Captain’s Log: St. Vincent Is Back To Save The Universe

Good morning and welcome to a new edition of the Captain’s Log, a monthly-ish series in which I tell tall tales of the various indie rock, electronic and pop siren songs I heard echoed across the ocean by a chorus of whales as I navigated the briny deep with a parrot on my shoulder and a dream in my heart.  It’s been a while since we’ve gathered here to discuss new bands, so some of these are newer than others, but rest assured, I have been keeping my ears open for you.  This month’s edition is particularly important because St. Vincent, so let’s not waste any time:

St. Vincent – Birth In Reverse
This song begins, “Oh, what an ordinary day.  Take out the garbage, masturbate.”  While we have your attention, now would be a good time to tell you that Ms. Annie Clark is on a new label (Loma Vista) and will be releasing her brand new self-titled record Feb 25 (Feb 24 in the UK, where time travels faster).  According to her press release, she “…wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral.”  This first song is filled with crunching guitars and driving percussion and devolves into a curiously-timed fantastic mess of chirps and drones, so we’re already off to a good start.

Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener
If I had to put my money on one of the new artists presented in this collection, it’d be this one.  This 25-year-old Austrlian (via Melbourne) was heavily buzzed at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon, and I can’t put her double EP A Sea of Split Peas away.  Something about the spacy groove and detached confessional lyrics on “Avant Gardener” remind me in a twisted way of a darker mid-90’s Sheryl Crow, which is a serious compliment.

Joanna Gruesome – Madison
These guys get +10 points for the name, which is just as clever and enjoyable as their debut record Weird Sister.  These Welsh weirdos allegedly met in anger management, and they excel at churning out jagged, fuzzy hooks and pairing them withd charming lyrics about fighting homophobia, chasing your own mental illness around with razorblades and not going to school.

Blood Orange (f/ Samantha Urbani) – You’re Not Good Enough
Once upon a time I dated a gorgeous Sagittarius whose all-time favourite song changed approximately twice a week.  For a month or so, she was really into Samantha Urbani’s band Friends, which meant that I listened to them constantly in an effort to understand the inner workings of this fickle girl’s brain.  When she inevitably dumped me a few weeks later in search of new adventures, all I had left was a bruised ego and a couple of Spotify playlists.  Certainly coulda used this Prince-inspired track from Dev Hynes’ project Blood Orange, but I’ll be sure to keep it on hand for future breakups.  Blood Orange’s new record Cupid Deluxe is filled with the smooth R&B sounds Dev’s poured into his other projects (like a little singer named Solange you might have heard of), but with a spirit that’s uniquely his.

Anna Calvi – Piece By Piece
If you like the swagger of PJ Harvey mixed with the earnestness of the softer, more emotional Yeah Yeah Yeahs songs, I have a feeling you will have positive feelings about Anna Calvi’s new record One Breath.  I could not decide which song I liked the most (because I am deeply in love with all of them) so I am presenting you with one of the stranger tracks, which burrows itself into your brain atop stumbling percussion, whispery vocals and the occasional string section (?!).  Check out the record’s other standout track “Cry” – I think One Breath may be the last of my favourite records from 2013.


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Stef Schwartz is a founding member and the self-appointed Vapid Fluff Editor at She currently resides in New York City, where she spends her days writing songs nobody will ever hear and her nights telling much more successful musicians what to do. Follow her on twitter and/or instagram.

Stef has written 464 articles for us.


  1. i have never listened to st. vincent before but my girlfriend is in love with her so i am making a concentrated effort to appreciate her. this new song makes for an easy beginning in that task.

  2. uuuuuugh yes the new st. vincent! the first time i listened to it i immediately had to pause and go back to make sure i heard that first line correctly. and then i googled just to be sure after that. this is so promising for the full release. so very promising.

    also Blood Orange is too funky. I put on Blood Orange when i’m trying to be impressive. it works.

  3. this is an excellent captain’s log. it is timely and appropriate and has led me through the high seas of today extremely well.

    also it is time to try this new gif thing, here goes:

  4. I’m pretty sure St. Vincent has been my most listened-to artist of 2013 (I should check my, and that’s without there being any new material. She’s a goddamned genius. Can’t wait for this album.

  5. Last time I saw St.Vincent was 2 years ago on the “Love this Giant” Tour, it was AMAZING. I’m so ready for the new album.

    Also LOVING Anna Calvi’s new album…I would suggest starting with her debut (produced by Brian Eno, DUDE)then onto “One Breath”..

    Two super beastly, babely guitarists

  6. Today I was listening to “Birth in Reverse” alone by myself in a high school classroom because I substitute teach for my job, and the first line played and I was like, “WELL thank god no one is around to question my judgment because it’s the teacher’s prep period, but also OH MY GOD this is awesome.”

    tl;dr — GO ANNIE CLARK ILU.

  7. i love st. vincent, but part of me always wishes i could hear her as produced by steve albini or something. she’s such a fucking fierce guitarist, and, to me, her recordings never seem to give her guitar playing sharp enough teeth. that said, yay new song, yay upcoming new album.

    • i agree. i like her current producer a lot, but i feel like whenever he has to choose between “soft” and “spiky” he chooses the former too many times. it’s really too bad because she’s so interesting (musically, socially, etc.) as a balance of both.

      also, you’ve probably already seen this but in case you haven’t, this is her pretending to BE steve albini. almost as good.

  8. I feel I must be missing something. The only thing on here I liked was Anna Calvi’s “Piece by Piece”. Couldn’t really get into St. Vincent that everyone else is raving about. But thank you for introducing me to Anna. I will have to download One Breath immediately.

    • it’s super hard to pick out stuff everyone will like, but i’m really glad you liked the anna calvi song!

  9. There is a St. Vincent party going on rn and I’m wondering why/how I haven’t heard this before. So good.

  10. Hi, Autostraddle staff? It’s me, A.

    I would really love it if you guys “The Autostraddle Interview’d” Annie Clark. If you guys need to sweeten the pot for her, I’ll take one for the team and date her. Nononono, don’t worry, it’s cool. I don’t have a lot going on right now and, you know, I so value this community; we all have to contribute.

    I just want to help. Lemme know. Call me.

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