What to Do Tonight: Zee Avi

What rhymes with Kierkegaard?
  • "What rhymes with Kierkegaard?"

Zee Avi’s voice is gentle and sweetly beguiling. The jazzy, breathy tones tiptoe in like the smell of spring through an open window and throw themselves into your bed with lighthearted indifference. The arrangements on last year’s self-titled debut are tastefully simple, often featuring little more than Avi’s acoustic guitar or ukulele, the latter of which gives songs like “Bitter Heart” a sunny, whimsical swing. But Avi is more than just a pretty voice. Her lyrics betray quirky charm and quick wit, like when she gives a shout-out to German expressionism in “Poppy.” The discovery of the Malaysia-born Avi is a testament to the interconnected nature of our post-millennial world. After studying fashion design in London, she returned to Malaysia and began playing gigs. When a friend couldn’t make a show, she posted a video of the performance on YouTube, and, encouraged by the feedback, continued to post until she was inundated with recording contracts. She eventually signed with Jack Johnson’s label — which is appropriate, seeing how Avi’s voice features a similar effortless intimacy. Zee Avi, with Rebekah Jean and Nick Zuber Band, plays the Beachland Tavern at 9 p.m. Tickets: $8. —Chris Parker

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