Pod Picks for March 20, 2014

March 19, 2014 

We’ve sussed out these hot new tracks, so you don’t have to, so trust us and add ‘em to your playlist.

“Digital Witness” by St. Vincent

Annie Clark aka St. Vincent’s last project was the 2012 collaborative album, “Love This Giant,” with David Byrne. The Talking Heads and Byrne’s influence could be felt before in St. Vincent’s sound, but on this track and her fourth solo album, it’s blaring. The horns swing. The beat is danceable. And her tonal inflections are an up and down march of weirdness. What Byrne has always been great at is making a point about popular culture, but wrapping it in lush pop tunes that are worldly wise and intelligent in their architecture. St. Vincent is a laudable torchbearer.

“Marry Song” by Band of Horses

One of the main criticisms of this Seattle-to-Charleston transplant is that it is an overproduced band. The boys from the Lowcountry can’t be accused of that on their new live album, “Acoustic at the Ryman.” It’s a 10-song set of songs drifting right from the band to the listener. It was recorded at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. and singer Ben Bridwell (native of Irmo) lets his southern drawl wave like a flag. This track is sweet and ragged and full of heart, and comes off the stage like a shedding of emotion.

“The Record” by Elliott Smith

Smith’s legacy is an enigma. He was an energetic performer of sad songs or a miserable man unable to perform. He was a drug addict, an Oscar nominee, a manic depressive and a singer/songwriter troubadour. The most baffling aspect of Smith was his death – being stabbed twice in the chest, leaving the cause of death as inconclusive as to whether it was suicide or homicide. But you have to admit, there’s something poetic about a man who tries to cut his own heart out for rock ‘n’ roll. This track was originally one of three a cappella recordings made in the late ’90s by Smith. The vocals were taken by Mike Doughty (formerly the front man of Soul Coughing) and made into surprisingly upbeat electronic dance tunes. Add another layer to the enigma.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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