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Watch CoS interview with Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, plus a performance of "Holy Roller"

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Last month, CoS, in association with McDonald’s Festival Fever campaign, brought you an exclusive Q&A and performance from DIIV frontman Cole Smith. Recently, we caught up with singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen of alt-folk outfit Thao and the Get Down Stay Down for another equally intimate outing.

Soft-spoken but thoughtful, Nguyen discussed the difference between festival gigs and club shows, working with producer John Congleton (Modest Mouse, The Thermals), and the emotional growth experienced with the group’s excellent new album, We the Common. Aside from her music career, Nguyen also spoke about her work with the California Coalition For Women Prisoners, much of which would later inspire the socially-conscious bent of Common.

From there, Nguyen picked up a banjo for an exclusive version of the Common standout ”Holy Roller”. With little more than the plucking of strings and some light percussion as accompaniment, Nguyen delivers a truly evocative experience: stripped to its core, the track’s inherent appeal shines brighter with a new sheen of vulnerability. Meanwhile, her already heart-breaking vocals achieve breathtaking heights of loss and longing.

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