By ADAM SAWYER
Out of Oklahoma like a shotgun shell, Annie Clark began her ascent as part of The Polyphonic Spree before moving into the national and international limelight. Having learned to play the guitar at the age of 12, she went on to study at the Berklee College of Music before creating the unique sound that is St. Vincent. Clark’s soaring vocals and fuzzy guitar allow her music to resonate between both hip and classic rock qualities–a style that is truly deserving of the title “baroque pop.”
“What Me Worry” (from Marry Me) – accompanied by Andrew Bird at La Blogothèque
“Cruel” (from Strange Mercy)
“Black Rainbow” (from Actor) – set to a clip of Fantasia
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE:
St. Vincent is a multi-talented artist who already has a good deal of diverse experience under her belt. After her initiation with The ‘Spree, Clark joined Sufjan Stevens on tour in 2006. Recently, she has made appearances in episodes of Gossip Girl and Portlandia (as well as on its national tour). Her first album, Marry Me (Beggars Banquet, 2007) was met with much critical acclaim while her second, Actor (4AD, 2009), was her big breakthrough on a commercial level. Album success is not a rare thing in this day and age, but it is when an artist popularizes a sub-genre almost single-handedly. When heard alone, the instrumentals on her songs have the potential to seem slightly disjointed, but when paired with that airy yet strong voice of hers, it’s like the best soothing cream being spread over an open wound. You may feel like crying but you will still dance, which is a combination that has become addictive for many.
It’s difficult not to applaud such creativity. It almost adds another level of mystique that she dropped out of Berklee after three years, saying that schooling can only go so far, that one needs to eventually forget that which was taught within such structure in order to really create music. Now she is known as an incomparable artist, siren and guitar goddess possessing an unearthly beauty.
IF YOU CAN:
First and foremost, check out her latest album, Strange Mercy, released in 2011 on 4AD. Clark continues her artistic development, which will one day be left for posterity. She has a way of making you feel something even if you don’t understand the meaning of what she’s saying. Hopefully you’ll be one of the lucky ones at Coachella. If not, Clark is currently touring the States until her last stop in Manchester, Tennessee on June 8 at Bonnaroo. She will then head across the pond for a European tour from June 20 (Barcelona) to August 12 (Helsinki).