Thao & Mirah

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - K. Ross Hoffman
For a collaboration between a couple of noted songwriters, it's striking that the songs are often the least interesting thing about Thao & Mirah. There are a handful which stand out on their own merits -- Thao Nguyen's singsongy "How Dare You," an R&B-tinged call-and-response that's the only proper duet here; Mirah Zeitlyn's characteristically hushed, thoughtful "Hallelujah," which dares to brush against the deathless Leonard Cohen classic and fares impressively well, considering. But by and large, the album is more notable and enjoyable as an exploration of sounds and textures (both instrumental and vocal) than as a collection of melodies and lyrics. The ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - K. Ross Hoffman
For a collaboration between a couple of noted songwriters, it's striking that the songs are often the least interesting thing about Thao & Mirah. There are a handful which stand out on their own merits -- Thao Nguyen's singsongy "How Dare You," an R&B-tinged call-and-response that's the only proper duet here; Mirah Zeitlyn's characteristically hushed, thoughtful "Hallelujah," which dares to brush against the deathless Leonard Cohen classic and fares impressively well, considering. But by and large, the album is more notable and enjoyable as an exploration of sounds and textures (both instrumental and vocal) than as a collection of melodies and lyrics. The tip-off comes early, with the joyfully dense, clattering opener "Eleven," an energetic if loosely structured three-way collision with Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, who provides not only the simple, lusty vocal hook (tellingly, and perhaps a little troublingly, the most memorable one here) but also a hefty dose of her band's percussion-heavy, chant-friendly, loopy D.I.Y. spirit. Garbus also co-produced the album and contributes instrumentally or vocally to all but one song (that's two more than Nguyen, who sits out on three of Zeitlyn's five solo compositions), and it's tempting to imagine what they might work up together as a fully collaborative trio -- Mirah, Thao & Merrill, which might have been a more accurate title here anyway. Nothing else bears Garbus' influence quite so overtly, though it's not hard to hear her fingerprints on, for instance, Zeitlyn's breathily sultry "Rubies and Rocks," whose simmering, Afro-tinged groove and swirling horn riffs eventually develop into a full-on jazz-funk blowout. Of course, there's also plenty of room for the distinct and notably divergent voices of the much-loved marquee duo. And they manage a more successful and satisfying merger than on their previous collaborative venture, a joint 2010 tour wherein Thao's livelier, rockier numbers alternated incongruously and sometimes disruptively with Mirah's softer acoustic folk. Here the pair find a wide-ranging middle ground, with some fruitful artistic stretching on both sides -- Thao trading rangy rock for tender prettiness on "Teeth" and "Folks" (but letting it out on the scrappy, screwball slide-fest "Squareneck"); Mirah taking a playfully bluesy turn on "Sugar and Plastic" (and saving her habitual solemnity for the oddly humorless sci-fi oddity "Spaced Out Orbit" ). It's not an especially coherent album, nor a very revealing one, offering surprisingly little insight into Thao & Mirah's relationship either as musical or romantic partners. But it does sound like they're having fun, and that counts for a good deal.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/26/2011
  • Label: Kill Rock Stars
  • UPC: 759656053822
  • Catalog Number: 538
  • Sales rank: 107,583

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Eleven (4:00)
  2. 2 Folks (2:53)
  3. 3 Little Cup (3:34)
  4. 4 Rubies and Rocks (4:02)
  5. 5 Teeth (2:51)
  6. 6 Spaced Out Orbit (4:24)
  7. 7 How Dare You (2:58)
  8. 8 Sugar and Plastic (2:02)
  9. 9 Likeable Man (3:33)
  10. 10 Hallelujah (4:08)
  11. 11 Squareneck (3:38)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Thao & Mirah Primary Artist
John Vanderslice Background Vocals
Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Bass Drums, Marimbas, Vocals, Background Vocals, Hand Clapping, Foot Stomping, Echo Harp, Floor Tom, Guitar (Nylon String)
Eli Crews Human Whistle, Upright Bass, Echoplex
Dina Maccabee Viola
Darren Johnston Trumpet
Thao Nguyen Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Percussion, Drums, Electric Guitar, Vocals, Surdo
Matt Nelson Saxophone
Merrill Garbus Percussion, Cymbals, Drums, Tambourine, Vocals, Background Vocals, Hand Clapping, Vocal Percussion, Hi Hat
Ezra Lipp Percussion, Conga, Shaker
Kacey Johansing Background Vocals
Emily Ritz Background Vocals
Nate Brenner Electric Bass, Upright Bass
Dan Maccabee Viola
Jamie Riotto Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Roger Seibel Mastering
Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn Composer, Producer
Eli Crews Engineer, Feedback
Jay Pellicci Engineer
Thao Nguyen Composer, Producer
Merrill Garbus Composer, Producer, beats
James Squeaky Layout
Benjamin Parrish Layout
Forrest Martin Layout
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