Metals, Canadian singer-songwriter Feist’s latest release, is one of the best “grower” albums I’ve ever encountered. It took almost year since first hearing it, but my excitement to see her just-announced spring-summer tour has reached fever pitch.
When I first heard Metals last summer I was relatively unimpressed. I doubted that she’d be able to repeat the success of her 2007 LP The Reminder without a straight-up hit like “1234.” Metals is far more brooding, expansive, emotionally desperate and just … weird. The success redux evaded her (though critical accolades came rolling in), but with every listen I discovered more and more to love on Metals. It’s now in constant rotation—at work, on my iPod, at home as I fall asleep every night.
In November, as I was falling deeper and deeper in love with the album, Feist played an invite-only show for 150 fans—including Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste and the Strokes' Fab Moretti—in the crypt of an old church in Harlem (an ideal locale to debut songs like “Graveyard”), and I covered it for SPIN. It was one of, if not the, best shows I saw all year.
Feist strutted through the new songs with a 24-piece band—five percussionists, a five-piece string section, seven-piece brass ensemble, a trio of female backing vocalists and a core four-piece band, featuring Broken Social Scene’s Charles Spearin and her longtime collaborator/keyboardist Chilly Gonzalez. It was chilling in the best way imaginable.
"I wanted [Metals] to be an absolutely true moment," she later told me for a SPIN feature. "This album is like a treasure-hunt of everything in my life—the books I read, movies I saw, people I am close to or observed. It's just the whole messy passion play."
Later in 2011 I saw Feist again in Harlem, this time at the United Palace Theatre. Again, it was amazing/inspiring. You know a show is great when you like songs even more afterwards, and have newfound respect for others you didn’t care for before. The former applied to “Cicadas and Gulls,” “Caught a Long Wind,” “The Circle Married the Line” and “Get It Wrong, Get It Right”; the latter to “A Commotion” and “Comfort Me.”
So I can’t urge you enough: Go see Feist this spring and summer. She just announced 16 more dates—see the complete itinerary right here. If you’re not familiar with Metals, watch live performance footage of my four favorite album gems below—“Cicadas and Gulls,” "Caught a Long Wind," “The Circle Married the Line,” and “Get It Wrong, Get It Right.” Then tell me what you think in the comment section…