Release Rader: St. Vincent – Masseduction

I have a lot of new music queued up this week starting with a new album/mini-album? from young Led Zep Michigan band Greta Van Fleet with “From The Fires” – interested to see where this young band is headed even though half the tracks are from their previous EP.  Noise/pop rockers Sleigh Bells also have a new 8 track mini-album out titled “Kid Kruschev” – always interested to hear what this band is working on.  The early music recorded by Minneapolis legends Husker Du was packaged together and released today – 69 tracks featured on “Savage Young Du” (I’m not bothering with the umlauts).  Yacht rock band Tennis have a new EP “We Can Die Happy”.   Hardcore legends Quicksand have a blistering new album out titled “Interiors”.  Up and coming indie rockers Bethlehem Steel have an excellent new release “Party Naked Forever”.  Finally, Royal Blood has a 2 track Spotify sessions out on Spotify which features a cover of “My Sharona” – worth a listen.
Annie Clark who records as St. Vincent dropped an excellent new album a few weeks ago titled “Masseduction”.  For those of you not familiar with her, she is a multi-talented musician/songwriter who incorporates rock, electronic, jazz and even classical touches into her music.  She has also recently dabbled in directing, finishing one segment of a horror anthology.  St. Vincent was born in Oklahoma but grew up in Dallas, TX.  The guitar prodigy started playing at the age of 12.  Her uncle is Tuck Andress, who played in a popular jazz duo Tuck & Patti.  She spent some time touring with his band while she was a teenager.  After high school, she attended the Berklee School of Music.  She recorded some EPs with fellow students while there, but eventually dropped out after 3 years to join the band Polyphonic Spree.  After two years with this band, she left to be part of Sufjan Stevens’ backing band.  It was at this point that she adopted the stage name of St. Vincent.  After a year with Stevens, she left to start her solo career.  Her initial solo album “Marry Me” was well-received by critics.  After she switched labels from Beggars Banquet to 4AD, her sophomore album “Actor” got even more attention.  Strong critical success and impressive live performances vaulted her from indie success to mainstream success.  After her 3rd album “Strange Mercy” came out in 2011, St. Vincent collaborated with David Byrne and they recorded an album that came out the following year.  She ended up touring with Byrne to support their album.  Her 4th album, which was S/T came out in early 2014 and she continued to evolve her sound and stage presence (including winning a Grammy for Best Alternative Album).  Using choreography and more electronics in her sound, she created a very unique musical experience and continued to build on her reputation.  That brings us to today, where she worked with Jack Antonoff who co-produced her current album “Masseduction”.  St. Vincent continues to innovate her sound.  She has a custom guitar she designed that is available for sale via Ernie Ball Music Man.  Her main intent was to make a lightweight guitar that could easily be played by either gender.  She also incorporates a lot of effects into her guitar playing, often it almost sounds like a synthesizer.  St. Vincent is composing some very interesting music, and coupled with her interesting stage presentation, her live performances can never be called pedestrian or repetitive.  I’m looking forward to seeing her when she’s playing here in March.  As her sound continues to evolve on “Masseduction”, you’ll hear bigger and poppier music but still containing plenty of complexity that becomes apparent over time.  There’s wistfulness, anxiety, desperation and even a little funk thrown into the album.  And you continue to pick up on new elements in these songs with repeated listening.  It’s an album definitely worth checking out.  Here are four tracks from “Masseduction”. (that’s not actually her photographed on the album cover if you were curious)
Los Ageless – Great song title – this track highlights some interesting sounds she gets from her guitar and features a memorable chorus “how could anybody have you, how could anybody have you and lose you, how could anybody have you and lose you and not lose their mind”.
New York (explicit) – One of the initial singles, I initially was a little indifferent about this track but it has definitely grown on me after hearing it a number of times.  One of the slower tracks on the album, it features some very nice vocals from St. Vincent and is more piano-focused.   
Pills (explicit) – One of the quirkiest songs on the album, it features a memorable and catchy chorus.  There are also some interesting sounds on this track.  Fitting statement about today’s society.  Plus some saxophone from Kamasi Washington at the end.
“Masseduction” – The title track features some prominent guitar licks from St. Vincent and once again, a memorable chorus.  This is an example of how she skillfully blends electronic sounds and her guitar into a cohesive piece of music. 

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