Best Album of 2009…….So Far

St. Vincent – Actor


St. Vincent

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.

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3 Comments

Filed under st. vincent

3 responses to “Best Album of 2009…….So Far

  1. Pingback: Voreplay « What We Blog About When We Blog About Love

  2. I agree with the description and praise. I’d place this one at number five of my favorite albums so far this year (after Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors and Dark Was the Night).

  3. Pingback: The Albums of 2009; Or, Everything I Liked Other than “Party in the USA” « Mindless Comfort

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