Everyone has to start somewhere. For Thao Nguyen — leader of S.F. band Thao and the Get Down Stay Down — the point of origin was her mom's laundromat in Virginia. When she wasn't helping out customers, a tween Nguyen was strumming covers of "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Everybody Hurts," and trying to write her own material. She sang solely to try her songs out, holding at first zero desire to front a band. Good thing she changed her mind. 2012's We the Common — the third record from the Get Down Stay Down — takes a deep drink from a well of indie rock and folk, pairing her agile, unexpectedly powerful voice with catchy lead guitar and banjo parts, plus thicker bass lines that are a product of Nguyen pulling 1990s hip-hop influences into the fold. The frontwoman guides We the Common with skill and surety, juxtaposing cozy, sprightly tunes (the majority of the record) with drowsy downers that aren't afraid to get teary-eyed.