THAO & THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN
Based in San Francisco after growing up in Falls Church, VA, Thao Nguyen first picked up a guitar at age 12. She has worked with a long list of acclaimed artists including Andrew Bird, Mirah, Laura Veirs and producer Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens) and has recorded a pair of critically acclaimed records for Kill Rock Stars, 2008’s We Brave Bee Stings and All and the aforementioned 2009 release Know Better Learn Faster with her backing band the Get Down Stay Down. Since her last album Thao has worked with the artist advocacy non-profit Air Traffic Control and has volunteered extensively with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. This year, in addition to recording her forthcoming album, Thao has toured the US with the nationally syndicated NPR program “Radiolab.”
SALLIE FORD & THE SOUND OUTSIDE
Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside’s new record ‘Untamed Beast’ (Partisan Records, 2/19) is a visceral rock and roll romp. Like a “cross between Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Waits” (Mashable) Sallie has established herself as one of the most powerful female voices in indie rock. Ford and her group – Tyler Tornfelt (upright bass), Ford Tennis (drums), and Jeffrey Munger (lead guitar) – recorded the album’s 11 tracks with Adam Landry and Justin Collins (Deer Tick, Middle Brother) at Jackpot! Studios in the band’s hometown of Portland, Oregon. The band will preview tracks from the new album with an NYC performance during APAP on January 11 at Rockwood Music Hall, 7pm.
On the new album the band creates a powerful statement on finding freedom through defying conformity. Through clever (often racy) turns of phrase, Sallie twists traditional notions of gender and genre. She says “it’s time for a girl to infiltrate the boys world of rock n roll and grab it by the balls. To me rock n roll isn’t a genre, it’s an energy.” From the exuberantly sexy “Do Me Right” to the free-spirited cry of “Party Kids,” ‘Untamed Beast’ has a lust for life.
‘Untamed Beast’ is the follow up to 2011′s ‘Dirty Radio’ (Partisan Records) which Brooklyn Vegan called “phenomenal and monumental.” In 2011 Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside made their national television debut on Letterman, were one of the most talked about new performers at Bonnaroo, the Newport Folk Fest and Bumbershoot, and were championed by Jack White and The Avett Brothers.
Described by The Bay Bridged as “gorgeous acoustic pop”, San Francisco based musician Kacey Johansing creates songs with meandering melodies, lush harmonies and moody aural landscapes. Weaving together elements of folk, jazz, pop and classical music, it sounds as if she spent years studying in old smoky theaters with icons Leonard Bernstein and Joni Mitchell directing the show, and The Beach Boys in the orchestra pit. A soulful, honeyed voice and lilting vibrato land her the leading role.
Collaboration has proven to be a fundamental part of Johansing’s creative process. She has been a member of San Francisco groups Geographer and Honeycomb, and is a current member of the experimental folk duo Yesway. Johansing has shared the stage and contributed to projects with local talents Tune-Yards, Sean Hayes, Mirah and Thao Nguyen and has collaborated with French filmmaker Vincent Moon.
Johansing’s latest release and sophomore LP, Grand Ghosts, evokes the wilderness of the California coastline that she now calls home and the isolated mountain towns in Colorado where she grew up. Sonically and thematically darker than her debut album Many Seasons (2010), Grand Ghosts grapples with loss, paying homage to loved ones who passed during the making of the record. While Many Seasons reads more like a playbill, featuring a rotating cast of skilled friends and local musicians, Grand Ghosts was intended to capture the chemistry shared by the more permanent cast consisting of Johansing (electric guitar, piano, organ, vocals), Jeremy Harris (guitar, piano, vocals, and string arrangements), Robert Shelton (keyboards), James Riotto (bass), Ezra Lipp (drums), and Andrew Maguire (vibraphone, percussion).