“If Actor smothered Clark’s darker self under a permasmile of Disney sunshine symphonic pop, Strange Mercy is an ecstasy of release. There’s a breathless, sultry sense of sex pervading the record, from the striking fetishistic art cover to the opening track Chloe in the Afternoon, an electrifying S&M fantasy based on Eric Rohmer’s 1972 film of the same title. “I’ve always been drawn to the subversive. I think power and how to wield power is an interesting thing to unpack. And the dynamics of power, be it in a sexual context, or general life, is interesting to me.” Her recent frenetic, shred-heavy covers of Big Black’s Bad Penny and Kerosene seem to fit in with that direction, given Big Black’s consistent interest in the most violent and unpleasant expressions of power relationships. Those songs also let her explode in a way her own songs perhaps do not. “I was in rehearsal the whole weekend,” she said. “We were playing a song – Northern Lights, I think – and I had a real guitar moment,” she says. “My keyboard player just looked at me and said, ‘Annie, why are you so angry?’ He was kidding, of course, but there are few outlets that let you really sort out your head without hurting anybody.”
November 1st: NPR live webcast of St. Vincent's concert in Washington, D.C.
Live Tuesday: St. Vincent In Concert
Hear The Full Show, Live From Washington, D.C., Beginning At 9:30 p.m. ET
Clark’s latest record, which she’ll showcase in a full concert — webcast live on NPR Music on Tuesday, Nov. 1 — is the cryptically titled ‘Strange Mercy’. The performance, from Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club, will begin streaming on NPR Music at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET.
I couldn’t! I went through pages of the Playlists by Artists section to bookmark it for future listens but then I got tired. So I just favorited her tweets with the links instead. Here is the first playlist link for future reference.
Austinist: So you’ve been working under the St. Vincent name, obviously, and I was wondering, since years have passed, how you feel now about going by that name or whether you think you’ll do a Bill Callahan thing sometime down the road and go by what your mom calls you?
Annie: Right. “Annie.” “Anne Erin”—that was my mom talking!
But I don’t feel any kind of confusion or schizophrenic divide between St. Vincent and Annie Clark. It doesn’t feel like I’ve created some crazy character that I have to live up to and that at one point I’ll have to out-grow it and have to shed my skin and be the real me. No, I feel pretty at peace with it. And the fact is that I like having another name. I like to give the music and what I work under another name because I think, even just subtly and psychically, you give yourself a little more license and you just create a little bit of creative space for that, for what you do. And now it kind of has a life of its own in terms of, I don’t know, it’s sweet.