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REVIEW: FEISTODON IS A FUN EXPERIMENT THAT WORKS SURPRISINGLY WELL

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UPDATE, 3:30 pm: The PRP has alerted us to the fact that you can now stream these two tracks — check ’em out below. Original review follows after the jump.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Mastodon and Feist’s special Feistodon Record Store Day split, on which each artist covers a song by the other. Would Feist’s decidedly non-rock tones render Mastodon’s “Black Tongue” too weak to have any impact? Would Mastodon simply trample all over Feist’s “A Commotion?” And even if each act did pull off their cover, would they manage to make the song their own, or just present a rote recreation that adds nothing to the original?

The good news is, both the Atlanta quartet and the Canadian songstress pull off their respective tasks with aplomb, making Fesitodon every bit the fun experiment you’d hoped it would be.

Honestly, I haven’t been a fan of Feist’s before now; I appreciate her skills as a songwriter, but for whatever reason, the aesthetic just didn’t really appeal to me. So I’m surprised that I enjoy her rendition of “Black Tongue” as much as I do. She’s kept the basic melody of the song and more or less changed everything else, giving the song the kind of gauzy, garage-rock feel you expect from her. But proving a good song is a good song, it still works — in fact, I think I like her cover of this song more than I like any of her original material (or at least what I’ve heard of her original material).

Better still — at least from this metal head’s perspective — is Mastodon’s take on “A Commotion.” Again, the band has retained Feist’s melody and little else, and now the song sounds EXACTLY like a Mastodon tune. I mean, suddenly this song, which I’ve always found okay but honestly a little boring, ROCKS. It’s not metal, but you could easily stick it on The Hunter, and someone who didn’t know any better would never guess Mastodon hadn’t written it. They suddenly give the group shouts of “A COMMOTION!” — and the rest of the song, for that matter — just the oomph I think the original was missing, making this the rare instance of a cover I think is superior to the original (of course, I’m highly biased).

Short version: kudos to both Mastodon and Feist for actually pulling this off and making it a worth endeavor, not just a silly gimmick. I would actually be stoked to see Mastodon play “A Commotion” live the next time they come to town, which is the highest possible compliment I can pay this little outing.

Feistodon will only be sold as part of Record Store Day, which is TOMORROW, April 21. Go here to find a participating retailer near you.

(four outta five horns)

-AR

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