There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Feist is everywhere. She’s sung with Broken Social Scene, Kings of Convenience, and even former roommate Peaches, rapping in crude Spanish with a sock puppet on her hand under the moniker Bitch Lap-Lap. I even saw mention of her on the fashion-critic blog Go Fug Yourself, as delightfully mean-spirited scribe Jessica recounted running into Kirsten Dunst—anagrammatically, and hilariously, renamed “Dr. Sunken Tits”—when Feist opened for Rilo Kiley at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. (That bit is apropos of nothing, sure, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share “Dr. Sunken Tits.”) I revel in Jessica’s spot-on celebrity slams, but I can’t agree with her catty dismissal of Feist as “underwhelming.” The tunes in the Canadian-born indie darling’s arsenal couldn’t be more crowd-pleasing. Or groovy. Her major-label debut, Let It Die, vacillates from jaunty, almost campfire folk (“Mushaboom”) to lo-fi torch songs (the title track) to disco shimmy (a cover of the Bee Gees’ “Inside and Out”). The bossa-nova acoustic opener “Gatekeeper” smacks of Kings of Convenience, but the track is so much better than anything the Norwee boys have put out in recent years that one wonders if it wasn’t Feist who was the good influence. And her dubby version of Ron Sexsmith’s “Secret Heart” surpasses the original; Feist’s soft and damaged vocals play against the blithe melody, placing the lyrics’ questioning desperation in a sharper context: “Could it be three simple words?/Or the fear of being overheard?/What’s wrong?/…Secret heart, why so mysterious?/Why so sacred?/Why so serious?” Feist plays with the Sketches at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $17.50. (703) 549-7500. (Anne Marson)