Thursday, May 27, 2010

Everything You Need to Know: St. Vincent

by Shireen June

Annie Clark is St. Vincent.

Not in the way that Stefani Germanotta is Lady Gaga or Alicia Augello Cook is Alicia Keys, because although all three carry pseudonyms, Annie Clark is a creator of technical harmonies, witty lyrics, and prodigious instrumentals carried out by ten other assisting players (just kidding, that only happened on Letterman).

Clark’s accompaniment, despite the elaborate Letterman performance, is never anything less than intricate. Having seen her perform twice in the past year, I’m always in awe every time a new instrument enters the stage. It’s when I witness her give a starting nod to the keyboardist-turned-violinist that I appreciate the talent of a frontman, or in this case frontwoman.

However in order to be an honest writer, I’ll admit to having first previewed Clark’s album after walking past a vinyl copy of her latest release “Actor” in a nearby record store exactly a year ago. To get to the point, it was the face.

It was a vinyl cover unlike any around it, and when I bought it days later I found that it was a beautiful record, unlike any I’d heard before.

I also saved an image the cover as the background on my cell phone. No regrets.

The songs initially sounded like a cross between my vivid memories of watching Disney movies as a kid, and my less-than apprehensible memories of listening to Led Zeppelin as an adolescent. I think it was the intriguing contrast between Clark’s soft voice and her intimidating ability to slay on a guitar.

It all adds to the charm.

Clark, who now resides in New York when off tour, has opened for artists like Grizzly Bear, Death Cab for Cutie, The National, Andrew Bird, and Arcade Fire. Her earlier career began soon after dropping out of Berklee’s School of Music when she became a member of Sufjan Stevens' touring band and The Polyphonic Spree. Most recently, she collaborated with Bon Iver in the heartbreakingly magnetic song “Roslyn,” which was composed for the soundtrack of the overwhelmingly popular film New Moon.

With some summer shows lined up, St. Vincent will make her way to your area in which case you should definitely attend. Don’t take a date, because you’ll find yourself more focused on the stage more than any show you’ve attended before (and perhaps slightly hypnotized).

Do not take St. Vincent with any other drugs or alcohol.

Symptoms may include rapid heartbeat, over stimulation of the eyes, uncontrollable smiles, and sonic joy bursting into your ears.

Between her two albums released under the moniker St. Vincent (“Marry Me” and “Actor”), here are some songs worth checking out:

1. Actor Out of Work

2. Paris is Burning

3. Jesus Saves, I Spend

4. The Party

5. Now Now

6. Marrow

7. Your Lips are Red

8. What Me Worry?

9. The Strangers

10. Marry Me

~ Shireen June (


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