Sweet but never sappy. Just the way we like our singer/songwriters.
What would happen if Fiona Apple finally cheered up? It might sound a little something like Thao Nguyen, an indie folk singer/songwriter known for her heartfelt lyrics and melodic acoustic music. Not too shabby for a girl who grew up writing songs on the sly while working at her mother’s laundromat in Virginia: “I didn’t have that many friends, so I had a lot of time to hang out and learn the guitar.”
Inspired in part by her sociology studies at William and Mary, Thao’s new sophomore release, We Brave Bee Stings and All, has that same swingy sound hiding darker subject matter that made us heart bands like Belle & Sebastian or even The Shout Out Louds in the past. “A lot of the songs are about taking responsibility for the ways that I might have mistreated or treated people,” she had said. “I wouldn’t say any of them are incredibly happy, but there’s not defeat in it.”
So you might find yourself giddily dancing along to a track that’s really about saying goodbye to a friend or a busted up relationship. She’s a sneaky one, that Thao. And surprisingly silly, too, crooning in her husky voice about childlike obsessions like cannonballs and ice cream cones: “My songs reflect my personality as far as shirking the seriousness of things.”
Listen to her addictive first single, “Bag of Hammers”, on her Web site  and then be sure to grab tickets to see her perform with her backing band, the Get Down Stay Down, and Xiu Xiu when they come through your town this spring!
By Caroline Stanley
Photo Courtesy of Gen Art Pulse