Sunday, April 15, 2007

Feist Update

Feist's new album, The Reminder, is scheduled to be released on May 1 on Interscope Records, and already there have been several big pre-release articles/reviews, including the lead story in the NY Times Art & Leisure Section today (4/15). Check out Sasha Frere-Jones' piece in this week's New Yorker for the most interesting take on Feist in terms of the dichotomy between her hipster it-girl persona and her obvious potential to become a mainstream superstar.
Among Frere-Jones' more interesting observations is his assertion that the most daring thing Feist has done has been to cover an American public domain standard called "Sea Lion Woman," most famously recorded by Nina Simone the 1960's. Feist records the song on The Reminder, but Frere-Jones is more interested in her live version (He calls the version on The Reminder, "polite," and I would agree with him). I haven't actually seen her perform it, but I came across a live recording a few months ago, and I was blown away. In her performance (and in her band's 60's soul band arrangement), Feist creates an incredibly high level of energy, without ever losing track of the subtleties of the song. It reminded me of Janis Joplin at her less-histrionic best. One of Feist's real strengths is her uncanny ability to communicate rhythm with her voice (I swear she doesn't need a drummer) without ever giving up the melody. This song demonstrates that perfectly.
Feist - Sea Lion Woman (Live)

Photograph of Feist by Greg Kadel.

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