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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
St. Vincent
Marry Me
Beggars Banquet

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


September 14, 2007
After stints as a guitarist and backup harmonizer for both the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' tours respectively, Annie Clark has finally stepped out into the spotlight on her own with Marry Me. Having dubbed her one-woman show St. Vincent, Clark has settled into the role of solo artist nicely, her 11-track debut pushing the limits of complex beauty and unique instrumentation. Seemingly inspired by Kate Bush, Clark's output as St. Vincent makes the often-awkward sounding singing style of Ms. Bush sound just as complex, but more clean and gorgeous than ever before.

While in Portland earlier this spring I happened to catch a St. Vincent set when Clark was opening a string of John Vanderslice dates and was knocked down by her sound and live show. With no backing band, just a few loops from the sound technician, Clark's power as a songwriter was palpable, and that night St. Vincent went down as one of the greatest one-person electric performers I had ever seen. Although physically small, Clark's sound is anything but petite.

Marry Me's stage is set with "Now, Now," a song that ends with a repeated chorus of "You Don't Need To Say You're Sorry" and is a great, proud stance on enjoying the unique sound St. Vincent is creating. There are no apologies necessary for this wonderful debut album. Marry Me turns from mellow prettiness to intense insanity around every corner, Clark's penchant for tweaking sounds so as to make the most out of her one-person show on full display, and it all works well for her. St. Vincent has a great way of making hushed moments dramatic, demanding attention and drawing listeners in before pulling the rug out from under their feet with cascades of sounds and effects. I kind of hate to use Tori Amos as a comparison, but the believable drama Amos has produced behind the piano (as opposed to the usual mellow-drama and overdramaticism of most of her work) could be seen as a parallel to the believable, dramatic and fun tendencies of St. Vincent and her giant guitar.

Seeing Clark play these songs live is a great experience as well. A beautiful and seemingly shy and non-confrontational girl of slight build, her guitar looks enormous in her small hands. Once she starts in with her songs, however, the mood shifts. Her fire is exposed, the little innocent-looking girl overcome by a crazed look in her eye - the kind of crazy that is best expressed with a guitar and a microphone. When introducing her album's title song, Clark dedicated it to Vanderslice and then told everyone that she will take pity on whoever it is that decides to marry her. "I know it's not going to be an easy job," she said, aloof to the line of indie rock boys ready to take the challenge.

You know there is crazy under all her words and notes. She may look like fun, but she's a handful.

Reviewed by Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he\'s afraid of really growing up.

See other reviews by Bob Ladewig

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