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St. Vincent and David Byrne book Greek date, unveil single 'Who'

June 14, 2012 | 12:47 pm

Annie Clark at Coachella
Last year, amid a lazy summer day in New York's Washington Square Park, Annie Clark teased her next musical direction as St. Vincent. It would be loud and abrasive, and as a point of reference she noted the recent addition of Big Black's “Kerosene” to her live sets. "I didn't know I could scream like that," she said of her sudden excitement toward noise rock.

There's no screaming and no knifing guitars in the song she unveiled today, the first of her long-in-the-works, much-awaited collaboration with former Talking Heads leader David Bryne. The single, available in a free download, is entitled "Who," and it serves as a mash-up of styles that each artist has recently explored. The horn section has a polite, border-less feel -- it's world music preserved for a museum -- and Clark's splashes of manipulated guitar tones and twisted fairy-tale vocals make it less polite. 

The song is the first to surface from the pair's upcoming "Love This Giant," to be released Sept. 11 by 4AD and Byrne’s label Todo Mundo. Perhaps even more exciting is the news that the two will be pairing up for a fall tour, which will bring Byrne and Clark to the Greek Theatre on Oct. 13. Tickets go on sale June 23. A ticket price hasn't been revealed yet, but for reference, a San Diego date is priced at $65, not including service charges.

"We'll be doing these songs and a bunch of songs that we suspect people will know, with a group that includes eight brass players, a keyboardist and a drummer," Byrne said in a statement. "Love This Giant" contains 12 tracks and features a collaboration with rhythm and  soul aces the Dap-Kings and Afrobeat-centric Antibalas. 

Ten of the 12 tracks are described as full-on collaborations, and each artist also contributed one original. A brass band is said to figure heavily on the album, which is evident on the single unveiled today. Yet the star of the song is arguably John Congleton, the drummer-producer whose programmed beats slither and huff, crafting a rhythm that has the feel of pressurized air and gives the song added space. 

Listen here:

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-- Todd Martens

Photo: Annie Clark at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times 

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