St. Vincent - St. Vincent

St. Vincent’s self-titled fourth LP, out 2/25/14, will also be her major label debut. The album is coming not on longtime home 4AD, but via Universal subsidiary Republic/Loma Vista. The first single “Birth In Reverse,” which was teased in that tour announcement we posted last month, is now available to stream in full below.

(You can download the song in exchange for an email address here.)

St. Vincent was recorded with Actor/Strange Mercy/Love This Giant producer John Congleton and features percussion from Homer Steinweiss (Dap-Kings) and McKenzie Smith (Midlake). “I knew the groove needed to be paramount,” Annie Clark says in the press release.” I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.”

Over the weekend Clark shared bits of the new St. Vincent logo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. When you pieced them together, you got the StV motif seen on the album cover above.

A few weeks ago St. Vincent received Smithsonian’s 2013 Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts category. In an interview with the magazine she discussed recording this new album while staying at her mom’s house outside of Dallas:

I approach my work as I would a day job. If you’re a writer, you have to write. If you’re a musician, you have to make music. I wrote a lot of this new record in a shed behind my friend’s house in South Austin. I would go out there every morning like I was going to work. I wanted to go someplace to write that wasn’t New York. It was February and I wanted to be somewhere warm. When I wrote Strange Mercy, I did something similar in Seattle.

Watch the Ingenuity Awards’ video profile of Clark below.

And below is some audience footage of her Love This Giant collaborator David Byrne’s speech. He wrote on his blog that he had prepared notes, but abandoned them at the last minute.

Here’s the St. Vincent tracklist:
01 “Rattlesnake”
02 “Birth In Reverse”
03 “Prince Johnny”
04 “Huey Newton”
05 “Digital Witness”
06 “I Prefer Your Love”
07 “Regret”
08 “Bring Me Your Loves”
09 “Psychopath”
10 “Every Tear Disappears”
11 “Severed Crossed Fingers”

St. Vincent is out 2/25 via Republic/Loma Vista.

Comments (56)
  1. I can dig it

  2. St Vincent will probably make one day a crazy record that will be super-divisive and I can’t wait for it because I think she needs to get out of her comfort zone. Thank God, this is one might just be it.

    • Yeah I’m hoping for that too. I think she’s a real talent with vision, although I’ve found some of her past work a little much on the cerebral side for me, stuff to admire more than enjoy. You can never pin her down, although the more she shreds the better. Shredding over a groove could be quite nice. Not sure about the lady gaga look, though.

      • Man. I LOVE the look. It’s bold and suprising coming from her.

      • The pic makes her look like some sort of sci-fi supervillian–which is really weird to consider while watching her interviews and her demeanor therein.

      • Her look is both shocking and completely predictable. Making people uncomfortable has always been a dominant part of her style and “attraction”. She never has gone over the top, and I don’t feel she has now either. But she has always presented herself as being a little bit alien. And has always seemed a little dangerous in an indescribable way.

        She has always been someone that I was extremely attracted to, but I felt that if she ever got me alone in a room she would open her mouth to show a row of shark teeth and a wad of forking tongues. And no one would ever hear the screams. And if they did, it would be hard to tell if they were cries of fear or ecstasy.

        • The picture above focuses on the hips which is nice and also emphasizes St. Vincent as keyhole. Shape of a keyhole, and we are all keys, is the message.

    • I don’t think she has a big enough audience to be superdivisive. It would be better if she made an awesome record that gains her a huge audience, then cuts the superdivisive album. Your thoughts?

      • Do you really think she’s the kind of artist who could make such a huge audience record? I feel that’s unlikely to happen: I think she has still a lot of awesome records in her, but she’s just too bonkers and idiosyncratic to gain such a big audience. Nevertheless, I think that her studio records show a tamed version of all her amazing creativity. Oh St Vincent, such a puzzling beautiful terrifying little genius.

        • You may be right, but I think she has the talent and sticktoitness to do it. In the end it would mainly be luck, like all classic albums. But it could happen.

    • i feel this. i saw her on the strange mercy tour and when she did “krokodil” she got all manic and up in the crowd and i wanted to love it but it felt slightly contrived and “omg i’m craaazy what am i going to do next”. and i think she’s on the precipice of turning that corner. sort of like the one natalie portman turned at the end of “black swan”.

      • Good comparison. St. Vincent does have a bit of a Natalie Portman thing going. NAtalie Portman, ultimately, is not really an actree, cannot act her way out of a paper bag, but nonetheless is a start. Now St. Vincent is nonetheless a pretty awesome musician, but nonetheless, can she make a truly great album that justifies our attention? In the music world, you cannot take a crap on the floor of the corner office and call it art, like NP in Black Swan, instead in this world you must actually make something that is truly awesome to really make a difference.

  3. First track sounds like it has promise, but I hate hearing tracks for the first time staring at a computer. Feel like I should blast this one….

    • good call. I’m declaring a moratorium on reading or watching any of the rollout stuff. I’m going to wait until I get the whole album to listen to any of it. Will you join me?

  4. Bolder, punchier, and more reflective of her live performance. If I wasn’t already stoked for a new St. Vincent album, consider me double stoked.

  5. Only caught her when she worked with David Byrne, but this is pretty damn good. I’m going to have to get her discography….

  6. I would’ve been perfectly happy with 11 cruel but this is sounding promising! The artwork is also pretty badass. Bit upset she has gone major though:( 4AD rules but if this helps her to reach a wider audience then I’m happy!

  7. This is growing on me,but I honestly don’t think it holds up to Strange Mercy. Maybe I just need tow arm up to her… peppier(?) sound.

    But “Actor” and “Strange Mercy” were both AOTY for me in their respective years, and she is my absolute fave live act right now. So I have a feeling I’ll come around.

  8. take out the garbage, masturbate?

  9. The thought of her taking out the garbage is soooo hot.

  10. Love it! It reminds me of Drums and Wires-era XTC.

  11. Weird to think this will be her 4th solo album and 5th total. I still think of her as a “new” artist even though I first remember hearing her back in 2006.

  12. She is so Gangsta ;)

  13. Man, That Performance of Krokodil On That Boat, Rubs Me The Right Way

  14. The last thing we need is a two months long album rollout cycle a la Reflektor. It will completely kill all interest in the album and only bring to surface St. Vincent’s flaws.

    I hereby declare a moratorium on all Stereogum posts re: St. Vincent new album, in order to preserve her sacred buzz.

  15. Man, the Stereogum writers are going to spend about five thousand words X 20 about the lyrics in this song: “take out the trash/ master bait”

  16. Corerection: Rubbed*

  17. One possible avenue to pursue on this issue: a top 50 list of masturbation songs?

  18. Wouldn’t It Be Mad If She Strikes a Balance Between Krokodil and Kruel

  19. this is going to take me a bit for me to get into.

    • dog, both of your names are euphemisms for penis. And you can’t muster some kind of masturbation joke about this song and your feelings about it? Thumbs down.

  20. does anyone think St. Vincent needs a producer? I think that’s what keeping her from really breaking things open. I think this is a great song, but it’s held back by it’s St. Vincent-ness, a bit cobbled together as if constructed using loops or something (and I know it wasn’t, but it just sounds that way).

    • It’s totally fine if you don’t know that John Congleton helped produced her last three albums (that’s including Love This Giant) or for that matter who John Congleton is. He is more known for his engineering but I promise you that he is doing a fan-fucking-tastic job with St. Vincent and it would appear that she agrees (to my ears it sounds like he is continuing to work with her on the new album as well).

      Check out Congleton’s list of album credits on allmusic or just type his name into npr to read a profile on him. His work is pretty subtle but his production, mixing, and engineering share similar qualities that I like in the work of Steve Ablini and Dave Sitek. I could try to explain that a bit further but I (would probably sound dumb and) trust that your ears work enough to not worry about comparisons and just listen to some damn good music. I recommend all of the aforementioned St. Vincent albums (of course) the new Black Joe Lewis album, the new Thao & the Get Down Stay Down album, the new Anna Calvi album, and Lisbon by the Walkmen.

      • Thank you. I honestly did not know that she worked with a producer. I had the impression that she worked alone with computers on her albums, using a lot of midi, and had live musicians come in as needed. So this is news. Where I got this idea I don’t know. I remember reading a few articles, maybe watching some youtube vids, about Strange Mercy.

        Nonetheless, my point stands. St. Vincent needs a creative producer who could add something fierce and interesting and enlarging to the songs rather than simply helping to realize St. Vincent’s vision. There needs to be some antagonism I think to get her to the next level of true rock excellence.

        I think Dirty Projectors suffer from the same quality of great songs that haven’t quite been elevated to the next level due to overcontrol by the artists/lack of strong-willed creative producer.

    • yeahhh I agree. Needs a more natural drum sound.

  21. Man I dunno. Its getting into a little into NIN territory for me. I love Actor, Its one of my favorite albums ever. But some of Strange Mercy got too 70s prog rock for me… this seems to be going further down that territory… the faux shock of the masturbate line is kinda.. dumb.. too…

    I sort of wish she’d get away from congleton… a more natural drum sound would help the normal rock songs sound less cheesy to me. It worked in the context of all the orchestration on Actor but… ehhh its getting a little much for me here… made Dillittant sound like ‘because i got high’ on her last….

    • the drums almost sound like midi drums. very precise, very looped-souding. It’s verging on Talking Heads monotony in the drums dept.

      The lesson that this Congleton fellow and Annie have failed to learn is that bands focused on guitar players are always improved by drummers that play to the guitar player, rather drummers who simply lay down a groove for the entire band.

      St. Vincent needs a Mitch Mitchell and not a John Bonham.

  22. Yeah, she needs a strong-willed producer who won’t play to the St. Vincentness wonky kind of looped-sounding urrrness. Needs to get something recording where she has a live grooving feel. For all St. Vincent’s greatness she lacks groove. If she can find groove, with help of a producer, she could make something legendary.

  23. I love this vid: St. Vincent just has a great look. Looks cool onstage.

  24. Every so often I hear a song, and I thinks, “Golly, this would have made a TITTY of a Strokes song.” Thought it with “I Will,” thought it again here.

    Didn’t think it with “50/50.”

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