Musicheads Essentials: St. Vincent

St. Vincent
St. Vincent performing live at the State Theater. April 3, 2014 (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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March is Women's History Month. To celebrate, each weekday this month we'll be spotlighting a different artist with special coverage on air and online. For Thursday, March 5, we're shining a light on St. Vincent.

St. Vincent, a.k.a. Annie Clark, is important because she's an instrumental virtuoso, a terrific songwriter, and an aesthetic icon all at the same time.

After spending a few years touring with Sufjan Stevens and the Polyphonic Spree, St. Vincent released a pair of albums — Marry Me (2007) and Actor (2009) — that could be described as noir-ish, ranging from bleak character studies to short bursts of rock.

Clark is one of the greatest contemporary guitarists. This become more apparent with her 2011 release Strange Mercy, which took the the ideas of the original alternative and/or rock music and melted them down into something even more vivid.

It was definitely a meeting of iconoclastic visionaries when St. Vincent collaborated with David Byrne in 2012 for a dance record with horns: Love This Giant, which was then followed by a tour together.

St. Vincent changed her playbook yet again in 2014. It was her biggest commercial success to date, and won her a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album — only the second woman to win the award for solo work. She followed that, in 2017, with Masseduction.

St. Vincent has proven to be one of the most powerful and distinctive artists of the 21st century.

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