Kasey and I are not really the type of people who let the weather bring us down. We pretty much love all four seasons. So when you have a dark, rainy night in the Fall, we know you just need to make the most of it. So on one of our recent not-so-warm nights cuddled up in our Bay Area apartment, we prepared this one pot chicken and brown rice with chorizo recipe. It is zesty, smoky, warm and filling. And what was our perfect musical accompaniment to this recipe? Thao with The Get Down Down Stay Down‘s latest album, Know Better Learn Faster. Of course, Know Better Learn Faster is so good it could be the Musical Pairing to your entire Fall. It is just the right type of album to uplift any water-logged, city dweller: it is melodic, warm, catchy and fun.
Like so many albums before it, Know Better Learn Faster is a collection of love songs inspired by heartbreak. But that certainly isn’t to suggest that these songs are downbeat or lack originality. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Know Better Learn Faster is coyly provocative, emotionally vibrant, and melodically upbeat. The album opens with terse intro, “The Clap,” which features gospel-inspired vocals/melody and urgent hand-clapping and foot stomping. It is followed by album highlight “Cool Yourself” which flaunts a loose, jangly guitar riff; catchy “oh-whoa-oh” backing vocals; and punchy horns and light, bouncy keys at the very end. On the flirtatious “When We Swam” Thao reaches for a smoky vocal delivery over a slinky melody provided by the Get Down Stay Down as she sings: “Oh, bring your hips, bring your hips to me.” The title track, “Know Better Learn Faster” is a floating tune that glides across violins and shimmering guitar. Thao wrestles with an emotionally unsatisfying relationship during “Body” where she both laments being nothing more than “a body in your bed” and yet struggles with desiring her emotionally distant lover. Thao sings about destructive “sad sex” on the song “Good Bye Good Luck,” but the song is far more musically upbeat than the lyrics would suggest. Album closer “Easy” begins as Thao whispers “sad people dance too” before the Get Down Stay Down join her in laying down a toe-tapping, head bopping rhythm section. A highly recommend addition to your collection, you can pick it up on wax at Insound.