Thao Nguyen

There's a freewheeling, can't-stop-won't-stop joy to Thao Nguyen's brand of indie pop that makes We Brave Bee Stings and All—the Washington's new album, with backing band the Get Down Stay Down—one of 2008's most addictive debuts thus far. Word-drunk, lyrically incontinent, and handy with a hypersonic hook, Nguyen riffles through musical styles like Quentin Tarantino tries on grindhouse rags. She's got her C&W in your bossa nova, her power-pop in your trad Hawaiian fare. Blues, big band, and straight-up rock play into the equation as well. Yet Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down's most significant achievement might be their willingness keep the proceedings so quick, sweet, and dirty that they leave you wanting more: Their 11-song album clocks in at around half an hour, no minor feat in a music marketplace where singles and ringtones threaten to dominate. In their canny view, even the most rousing, relentless choruses deserve to be repeated only once—if that. Thao Nguyen opens for Xiu Xiu. All ages.
Fri., March 14, 5 p.m., 2008

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