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Thao + Mirah : Indie’s Perfect Storm

The artist simply known as Mirah as been a lo-fi staple of the Pacific Northwest’s indie music scene for over a decade and has produced some of the most beautifully interesting music in the industry.  Her voice matches as well with grainy electronic beats and reverb as it does with the minimalist sound of a single instrument.  Lyrically, she is just as strong, being able to wax poetic about everything from simple lost love to the emotional yearnings of a fruit fly.


While her 5 solo albums have reached much acclaim, Mirah has never been afraid of unique collaborations and challenges.  Her first major collaboration came in 2006 with Joyride: The Remixes.  Taking tracks from her first three albums, several renown Djs and producers changed her lo-fi sound into something danceable, a juxtaposition that shone Mirah in a brand-new light.

Her next collaboration in 2007 with the Spectratone International is possibly one of the highlights of her career.  Much to the joy of entomologists everywhere, Share This Place: Stories and Observations is an insect lovers dream world taking inspiration from the writings of French scholar Jean Henri Fabre.  The inspiration is apparently contagious, as the album went on to inspire a multi-media performance piece by artist Britta Johnson.

Fast forward to San Fransisco 2011, when the planets aligned and Mirah’s schedule  synced up with friend Thao Nguyen of the Get Down Stay down.  Since being signed to Kill Rock Stars in 2006, Thao has proved herself to be quite the singer/songwriter with her in her own right, and her band has received much critical praise.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

Together, Mirah and Thao with the help of friend and colleague Merrill Garbus [Tune-Yards, 4AD] went in to record a series of tracks that would become the pair’s debut album.  Mirah’s ethereal sound shines through on some songs, while Thao brings a sense of funk to others.  The two bounce off each other like the hot indie chick version of Abbot & Costello.  While Thao + Mirah runs the emotional gambit, the cohesiveness of the record as a whole is undeniable, and the overall result is pretty gosh darn great.

by Adrienne Panveno


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