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February 28, 2014 9:28 AM   Subscribe

St. Vincent Has Crafted a Magnificent Mythology on Her Own Terms: The Village Voice interviews Annie Clark, who's touring for her latest album. Videos from the album thus far: Digital Witness and Birth in Reverse.
posted by Cash4Lead (29 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Her new album is really something. She did an interview with Salon recently that's great for the way she describes the creative process in unusual detail.
posted by cincinnatus c at 9:34 AM on February 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really like St. Vincent, and that album she did with David Byrne was magnificent.
posted by Kitteh at 9:43 AM on February 28, 2014

I'm so in love with this album. "Birth In Reverse" is flat-out amazing. And the final track, "Severed Crossed Fingers," sounds more like a Bowie gem than anything Bowie's done in decades.
posted by naju at 9:44 AM on February 28, 2014

Saw her play in Amsterdam a few weeks ago. It could have been the quiet sound mix and the early days of her touring cycle for this whole detached robot rockstar thing, but it was really disappointing. She is an absolute beast on guitar and I really like her songs. But I work with enough people living life through some inoculating filter that I don't need to see it in concert. It felt like she resented that I was there and that I would have any expectations about what she is supposed to be. Which is fine and good and is her right as an individual and artist. But fuck it, I don't need that bullshit.
posted by dobie at 9:45 AM on February 28, 2014

I really like St. Vincent, and that album she did with David Byrne was magnificent.
posted by Kitteh at 9:43 AM on February 28 [+] [!]

St. Vincent can't do wrong in my opinion and I dig the new record ...however for a short time before her collaboration with David Byrne it seemed like album number four was going to be her "punk record", with stuff like the Krododil 7" or her live cover or Big Black's Kerosene sitting there, teasing things to come.

But that didn't happen.
I still like her current record and the record with David Byrne, but I'll still regret not having that loud/noisy "punk record" of hers.
posted by bigendian at 9:53 AM on February 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Her interview with Stephen Colbert went quite well (he calls her "Vinny", which I'm now tempted to do), and she performed "Digital Witness" and "Birth in Reverse" as a bonus.

She also knows how to pull off a "rainbow kick" in soccer.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:59 AM on February 28, 2014 [5 favorites]

It could still happen! She remarked recently that maybe her next album would be her "sludgecore" album. I have no idea how seriously to take the remark, but still.

I was just thinking today that I really wish I could hear the album that Krokodil and Grot came from, as if it actually existed.

Anyway though this self-titled is absolutely fantastic. I can't decide if it's another step up or more of a lateral move from Strange Mercy, which was also absolutely fantastic. Oh, heck, pretty much everything Annie Clark has ever released to the public has been absolutely fantastic, who am I kidding. Asking how good a St Vincent album is is like asking how hot is the surface of a particular star. There might be variations in degrees kelvin or whatever but the practical answer is "very hot indeed."
posted by erlking at 10:00 AM on February 28, 2014

So, this is basically prog rock for Generation Y?
posted by pseudocode at 10:10 AM on February 28, 2014

More thoughts! It kind of amazes me that St Vincent is four albums into her career (five if you count the Byrne collaboration, which I'm inclined to do), and she's still going from strength to strength, still following an upward arc.
posted by erlking at 10:24 AM on February 28, 2014

She's also on the new Swans album.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:26 AM on February 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

the cinematography on that rainbow kick is frustrating. show her feet! ....not that i'm about to try, but come on!
posted by GrapeApiary at 10:35 AM on February 28, 2014

I like the St. Vincent/David Byrne album, but I kind of wish they'd maybe made one album together, chucked it, and then made another and released that. They're both good musicians who I felt needed some more time together to really feel out what their collective aesthetic was going to be. The brass-based orchestration was a nice touch but came off kind of anodyne, and in that way I think it's kind of metonymic for the album as a whole.
posted by invitapriore at 10:41 AM on February 28, 2014

devotees of the recent EHX post should enjoy this
posted by thelonius at 10:44 AM on February 28, 2014

She also knows how to pull off a "rainbow kick" in soccer.

Somehow my brain turned that into "bicycle kick" and that made the video a bit of a let-down.
posted by yoink at 10:45 AM on February 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was pretty late to the party, but I've become a huge fan very quickly. After playing major catchup over the last few weeks, I think I like her live performances more than the studio stuff. There's so much available, and it's all great. On youtube, I highly recommend her KCRW appearances, Austin City Limits clips, and especially the 4AD session. The NPR site also has some excellent stuff going back to '09.
posted by gimli at 10:53 AM on February 28, 2014

I like Anna Calvi a little better (or a lot, some days--I detest David Byrne in every thing) and I had decided that Calvi was quite a bit older than Clark--turns out not: Calvi's only about two years older. I find it somethingsomething that the only new musicians I find remotely interesting now that I am more than officially middle-aged are women.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:00 AM on February 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

So, this is basically prog rock for Generation Y?

It's music by a smart person for people who like the music she makes.
posted by cmoj at 11:11 AM on February 28, 2014 [7 favorites]

Yeah, as much as I try to pigeonhole her music, it doesn't seem very willing to fit in any one place. Threads of post-punk, prog, glam, chart pop, electro-funk, etc. etc.
posted by naju at 11:19 AM on February 28, 2014

She Is Beyond Good And Evil
posted by vibrotronica at 11:39 AM on February 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

I liked St. Vincent right up until the point where I was mixing my album with a guy who was lined up to produce Actor and she kept interrupting my sessions by calling him and complaining about her love life. I know it isn't entirely her fault - he shouldn't have taken the calls - but I hold a grudge none the less.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:08 PM on February 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

I love artists who treat their albums and their live shows as two distinct milieus for the same songs. St. Vincent always impresses me with her ability to take meticulously produced songs and inject them with the kind of stage show that people are looking for. Her pre-Bowie tour in support of Strange Mercy also featured rehearsed between-song patter - it seems to me like now she's just embracing it rather than being a bit embarrassed by the artifice of public performance.

I've read a couple articles about Annie Clark in the run up to her latest album, and this one from the Village Voice is one of the most incisive.
posted by muddgirl at 1:33 PM on February 28, 2014

I've seen St Vincent live touring for Strange Mercy, and while it was an amazing performance there was no... clear cut "design" for the show like it sounds like she's planning for this tour.

The one point in the show where she directly addressed the audience was when somebody called out a request for "Marry Me". She stopped to talk about how excited she was that Arrested Development Season 4 was happening.
posted by bookwo3107 at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2014

While on the Voice site, I checked to see if this year's Pazz and Jop poll was out (I used to be religious about reading it the day it came out in the Christgau days; now, less so).

Not to derail, but Kanye West's Yeezus won handily, the fourth out of his six albums to do so. There are things in this world I don't understand, and music critics' adulation of "Ye" ranks high among them.

Oh, and I nth the Annie Clark love and am kicking myself for sleeping on ticket sales for her shows at the 9:30.
posted by the sobsister at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2014

From Pitchfork: St. Vincent: Reckless Precision
posted by Going To Maine at 1:55 PM on February 28, 2014

(I accidently wrote "pre-Bowie" in my last comment instead of "pre-Byrne"...)

When she played in Nashville in 2012 she told a story about a Sid Vicious dish scrubber before launching into She Is Beyond Good and Evil. The impression I got is she told substantively the same story, with the same beats, on the whole tour. But maybe we were just lucky.
posted by muddgirl at 2:02 PM on February 28, 2014

I need to sit down and listen to this album, because I've really loved all the pre-release songs.

I'm also really annoyed that the Austin stop on her tour is going to be SXSW and that means nobody local will actually get to see her. I'm hoping there will be a second leg to the tour, because she's utterly fantastic live.
posted by immlass at 2:22 PM on February 28, 2014

the artifice of public performance

The artifice of public performance? As opposed to the reality of cut-and-pasting an album together in a studio even though you don't have the chops to perform live? The problem with most bands is that they AREN'T legitimately "good musicians" (whatever that means to you) and so they can't come close to emulating the polished sound of their studio material. It sounds to me like St. Vincent has chops enough to perform live (she should, she's a Berklee School of Music dropout, heh) so I wouldn't call it artifice. Maybe she has stage fright.
posted by ReeMonster at 7:53 PM on February 28, 2014

Hmm, I was also at the Amsterdam gig and maybe it was because I was right at the front, but I didn't get either the sound mix or detachment issues. There's a lot more deliberate stagecraft this time round, which she's clearly absorbed from touring with David Byrne, so there's more emphasis on a planned performance than before. But when she lets rip she still really goes for it.
posted by daveje at 2:18 AM on March 1, 2014

Just stumbled on this blog post linking to 15 (mostly downloadable) links to covers by St. Vincent; I knew of some (the "Sleep All Summer" cover is one of my favorite covers ever), but some were real surprises (INXS?).
posted by carrienation at 11:28 AM on March 2, 2014

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