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St. Vincent


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Eclectic, experimental alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, Masseduction (2017)

See also:

St. Vincent's site

Wikipedia's entry on St. Vincent

The Ectophiles' Guide's page for her collaboration with David Byrne

Comparisons:

Meg Lunney, Mimi

Receives comparisons to Regina Spektor, Joan as Police Woman, and Feist. Annie Clark has played with The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens, but those are meant as reference points more than comparisons. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Covers/own material:

Own, occasional cover and co-written

General comments:

It's one of those "bands" that's a solo act at its core. Annie Clark was a guitarist for Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens. (timjy@sbcglobal.net)

Comments about live performance:

It was daylight so the stage lights were an odd touch. We were beneath plane, helicopter and sea bird flight paths, and the salted breeze buffeted the trees and balloons.
     The band wore sunglasses, all dressed in white. Guitar, bass, drums, violin, flute, clarinet, trumpet, other brass, often processed and garbled into interesting sounds. Annie was cute: expressive eyes, fringe in eyes, slightly rambling chatter including a confession that Arrested Development DVDs are the best thing about her life at the moment (she named the album Marry me after a line in the programme—"which shows how seriously I take my art.")
     Some of the newer songs were funky slow jams, not my thing (she has been listening to Prince). I'm also not so keen on the way marching band percussion and horns give songs a cute datedness, like Sergeant Pepper's with more distortion. Nonetheless many interesting sounds and her voice is always pretty. "Marry me" was fun whimsy; "Landmines" and "All my stars aligned" were lovely; murderous closer "Your lips are red" rawked; and 'Paris is burning' was furious and gorgeous. (7/08, k_hester_k@yahoo.co.nz)

I thought she was fantastic when I saw her live, but it was the one time I've ever thought someone would actually be better in a larger venue.
     Her sound is symphonic, and it overwhelmed the tiny little room that is Schuba's in Chicago. (timjy@sbcglobal.net)

Recommended first album:

Marry Me

Recordings:


Marry Me

Release info:

2007—Beggars Banquet —BBQCD 254

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Annie Clark—voices, guitars, bass, piano, organ, moog, synthesizers, clavieta, xylophone, vibraphone, dulcimer, drum programming, triangle, percussion

Guest artists:

Daniel Hart—violin
Rick Nelson—violin, viola, cello, upright bass
Nathan Blaz—cello
Heather MacIntosh—cello
Lauren Ross—flute, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, French horn
Louis Schwadron—French horn
Mike Garson—grand piano
Merrilee Challis—choir
Jessica Grant—choir
Andrea Paschal—choir
Lester Nuby—vibraphone
Daniel Farris—choir, synthesizer, percussion
Mark Pirro—"Now, Now" bass
Al Carlson—"Landmines" sound design
Aynsley Power—"Landmines" drum programming
Brian Teasley—all drums, percussion

Produced by:

Annie Clark with Brian Teasley and Daniel Farris

Comments:

St. Vincent's Marry Me is ridiculously compelling and delightfully eccentric. One of the most captivating things I've heard in a really, really long time. I was surprised, though, that "Now, Now" is the specific song getting airplay, since it's such a risky and strange production—the movement from that children's chorus backing her (I think) and the little wash of electric guitar or electronic sound or whatever that is, into the finger-picked acoustic guitar part, then the eerie repetition of "you don't mean that, say you're sorry..." and then all of the sudden, the whole thing gets thrown into an entirely different space with that one dissonant note...
     I'm kind of obsessed. (timjy@sbcglobal.net)

St. Vincent's Marry Me is quirky and fun, and something new to enjoy. There are strange echoes of other artists (the first song, "Now Now", sounds eerily like the obscure and wonderful Meg Lunney though none of the other songs do) and the second track sounded really like Mimi. But after that...not so easy to pin down and definitely an interesting range so it adds up to her own thing. In any case, it's catchy and individual in a rather musically quiet year. One of my favourite albums of 2007. (Neile)

warped and wonderful. (meth@smoe.org)

Odd and original. At times theatrical, at times childlike. Her use of choruses reminds me of Sufjan Stevens. She takes freely from so many genres and styles that it's really hard to describe the sound of the album or even of individual songs. After many listens, I find it utterly delightful, and I'm still never sure where she's going to go next, and I love that. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Actor

Release info:

2009—4AD—CAD 2919CD

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Annie Clark—voice, guitar, bass, keys, etc.

Guest artists:

Hideaki Aomori—flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto, tenor & soprano sax
Michael Atkinson—French horn & score consultant
Daniel Hart—violin, sarongi
Mackenzie Smith—drums
Alex Sopp—flute
Paul Alexander & William Flynn—additional bass
Jeff Ryan, Matthias Bossi & Aynsley Powell—additional drums

Produced by:

John Congleton & Annie Clark

Comments:

I'm a little disappointed with Actor after Marry Me. This one just isn't quite what I'm looking to hear. (Neile)

St. Vincent's album is nice but hasn't quite connected with me like the last one yet. (jonwesleyhuff@gmail.com)

The album is a somewhat different direction from Marry Me and doesn't have the same immediate charm, but it's a great album, just took some time to grow on me. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Strange Mercy

Release info:

2011—4AD—6 52637 31232 4

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Annie Clark—vocals, guitar, keyboards

Guest artists:

Bobby Sparks—mini moog, clavinet, arp, Wurlitzer
McKenzie Smith—drum kit
Daniel Hart—violin, additional string arrangement
Evan Smith—saxophone, clarinet, flute
Brian LeBarton—additional keyboards
John Congleton—drum programming
Phil Palazzolo—additional woodwind engineering

Produced by:

John Congleton

Comments:

Easily her best work, I think. I was not enthused about Actor, her second album, but she came back from that sophomore slump in a big way, I think. Full of acoustic surprises and interesting details. I just found it delightful listening. (bowen@mac.com)

I just haven't gotten into this album. Multiple listens have taken me from active dislike to "hmm, interesting," nothing near my love for Marry Me and Actor. But this seems to be a minority opinion; I've read a bunch of rave reviews of Strange Mercy over the past year. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I just don't get this. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)

One of the best albums of the year. (jonwesleyhuff@gmail.com)


St. Vincent

Release info:

2014—Loma Vista/Republic—B0019906-02

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Annie Clark—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Homer Steinweiss—drums
Bobby Sparks—minimoog
Daniel Mintseris—synthesizer, piano, harpsichord
McKenzie Smith—drums (2, 7-9, 11)
Ralph Carney—horns
Adam Pickell—keyboards (8, 9); minimoog (9)

Produced by:

John Congleton

Comments:

Sonically it fits in between Actor and Strange Mercy, with some touches of the brass from Love This Giant. Still highly individual, but (to me) far more accessible and enjoyable than Strange Mercy. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I really want to like St. Vincent because she's an amazing person but I have difficulty adjusting to the ever-changing musical concepts in each song. I think I'd need to give these songs a LOT more space to grow on me. Rating: 47/100. Best track: "I Prefer Your Love." (raschee@gmail.com)


Further info:

Collaborations include:

  • "Roslyn" with Bon Iver on The Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack (2009)
  • "Sleep All Summer" with The National on Score! 20 Years of Merge Records—The Covers! (2009)
  • "Every Drop of Rain" with Candie Payne on David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's Here Lies Love (2010)
  • the INXS tribute Kick with Beck, Liars, and Os Mutantes (2010)
  • "Sisters of the Moon" with Craig Wedren on Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac (2012)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2017-10-11 21:45:34.
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