Tei Shi

Drake Hotel, Toronto ON, November 17

Tei ShiDrake Hotel, Toronto ON, November 17
Photo: Tiana Feng
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Over the past two years, Valerie Teicher, a.k.a. Tei Shi, has garnered quite a lot of interest from music critics and fans while amassing an impressive portfolio of work, including the soulful minimalism of last year's Saudade EP. If it was unclear what trajectory this Brooklyn artist was taking before, Teicher's performance last night (November 17) at Toronto's Drake Hotel made it crystal clear: Tei Shi is going to be a star in 2015.

So far, she's developed arsenal of songs that have worked out the elements Teicher thrives on best: dreamscape riffs, simple metronomic beats and an angelic voice that takes flight when filtered through echoing loops. "See Me" takes said strengths and weaves them together into a hypnotic melody that ushers deft touches of guitar riffs and sped-up rhythmic surprises in and out of the track, all the while focusing on her unwaveringly cool voice.

That voice, the key to Tei Shi's biggest successes, is even better on her beguiling cover of Beyoncé's "No Angel," a version that veers closer to what the song's co-writer Caroline Polachek might have had in mind originally. In Teicher's cover, synth parts swoop in like a Chairlift song and Teicher matches Beyoncé note for note while adding her own distinct flair to her vocal runs.

While all of this was already impressive enough, Teicher topped it all off with her closer, "Bassically." With its heavy, bass-driven beat, the song could easily be weighed down musically, but this was where Teicher's voice hit overdrive and we realized the extent to which this woman would sing. As the track built, so did Teicher's voice, and while it's easy to dismiss her voice as "delicate" or "angelic," Teicher asserted herself with "Bassically" and its explosive ending.

Those last notes of the song, which closed the show, are what convinced us that we had just witnessed something really special, a sound that will surely dominate the year ahead.
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