding and distinctive young singers around. She infuses everything around her with electricity and mischievous boldness, from her live-wire concerts to the way her songs gallop and clamor, picking up intensity as they go along.

Listen to We The Common here. XPN Welcomes Thao and The Get Down Stay Down to Underground Arts on March 23. Tickets and information on the 21+ show are available here.