St. Vincent – Actor
Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, is a damned siren, constantly singing me to shipwreck. Well, maybe not “ship”wreck, but wreck is still accurate. I’ve been playing her new record Actor in my car non-stop for a few months, and it never fails that I’ll get so into her nasty guitar work, or mist up over her piano plinky plinks, that I’ll nearly veer into a guardrail or other moving vehicles. She is entrancing, hypnotizing, and she will cause my death, whether it’s literal or if my heart figuratively bursts.
I forgive her for being a former member of The Polyphonic Spree (gross), but she more than made up for that nonsense by touring with Sufjan Stevens for a while. Either way you slice it, I suppose, she’s got indie cred out the wazoo, and now, most certainly, she is making a name for herself. When Marry Me (titled in tribute to Maeby Funke) came out in 2007, I was immediately hooked. Here was an unmistakably beautiful woman making sonically disturbing yet gorgeous music. This is a recipe for immediate success, no? But she didn’t seem to take off. The reviews were there, but she wasn’t getting Bon Iver-like press. Is it her lack of a beard? A strong, male falsetto? I mean, she has the “I’m one person, but I’m still giving myself a band name” thing going on as well. But whatever, she just wasn’t getting the same acclaim, for whatever reason.
But now I think things are starting to turn in her direction. The oddly pompous but still musically relevant jaggoffs over at Pitchfork gave the new album a fantastic score. The best record shop in Cincinnati, Shake It Records, seems to have it posted on every single listening station in the store. And a few nights ago, she made her network television debut on the a little show called Late Night with David Letterman. Yeah, no big deal:
That horn section is just filthy. My only complaint is you don’t see a good display of her guitar work. The girl is a maestro. She puts her whole body into her playing, and it’s a sight to behold. For a good contrast of her music, take a quick listen to “The Party” here.
What this boils down to is I think St. Vincent is going to be around for a while. I was worried the first album would be a one-time thing, and she’d then return to being a nameless guitarist for a bigger act. She may not headline a day at Coachella, but she’ll certainly continue to churn out brilliant music. So go out and find either of her two records. Neither will disappoint. Hopefully some of you caught a show when she played at The Southgate House and The Dame a few weeks back (I missed both shows because I’m a complete asshole). And if you did, let me know how great it was, so I can hang myself in a closet. See? I told you she’d cause my death.
UPDATE: CBS took down the Letterman performance, so here’s the lady on Jimmy Kimmel. I think this is a better performance anywho.