The Needle Drop

David Byrne & St. Vincent- "Who"

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MP3: David Byrne & St. Vincent- "Who" There are a few artists whose album announcements actually get my fingers shaking and breathing erratic. David Byrne is one of 'em, and his forthcoming project is an exciting one.

There's been talk of him collaborating with St. Vincent, a.k.a. musical eccentric and songstress Annie Clark, but there wasn't any clarity as to when some material would actually drop. Well, with the first track from this collaboration coming out today, the project actually feels pretty tangible right about now.

The amount of collaborative albums Byrne has done over the years has been quite limited. Though not all of them successful, I imagine the guy doesn't work with anybody he doesn't think the world of, and that certainly seems to be the case with Annie considering how affectionately he speaks of his experiences enjoying her music in the press release tagged with this new track. He sounds even more excited to be creating music with her:

"Annie suggested we use a brass band rather than the typical rock ensemble—which would brilliantly solve the sound problems inherent in performing in a small joint like Housing Works. A brass band wouldn't need mixing and could be heard acoustically in a room that size. They'd balance themselves. Easy. We'd only need vocal mics.

I loved this idea—we immediately restricted ourselves given all the possible directions we could have taken—and suggested we write some tunes based on this brass concept, just a few to see if we could actually work together and to see if we both liked the results. That was a few years ago. The writing was truly collaborative: sometimes Annie would send me some synthesized versions of brass or guitar riffs and I would arrange them a bit and write a tune and words over them; other times this process would be reversed and I would send some musical ideas to Annie for her to write over. This material would get passed back and forth—each of us adding and elaborating on it. There are songs on which one of us sang on the demo and the other ended up singing the finished version. Eventually we had a handful of songs and mutually decided that the concept was working and we would continue."

The first track to drop from this collab, "Who," easily justifies David's excitement. Not only is it a new, fresh approach for either of these artists to be relying so heavily on brass to get their songs across, but the track is actually pretty, well, catchy. It's got a steady danceable quality, which you'd expect from Byrne's side of the aisle; however, the angular quality of some of the horn phrases seem like something Annie could draw up in a moment's notice. Yeah, it's all a guess as to who worked on what at this point. All I know is this is a pretty surprising collaboration that's off to a pretty great start.

The forthcoming album will be titled Love This Giant, and it's currently looking at a September 11th release date. You can stay in-tune with info on the LP and some tour dates through this site.