Wednesday, December 30, 2009
St. Vincent - Marrow
I was reading a Bob Lefsetz review of Jamie Cullum's "All at sea" and listening to the song via Youtube, bored out of my mind by the songs performance I start to wander over to the related videos and see that Jaime also does many a cover including "Sky Cries Mary" and "High and Dry" all of which sound lifeless to me. He's emoting alright but the performances all lack a rawness that would make a song stick with you for life. If those same arrangements were sung by Sting or even Norah Jones they would have a much better chance of sticking with me, these performance just leave me flat.St. Vincent is another one of those artists, like Jamie Cullum, who's name I had heard but for what ever reason had paid no attention to (and in the case of Jamie Cullum I'm glad I had.) Ms. Annie Clark finally caught my attention not with the Letterman clip but with a performance on Austin City Limits a few months ago. I was half passed out on the bed drifting away when I was lulled into curiosity by the angelic flutes and oboe's that suddenly jarred me to attention with a full on marching band stomp.
Growing tired of Bob's selections, I searched for a palette cleanser and found this phenomenal performance of St. Vincent's "Marrow" on Letterman.
Kristen and I were unwinding for the night and I stumbled upon PBS and Austin City Limits. I'll admit I wasn't immediately taken in by St. Vincent. Like a good music snob I was half interested and half bored because I was unfamiliar with the music and exhausted, so much so I started to drift off... then it hit me, those horns and the guitar solo, the dynamics of soft and quiet to loud and explosive, the sophistication of the arrangements... it had all pulled me in, I was now fully awake and enjoying every minute of it.
The next day Kristen had downloaded the album Actor and knew everything there was to know about her. I then headed to e-music for her 1st album Mary Me and began diving head first in to the world of Annie Clark.
Annie Clark's music as St. Vincent is almost exactly what you would expect from a multi-instrumentalist who grew up in Texas, attended Berklee School of Music, joined the Polyphonic Spree just a couple years after high school and played in Sufjan Steven's touring band. She writes Pop songs, full of life, colorful arrangements and orchestration that are rough around the edges. A juxtaposition of violent guitars and sugary sweet "Birds on your shoulder" orchestral swoons. Not every song is a gem, and many come off better live than on record, but the potential here is undeniable, and Annie know's this...
It's interesting how the internet is this revolutionary thing that allows us to connect and share so much information with one another yet it took a TV appearance on public television to get me to finally pay attention. Crazy world we're living in.
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