St. Vincent’s latest full-length is her most experimental yet!
The upcoming self-titled album from St. Vincent can’t come soon enough. “Birth in Reverse” and “Digital Witness” have hinted that this will be Annie’s most off-the-wall and adventurous project yet, and although decidedly a bit more understated than those two; new single “Prince Johnny” is a welcome come-down after them. It’s a smooth, seductive track with a laid-back groove, and of course it proffers a slick-as-sin guitar part from Annie. Yeah, it’s kind of simple, but it’s just so freaking well-written! At this point, I’m convinced she can do no wrong. Enjoy!
STV is slated for release February 25 via Republic.
St. Vincent/Annie Clark has released a music video for her recently-released song “Digital Witness”, from her upcoming self-titled LP. The video depicts Clark standing stiff with an almost completely blank gaze. The clip seems to be about Clark acting as this sort of figurehead/commander (I picture her as being a sort of dead-eyed/dead-spirited Miss Trunchbull) at a facility where people do boring, repetitive tasks lifelessly, unendingly, like drones. Lots of bright color and some gorgeous, sharp close ups make this video both funny and interesting to watch.
St. Vincent is released on February 25 via Loma Vista.
With two tracks being dropped from it thus far, St. Vincent’s next record is shaping up to be her strangest. This latest cut titled “Digital Witness” delivers the kind of funky drum beats and peppy horns that graced numerous tracks on Ms. Clark’s recent collaboration with David Byrne, Love This Giant. The production is a bit more cluttered, though–and enjoyably so.
The instrumentation is heavily layered here with brittle guitars, squelching synth sequences, and a danceable bass line. Clark’s vocals are overdubbed to create some nice harmonies as well. I’d say her singing is a bit odder than usual on the verses, too.
The song’s lyrics are worth paying attention to as well; delivering a pretty clear picture of today’s social media-obsessed culture. Lines like “What’s the point of even sleeping if I can’t show it?” speak to the level of vanity held by people who share every waking moment on apps like Instagram.
She’s back! Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, has announced that her long-awaited new record, St. Vincent, the follow up to her fantastic 2011 LP Strange Mercy, will be out February 25. The first single to drop from it is “Birth in Reverse,” a banging, electric, percussive track with killer guitar licks (as per usual for Ms. Clark, the little wiz). The song opens with the bound-to-be-infamous line “Oh what an ordinary day / Take out the garbage, masturbate,” but don’t let that first impression turn you away. The song blossoms into a super catchy chorus, and it’s all so lovingly, beautifully produced. This is going to be good, I can tell.
St. Vincent is out Feb 25, via Loma Vista. Rock out to the single above!
With modern cameras capable of capturing colors we don’t even have names for, the decision to shoot in black-and-white is not a decision to be made lightly. In his video for the David Byrne/St. Vincent collaborative song “Who,” director Martin de Thurah not only uses black-and-white to establish a sense of Twilight Zone-esque otherworldliness but he also utilizes his limited color palette to reemphasize the importance of both artists in the creation of the song.
The video begins with a dapper David Byrne cautiously getting out of his car to inspect an unresponsive Annie Clark who happens to be lying on her back in the middle of the road. While the cinematography is magnificent and the way Byrne approaches Clark with his back hunched over is both hilarious and highly expressive, the element that strikes me the most in the introduction of Byrne and Clark’s characters is how colors contrast and complement. Unlike the extremely ham fisted Kanye West directed “Runaway” that also attempted color juxtaposition, Byrne’s gray hair and suit and Clark’s stark black hair and dress create an intriguing visual and symbolic polarity. In a world comprised of gray skies, pavement, and houses, Clark stands out as an alluring figure of mystery and possible danger.
Following a stilted dance sequence where Byrne and Clark twist as if manipulated by marionettes, Clark confessing her life story to Byrne, and the reveal that Byrne’s character might possess a dark side as well, the video reaches its climax with a final dance number rapidly cutting between night and day. At night, Clark is in her domain. Accompanied by a marching brass section, Clark’s movements become erratic as she allows her entire being to be possessed by the funk. At day, Byrne leads the duo in a robotic (in movement, not in passion) two-step before the video ends right back where it began.
Love This Giant will be out on September 10th via 4AD and Todo Mundo Records.
There are a few artists whose album announcements actually get my fingers shaking and breathing erratic. David Byrne is one of ‘em, and his forthcoming project is an exciting one.
There’s been talk of him collaborating with St. Vincent, a.k.a. musical eccentric and songstress Annie Clark, but there wasn’t any clarity as to when some material would actually drop. Well, with the first track from this collaboration coming out today, the project actually feels pretty tangible right about now.
The amount of collaborative albums Byrne has done over the years has been quite limited. Though not all of them successful, I imagine the guy doesn’t work with anybody he doesn’t think the world of, and that certainly seems to be the case with Annie considering how affectionately he speaks of his experiences enjoying her music in the press release tagged with this new track. He sounds even more excited to be creating music with her:
“Annie suggested we use a brass band rather than the typical rock ensemble—which would brilliantly solve the sound problems inherent in performing in a small joint like Housing Works. A brass band wouldn’t need mixing and could be heard acoustically in a room that size. They’d balance themselves. Easy. We’d only need vocal mics.
I loved this idea—we immediately restricted ourselves given all the possible directions we could have taken—and suggested we write some tunes based on this brass concept, just a few to see if we could actually work together and to see if we both liked the results. That was a few years ago. The writing was truly collaborative: sometimes Annie would send me some synthesized versions of brass or guitar riffs and I would arrange them a bit and write a tune and words over them; other times this process would be reversed and I would send some musical ideas to Annie for her to write over. This material would get passed back and forth—each of us adding and elaborating on it. There are songs on which one of us sang on the demo and the other ended up singing the finished version. Eventually we had a handful of songs and mutually decided that the concept was working and we would continue.”
The first track to drop from this collab, “Who,” easily justifies David’s excitement. Not only is it a new, fresh approach for either of these artists to be relying so heavily on brass to get their songs across, but the track is actually pretty, well, catchy. It’s got a steady danceable quality, which you’d expect from Byrne’s side of the aisle; however, the angular quality of some of the horn phrases seem like something Annie could draw up in a moment’s notice. Yeah, it’s all a guess as to who worked on what at this point. All I know is this is a pretty surprising collaboration that’s off to a pretty great start.
The forthcoming album will be titled Love This Giant, and it’s currently looking at a September 11th release date. You can stay in-tune with info on the LP and some tour dates through this site.
The a-side to St. Vincent’s new, non-album Record Store day 7″, and it’s a blood pumper. Between Annie Clark’s ferocious screams and the heavily distorted guitars, St. Vincent takes no prisoners on this one; reminding me of some of Kim Gordon’s more aggressive moments in the Sonic Youth discography.
There’s a really twisted chorus effect on Clark’s voice that makes her vocal delivery breach the threshold of insanity. Really short, solid, and punked out track.
Considering the nature of the song, I’m not surprised the song didn’t make it onto Strange Mercy–assuming the track was around during the time of that recording. Nah, this track is too tough to share space on the side of a record with another song. It doesn’t play well with others. I’m sure of that.
A track for the song “Cheerleader,” which comes off the latest St. Vincent album, Strange Mercy. The album made it onto my list of favorite albums from 2011, and you can check our review of it here. Look for this album now on 4AD.
A lot like the video for “Cruel,” this song’s video deals with being singled out, critiqued, controlled. The ending is just as depressing, too.