Thao and Mirah (2011)


Estrogen overload? or TALENT MADNESS!!!

I was greatly looking forward to Thao & Mirah, a collaboration of two totally talented, quirky, innovative, experimental, and versatile singer/ songwriters who defy that categorization. Gone are the days--at least I hope so--of the Sarah McLaughlan/Sheryl Crow Lillith Fair aesthetic. *shudder* Welcome to the new generation of women who make great music. In fact, how about this slogan-- GIRLS DON'T JUST MAKE MUSIC FOR GIRLS ANYMORE.TM .

The album is pretty all over the place. Ended up being a bit dancier than I would have expected, which maybe came from their ridiculously wild producer Tuneyards. I'm not sure yet if it's an instant classic, but I'll say it's one of the coolest records I've heard in the last month or two. 
Besides the range of styles, my absolute favorite part is how Thao and Mirah trade off the lead in the middle of the song. I love LOVE LOVE groups that do this. It's not exactly a new trick (See the Beach Boys, circa 1960) but it's so effective when it's employed well. Also love how the songs really defy any easy categorization. Not only is it hard to tell what genre each song is, but it's hard to tell who is writing which song. Not a lot of ego involved.

My one critique: The only Tuneyards-written piece, Eleven, appears first and it KILLS. The rest of the cd doesn't quite reach that level of sheer adrenaline.

Listening to this album makes me feel that young indie women are finding a great niche in music--some kind of a dance/indie/quirky/songwriter space that was blazed by weirdo alt-divas like Bjork Sinead O'Connor decades ago. When I was younger, women were always either the singers, the keyboard players, or the bassists. And they were either sexy and quiet or sexy and brash. It's so nice now to see more women stepping forward who are much more complex, diverse, and physically "honest." It makes me so elated to watch someone perform with weird makeup and flowers in their hair, or cowboy boots. Why the hell not!

I wonder if this last generation's work didn't directly allow this new wave of subtle and interesting female artists, whose music i generally prefer to their male counterparts (Andrew Bird, Bon Iver). ? I also wonder if the ladies don't feel a little more freedom to be as bizarre, eccentric, and wild as they want to be?
Shut the f*ck up, men! I'm awesome!

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