“St. Vincent tells SPIN that she holed up in Seattle last fall to write the material for Strange Mercy. ‘[Death Cab for Cutie drummer] Jason McGerr had an office that was closing. He offered me the space for a month, for all of October. I was alone. I stayed at the Ace Hotel downtown, in one of the rooms with a shared bathroom,’ she says.
‘I would just get up in the morning and caffeinate, and run, and go to the studio for 12 hours,’ she says, ‘come back, eat dinner alone with a book, have a glass of wine, and go to bed. And do it all over again.’”
"Chloe in the Afternoon" is a stunning opener, vaguely sinister and frankly kinky, serving notice of the album’s intense candor and darkling tone. "Cruel" is St. Vincent you can dance to, like some phantasmagorical Abba track. The aqueous confessional "Cheerleader" is the thematic touchstone; Clark is just not going to politely mince words (or sounds) anymore. "Surgeon" blurs the line between summer daze and barbiturate haze, its suave ’60s Euro-pop miraculously morphing into a slinky disco inferno, keyboards dissolving into a blaze of hysteria. The heartbreaking "Strange Mercy" is an almost Hendrixy ballad, the album’s soulful core, strong at a broken place.
Strange Mercy is what happens when the very picture of elegance and poise confronts turmoil and grief: You can either gaze in mute despair at those pieces lying on the floor, or you can make something beautiful, even transcendent out of them, but only by confronting yourself. “Marry Me is very cute — it’s funny and sarcastic, and that’s fine, I was 22 and that’s who I was,” Clark says. “And Actor was cerebral — not that I would have known how to do it any differently — but I’ve grown beyond that now. I want to make a record that’s more human every time.” (4AD)
do you happen to know if any tracks from strange mercy have leaked? thanks!
Nope! I read somewhere she will be debuting new tracks at the first ever rooftop concert in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art on August 2. Hopefully we’ll get to hear some stuff then.
10/2 - Minneapolis, MN @ McGuire Theatre 10/3 - Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater 10/5 - Chicago, IL @ Metro 10/6 - St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House 10/7 - Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall 10/8 - Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater 10/10 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge 10/12 - Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom 10/13 - Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre 10/14 - Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom 10/18 - Los Angeles, CA @ Music Box 10/20 - Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom 10/23 - Dallas, TX @ Kessler Theater 10/24 - Austin, TX @ Moody Theater at ACL Live 10/25 - Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s 10/26 - New Orleans, LA @ TBA 10/28 - Atlanta, GA @ The EARL 10/30 - Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater 11/1 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club 11/2 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer 11/3 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall 11/4 - Boston, MA @ Royale
"A lot of the songs are about wanting to be fixed in some way," Clark says, "or about loss." The powerful emotions prompted — demanded, really — not just a bracingly candid lyrical style but a new musical approach. St. Vincent’s acclaimed 2007 debut album Marry Me was created almost entirely on a laptop; the exquisite follow-up, 2009’s Actor, was a collection of arrangements fashioned into ornately structured songs. Strange Mercy is different. "I just wrote the songs first and didn’t worry about the embellishments," says Clark. "On the last album, I could play about three songs by myself on guitar. On this album, I can play every song that way."
The new album is said to be more guitar oriented than Clark’s past releases and feature less of the odd instrumentation that helped Actor stand out among other album releases during 2009.
"I wanted to make things direct and immediate," Clark says. "I didn’t tinker. I tried to keep the arrangements pretty simple and use just enough instrumentation to get the point across. I didn’t want anything to get in the way."(via)