Vida is an intimate alternative and indie music festival held in the Spanish region of Catalonia. Line-up: St. Vincent and of Montreal + more
Biography – Annie Clark aka St. Vincent has been immersed in a musical background since she was a child. She grew up in Dallas, US performing theater and jazz, however her style would eventually shift in a more experimental pop direction as she began to pursue her own career as a musician.
She kept busy musically playing jazz in her high school’s band and also developed business sensibilities pertinent to the industry by acting as the touring manager for her aunt and uncle’s jazz duo Tuck & Patti. She was just a teenager when she acquired this position! Before participating as a touring musician for indie mainstays like Sufjan Stevens and the Polyphonic Spree she attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Though it was not seen as an official St. Vincent release, Annie Clark made her first EP Ratsliveonnoevilstar in 2003 while attending Berklee. On this EP she recruited the help of fellow Berklee students Mark Kelley and Walker Adams.
It wasn’t until 2006 when her moniker St. Vincent was fully realized, a name that she lifted from a Nick Cave lyric. Her first recorded work under this name “Paris is Burning” was released that year. She put out her follow up debut album “Marry Me” a year later. Like many endearing idiosyncratic artists, her music is difficult to pinpoint or ascribe a genre to. Her career spans across an eclectic range of influences and makes no attempt in segmenting these various styles. Rather they are mixed together in interesting ways and given stylistic revamping in regards to Clark’s own signature touch.
Her first album saw her honing in on her skill as a jazz musician. “Marry Me” features many songs drawing from cabaret jazz and builds off lush orchestrated sounds encompassing melodic percussive instruments like the dulcimer, xylophone, and vibraphone, brass instruments such as the trumpet and French horn, a variety of string instruments and even a choir for good measure. With each subsequent release her style seemed to diverge. Her 2009 album “Actor” saw a shift to a baroque pop type of sound. She wrote this album with the idea that it would back a Disney or Woody Allen movie. Naturally this album had a cinematic type quality featuring string swells, angelically plucked guitar, and dramatically juxtaposing lead riffs.
Her following two albums “Strange Mercy” and her self-titled release delved into mutated electronic sounds and lyrics steeped in introspection and literary abstraction. These albums consisted of subtle sonic palates disrupted by angular guitars, detuned moogs and haunting prose. Her latest release incorporated the space-like funk sounds exhibited by artists like Sun Ra and George Clinton and added a certain playful absurdity lacking on her previous albums. Despite the unconventional chord progressions and surrealist lyrics heard through out her later albums they remained highly accessible and eventually became recognized as landmark albums not only in her catalogue but in the framework of indie and pop music.
St. Vincent has wowed audiences across the globe and has managed to make converts out of many well respected and established artists, David Byrne being one of them. In 2012 she collaborated with Byrne to make the album “Love This Giant” and followed it up with a worldwide tour. She has continually redefined herself as an artist and has surprised audiences by performing an assortment of daring cover songs. She has performed works by the political post-punk band the Pop Group, the wild but nonetheless brilliant Tom Waits, and even an overtly abrasive track by Big Black. Perhaps her most famous live cover was her rendition of “Lithium” with Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic at the 29th induction of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Though St. Vincent has been an act for less than eight years she has established herself as one of the most important pop musicians of her time.
Biography – of Montreal are a psychedelic pop/electro quintet based in Georgia, U.S. and part of the celebrated Elephant Six Recording Company.
The group were established in 1996 by Kevin Barnes, the only remaining musician from the original line up. The group’s name refers to a failed relationship that Barnes experienced with a woman from Montreal. Using the experience to inspire him to create a band, he recruited Derek Almstead and Bryan Poole and together produced three albums during the latter end of the nineties.
of Montreal didn’t receive much mainstream recognition until 2007 whilst signed to Polyvinyl Records. After spending the last three years attached to label and slowly growing in popularity, the band released “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?”, their eighth project since their inception. Barnes recorded most of the material on this album with massive results as it entered the charts at #72.
Further albums proved to also be successful for the band, after they achieved back-to-back Top 40 albums with the 2008 release “Skeletal Lamping” and “False Priest” which entered the Billboard 200 at #34 in 2010; of Montreal’s highest charting album to date.
of Montreal certainly possess an individual sound that differs quite drastically from bands that you see in the charts at the moment. Although you could vaguely describe them as a pop band, they combine elements from psychedelic music and electronic to create something that is well accepted by a wide audience yet has enough edge to impress a niche of alternative music lovers.
There is much more to expect from this unique collective with “Aureate Gloom”, the 13th album in their discography, set to complete production in 2015.