Two lovely acts have just resurfaced on the international music scene. One has come back with a new album not long after she won legions of new admirers with her last album and the other seemed like they’d run their course and might not return. We’ll start with the prompt one.
Thao Nguyen and the guys she calls The Get Down Stay Down only released We Brave Bee Stings And All in 2008, granted it was very early 2008 but it feels like no time at all has passed since that album full of short, sharp folk numbers slowly worked it’s way into many a foot-tapper’s brain. Great reviews and praise followed but her gig here in Crawdaddy last year (picured above) was shockingly underattended considering it was a cheap gig on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend. But now they’re back with Know Better Learn Faster, a new album which maintains everything that was so charming about the last album. They’ve gotten producer Tucker Martine on board this time and, although I might be crazy, I think you can hear some of the oddball-funk style of his work with Spoon in there. Her vocals are as brilliant as ever, from stubborn child-like bursts to layers of delicate exasperation, and it’s an album that’s full of the kind of material that will inevitably endear her to many more fans in the near future.
Originally from Bergen, Norway by way of some time spent in the UK, Kings of Convenience were everywhere about five years ago, albeit in a very soft and gentle way. Erlend Øye (also The Whitest Boy Alive) and Eirik Glambek Bøe have’t done or said much as a duo since their second album Riot On An Empty Street (which introduced me to Feist and in turn Broken Social Scene) in 2004. And as you might have guessed/heard, they’re back with a new album entitled Declaration of Dependence which, like Thao’s new one, doesn’t stray too far from previous work but still serves as a reminder that few can match the Norwegian pair for writing songs so soft they’re barely audible but still pack a unique punch.