Jolie Holland, St. Vincent | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Jolie Holland, St. Vincent 

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On last year's Springtime Can Kill You (Anti), Jolie Holland reveals a complex storytelling approach that hints at the postmodern. Like Tom Waits, who happens to be a fan, she sells it with a sensibility steeped in history and a voice that could hold its own on 30s radio. But if she has any interest in innovation--that is, if she wants to frighten the horses the way Waits does--she's still got a ways to go. --Monica Kendrick

You might expect something dinky and folky from someone who's been touring as a backup singer in Sufjan Stevens's band, but Annie Clark's resume also includes years with the Polyphonic Spree--not to mention a stint with Glenn Branca--and her recordings as St. Vincent don't fit in that box. The four skillfully composed and curious pop ballads currently posted on her MySpace page are loaded with enough kitchen-sink sounds to give you an electro hangover--and until her record comes out in the spring, they're all we're going to get. A multi-instrumentalist, she handles everything but the drums (Brian Teasley of Man or Astroman? and the Polyphonic Spree fills in there), and as a singer, her deliberate, crisp enunciation recalls Fiona Apple's. Her young-love songs may be sweetly naive and whimsical, but she knows how to fire up the torch: when she sings "we'll do what married people do" on "Marry Me," it actually sounds like a hot prospect. --Jessica Hopper

Jolie Holland headlines and St. Vincent opens. a 6 and 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $15.

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