Morrissey's original is a catchy tune propelled along with the traditional mix of electric guitars, drums, and that unmistakable croon. Avi took the song and stripped it down with just her voice and a lone acoustic guitar in a rendition that--dare I say--is even more sweet and tender (no hooligan here) than the original. Check out Avi's performance of the song live at an in-store at Fingerprints Music in Long Beach, California and you can also stream her album version below.
It's only appropriate that clip above is from YouTube, because it was through the video-sharing site that Avi was discovered. The 23-year-old from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia posted homemade clips on YouTube to get feedback from a friend who couldn't attend one of her gigs. Among those watching was Raconteurs/Greenhornes drummer Patrick Keeler, who brought Avi to the attention of Raconteurs/White Stripes manager Ian Montone. He promptly signed her to his Monotone imprint, which released Avi's self-titled debut in conjunction with Jack Johnson's Brushfire Records.
As her signing would suggest, Avi is more than just a cover artist. In fact, "First Of The Gang To Die" is the only non-original on her 12-song debut. And the good news is that her originals are as good as her Morrissey cover. Check out the video for "Bitter Heart," the album's first single, below.
Heartbreak has rarely sounded so sweet. I think I'm developing an addiction to Zee Avi. How about you?