Not a dull month for Tipitina's in the least. After last night's breathless Phoenix-led introduction to a month of solid lineups from worthy national acts, Saturday brings a dose of heady pop from two of indie rock's finest handlers: Andrew Bird and St. Vincent.
There's been much ado about Mr. Bird this year he's carrying a wirldwind tour in support of an acclaimed album. This will be his stop No. 3 in New Orleans this year; gigs at House of Blues and Preservation Hall preceded his duty as the Tip's headliner.
And then there's the opening act. Following a stint in the polymembered, polyinstrumental, polygenre Polyphonic Spree and touring alongside maestro Sufjan Stevens, Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) set out on her own, diving into a blisspopping, harmonious melange of finely tuned orchestral pop and her carcrashing guitars. This year's Actor (4AD) features Clark's airy, rosy-cheeked vocal power above sleek grooves with a French twee twist the sort of beauty one would expect to come from an expertly executed exercise in soundtracking. Clark rented dozens of films and drafted imaginary scores while in self-imposed Brooklyn exile (cue the saxophone squawk-a-long in "Actor Out of Work"). The cinematic (crescendo-fied strings, bells and whistles) plays comfortably beside the pop sensibilities Clark perfected under the Spree and Stevens influence that's not to say the album's just an easy-to-swallow throwaway. Instrumental dirges interrupt lilting drama ("The Bed"); down-tempo blue-eyed soul fades to a heavy-eyed opera ("The Party"); desperate-if-angelic pleas sing throughout ("Save Me From What I Want"); and then there's the guitar. Actor is heavy, sometimes sad, sometimes provacative all under a veil of a sweeping, electrified Disney score (that, at some point in the film future, could very well be).