Friday, October 31, 2008

black, white and bangs all over

What's not to love about Leslie Feist? This maple syrup-voiced Canadian songstress might not have the mile high legs of Lou Doillon or the wide doe-eyes of Zoeey Deschanel, but she inhabits the world of 'awesome brunettes with perfect fringe and wardrobes to die for' with a quiet and understated charm. She stays close to a neutral palette of colours and keeps the make-up simple- the most unassuming background for all her overwhelming talent.

'Let it Die' came out at the perfect time in my life. During my summers off during my undergrad I worked at a record store and held other assorted jobs. There had been a strong murmur of buzz about Ms. L. Feist rumbling in the Toronto music scene for quite some time. Her NXNE show that Spring was gangbusters. She was a member of scene darlings Broken Social Scene- who had already capture my heart- rounding out the dazzling female trifecta which also boasted Emily Haines (Metric) and Amy Millan (Stars). And most intriguingly, she was connected to Peaches (her songs remind me of my last year of high school oh those days) in some manner- perhaps crossing paths in their expat and overly-musical lives.

And since it was summer, and since I was sad, (and oh, since I had a store discount), on the day it came out I bought her album without even listening to it first. I was captured by the crispness of the black cover, charmed by how it was framed as if she was emerging from a hole in the ground. I spent a lot of summer sunsets driving slowly around the neighborhood and rocking up and down local speedbumps like a boat in troubled waters listening to 'mushaboom' and 'secret heart' on repeat. The spare and simply wonderful music got me through some tremendously wretched months and I emerged at the end of the summer a slightly less rumpled individual.

Sadly I now find it difficult to listen to her new CD and her remixes. I saw her play a free show at Harbourfront once that was strangely disappointing, and in the ensuing years despite many opportunities to see her at local shows I could not bring myself to go. Sometimes you need people and music to be what they were for you at the time you most felt them. And it's selfish to not be able to see them in new settings or play unfamiliar songs, but there are particular places for most-loved things. I'm not like that with all music but some pieces are like captured museum settings in my heart, unchangeable.

I still listen to that album every few months and I get hurtled back into the past. All that old sadness winnowed away and things inevitably changed, for the better, as they do. But if I need a snapshot of that summer all I need to play are a few tracks and it's there.

All dressed up and everywhere to go. Loving the costume jewelery necklace dipping into the black satin.

Here she is blowing through the BSS 'Almost Crimes' video burning like a fast match. I saw her play Toronto five years ago with Broken Social Scene. She strolled onto the stage in cowboy boots and a fringed white leather jacket and played the drums and sang this song and every boy and girl in the room fell in love with her.

1 comment:

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