Let’s face it: This video is about one shell-art sculpture away from being, basically, a Portlandia sketch. The oak table, stone walls, and especially the painting of a mallard in flight make for an awfully knowing contrast between all those cables and controllers. Not to mention that the very idea of taking Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” to the digital woodshed is itself exactly the kind of thing that Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein would get plenty of fixed-gear mileage out of.
But the singer, songwriter, and “avid looper” Kawehi absolutely sells it, from the Godley and Crème-inspired vocal harmonies that open the performance to her collapsing-marionette slump at the end — topped off with a smile that says, “Yeah, I got this.”
Born in Honolulu and based in Lawrence, Kansas, Kawehi has made a cottage industry out of looping and layering her way through pop standards old and new. See, for instance, her version of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” — quite literally a bedroom recording, complete with two very nonchalant dogs. Or her version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer,” which Esquire also pointed to.
In other news, Kurt Cobain’s childhood home could become a museum.