St. Vincent/Shearwater

Following her tour-opening performance last fall at the Walker, this is the second coming of St. Vincent locally behind her third album, Strange Mercy, a complex, multi-dimensional musical playground of contrasting textures, helixial rhythms, and emotional ambiguity that has solidified her critical and popular rep. As St. Vincent, Texas singer-songwriter and guitar wiz Annie Clark experiments with yin-yang, fire-and-ice art pop that juxtaposes noisy industrial rock with ethereal folk angst, shredded electric guitar with electronic atmospherics that drift from psychedelia to moody lullabies, the ominous with the surreal. A slippery kind of anxiety lurks throughout, with Clark's almost laconic croon etching unsettling tableaux while the instruments — on "Chloe in the Afternoon," for example — fret, buck, and lash out with suppressed rage. Shearwater build an epic, brooding, portentous sound on their latest, Animal Joy. The group members densely layer grand swaths of echoing guitars and looming keyboards over drummer Thor Harris's thunderous pulse. Jonathan Meiburg's high tenor-to-falsetto, meanwhile, roams majestically amid the grandeur, delivering metaphoric declarations on the nature of humans' animal instincts in a stormy context that suggests a mythological quest, complete with a basilisk. 18+ (Photo by Tina Tyrell)
Sat., May 12, 6 p.m., 2012

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