Now and again Thao Nguyen would signal discomfort in her anti-folkie singer-strummer skin and turn to writing reviews for illustrious outlets like No Depression, but her calling is surely making, not explaining, popular music. As danceable as Hanson armed with banjos and horns, as gleefully neurotic as a sugar-buzzed record store clerk, and as cute and lilting as a Kill Rock Star signee could ever be, the San Franciscan remade herself in the image of a band — Thao With the Get Down Stay Down — for We Brave Bee Stings and All. "Bag of Hammers" might have been this year's "Young Folks" save the absence of a whistle-along hook. But collectively they've made a fine indie-pop album with a vengeful, artful emphasis on the latter half of that sweet, summery equation.&
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