Feistodon is a 7-inch vinyl single which was released exclusively for Record Store Day 2012, limited to 5000 copies. It’s an unlikely collaboration of sorts between the Canadian adult-alternative singer-songwriter (Leslie) Feist and the Atlanta-based sludge-metal band Mastodon. One side of the single contains a cover by Mastodon of a song from Feist’s 2011 album Metals, and the other side contains a cover by Feist of a song from Mastodon’s 2011 album The Hunter. These two artists make strange bedfellows, to be sure. They met in October 2011 when both of them performed on an episode of the BBC talk show Later…With Jools Holland. Mastodon’s subsequent plan to cover Feist’s “A Commotion” led to the idea for this very intriguing Record Store Day item. Each artist covered the other’s song their own way, with no input from each other.

The surprising thing about Mastodon’s cover of Feist’s “A Commotion” is that it makes a lot of sense. Their sludge-metal interpretation of the song’s repetitive guitar riff works very logically, and the masculinized vocals serve the song’s unsettled mood very well. Feist’s cover of Mastodon’s “Black Tongue” is interesting for the exact opposite reason: it doesn’t make much sense, which may be the reason it’s so riveting. It’s mainly composed of distorted, staccato sound fragments mixed at comparatively low volume. Against that backdrop, Feist provides a gentle vocal delivery of the angry lyrics. The result sounds quite surreal – which was probably the intention. Feistodon is a bizarre concept that works. Although the two artists don’t seem to have much in common on the surface, they seem to have found their common ground with the two chosen songs, which use similarly dark lyrical metaphors.

Mastodon / Feist - Feistodon

Mastodon/Feist “Feistodon” (single) (Reprise 7-530123) 2012

Track Listing:

a. Mastodon – “A Commotion” (Feist cover)
b. Feist – “Black Tongue” (Mastodon cover)