Despite Sky Ferreira’s early cultivation as a promising bubblegum-pop star, it’s no longer surprising she would be into Cat Power. Last year’s Ghost EP explored moodier territory for the young singer, most notably on the aching “Everything Is Embarrassing,” a Blood Orange collaboration that has been reworked by everyone from Unknown Mortal Orchestra to Twin Shadow (it was one of SPIN’s 40 Best Songs of 2012). In concert, too, Ferreira can walk a similar tightrope between disarming intimacy and off-putting awkwardness. A recent live Cat Power cover with DIIV brought a little of both.
At the BasilicaSoundScape Festival in Hudson, New York, on September 14, Ferreira joined DIIV to take on “Nude as the News,” a haunting and off-kilter classic from 1996s What Would the Community Think that Cat Power’s Chan Marshall has since said was at least partly inspired by an abortion. Pitchfork points to a cell-phone video of the performance shot by photographer Ryan McGinley. The sound quality of such recordings makes it hard to proffer a definitive judgment about the cover’s effectiveness, but Ferreira can be seen reading the lyrics from a sheet, and her raw-nerve vocals are suspended over whorls of feedback before the clip cuts off early.
The performance came less than a day after Ferreira and DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith’s arrests in Saugerties, New York, on charges that included possessing heroin and ecstasy. Via DIIV’s Twitter, Smith has said: “what you’re reading is a police blotter, not the outcome of a court case. these cops wanted to fuck us, and they did. sky did nothing wrong.”
Ferreira’s long-postponed debut album, Night Time, My Time is set to arrive on October 29 via Capitol. She starts a fall tour with Vampire Weekend and Solange on September 19 in Philadelphia. DIIV have been readying their sophomore album with an eye on a 2014 release.