Kate Nash’s song “Foundations” was what originally won me over to listen to the poppy British singer. In it, her sweet little girl’s voice and bright piano tunes trill over biting conversation of a relationship gone bummer.
“You said I must eat so many lemons/Cuz I am so bitter/I said I’d rather be with your friends mate/Cuz they’re much fitter.”
You write lyrics like that, I reasoned, it doesn’t matter how precious the sound of the songs are -- you had to have some bitch in you. So when I saw she was playing an already sold out show at Bottom of the Hill (Sat/8), I figured I give her new stuff a spin.
And I did -- but even after my earlier diagnosis of teeth, I was a little shocked at the Brit School (the public institute over in ‘Ol Blighty that’s also churned out Motown whities Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse) graduate's newest effort “My Best Friend Is You.” It’s got some spoken word interludes in which Nash turns in an interesting little monologue about cocaine, recovering one’s underwear after a threesome, and getting “fucked like the best of men.” “Best Friend” has some tracks, like “I Just Love You More” and “Mansion Song” that seem to deviate into an almost punk feel. By which I mean she does some shrieking. There's also some M.I.A.-like electro-marching songs.
“So, what were you listening to when you recorded the album,” I ask Nash. “Oh, a lot of Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney,” says the amenable 22-year old vocalist. “I think you should always change and develop as you get older.” She's been performing with a punk band recently, The Receeders. She talks to me some about regaining control over her own schedule. “The amount of pressure that just never, ever gives up, you know? I learned the first time around that I’m the only person that can say ‘enough.’ ”
So, maturation -- which is good, since judging from the album she’s dealt with the slings and arrows better than Brit School classmate Winehouse. Although she does lapse into adorableness by the album’s end. “I hate burning my finger on the toaster/And I hate nits,” she tells us on the laundry list of irritants that heads up “I Hate Seagulls,” a song which eventually turns to things she does like. “I like when your hand is in mine.” Love. Hey, I like that too!
It's a faintly derivative mix. But it’s nice to see Nash trying to complicate her pop cartoon of an artsy, retiring good girl. Why make it easy on the critics?
Kate Nash feat. Supercute
Sat/8 9 p.m., $20
Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th St., SF