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A new talent rising

St. Vincent
Turner Hall
Milwaukee, WI
February 17, 2010
St. Vincent St. Vincent St. Vincent

Story and photos by Matt Schwenke

Upon first glance, Annie Clark could be mistaken for another attractive female vocalist placed at the lead of a band with a guitar as little more than a prop for the stage, but just seconds into her Turner Hall performance, Clark's ability to shred apart a guitar while singing ever so softly made for an indelible mark of unique talent.

The Actor, Clark's sophomore release under the moniker St. Vincent, continues her intriguing songwriting trend of injecting prog rock and indie pop into the same vein, and in the new tunes "Actor Out of Work" and "Marrow," Clark delivered a powerful Garbage-like mash of crunchy distortion and pop hook. In a decidedly different tone, the dreamy "Just the Same But Brand New" and the sedate "The Party" put a gentle folk sound into the mix with Clark's voice and songwriting taking the lead. Other notables from the new album included the sinewy whirlwind of "The Neighbors" and the glimmering "Save Me From What I Want."

Often intently focused on the stage during her show, Clark opened up to the crowd a few times between songs, commenting on the hospitality she has been show in Milwaukee and later announcing that she has been listening to Ice Cube a lot lately, particularly his 1993 hit "It Was A Good Day." Musing that she wanted to find her own "dark, folksy, analog" to that "very good day" that Ice Cube raps about, Clark segued into "I Went Out Walking," which is her version of the oft-covered Jackson Browne tune "These Days" and most closely resembles Nico's introspective take on the song. While Clark's new material is certainly a step forward from her first album, the plodding oddity "Jesus Saves, I Spend" and the trippy cacophony of "Paris Is Burning" from Marry Me still stood out amongst the new material with striking control of guitar and voice, and as she continues to expand on her collective body of work, her show will only become more exciting and dynamic.

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