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David Byrne and St. Vincent Share Track Off ‘Giant’ Joint LP

David Byrne & St. Vincent / Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty, Byrne

When David Byrne and St. Vincent first announced they would be collaborating, it was hard not to wonder how Byrne’s rock experiments would mix with St. Vincent’s delicate indie-pop. After all, the former Talking Head’s greatest previous collaborative achievement — My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, with Brian Eno — is an art-rock masterpiece. Now we have our first taste of the 12-track Love This Giant, due September 11, and a promise from its creators: “It’s a pop record,” Byrne said in a statement, adding, “well, in my book anyway.”

To see what he means, you can download the album’s first song, “Who,” right now via the widget below. It’s sort of a combination of the best of both artists’ music. Boasting funky brass, something that sounds like Baroque harpsichord music and both singers sounding like, well, themselves, it makes for a promising record.

Annie Clarke, the artist behind the St. Vincent name, first discussed the collaboration with SPIN in her September 2011 cover story, recalling how he approached her after the Dark Was the Night concert at Radio City Music Hall in 2009, while disclosing that she’s a “dweeby fan” of his. Byrne recalled, “I went up to her and told her how much I liked her ‘Actor Out of Work’ video and how disturbing it was. I was kind of stunned at her playing and facility with all she was doing.”

They began collaborating after the AIDS charity Housing Works approached them about writing and performing a night of music for it. They constructed songs based around a brass band, sending ideas back and forth. “After a while we had enough of a body of work that David, not one to do anything halfway, suggested we record it and put it out,” Clark said of the album they recorded over two years in Hoboken, New Jersey, including one track featuring the Dap-Kings and Antibalas. “I am very proud of what we created.”

“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,” Byrne said. “Other times this process would be reversed and I would send some musical ideas to Annie for her to write over.” Considering the finished product, Byrne concluded, “I started to sense that we were ending up with a sound and approach I’d never heard before. There were elements that were reminiscent of things I’d heard, but a lot of it was completely new.”

Similarly, of the pair’s upcoming tour, Byrne has said they’ll be playing songs from Love This Giant and “a bunch of other songs that we expect people will know.”

Tour dates:
September 15 – State Theater @ Minneapolis, MN
September 16 – Riverside Theater @ Milwaukee, WI
September 18 – Chicago Theatre @ Chicago, IL
September 20 – Queen Elizabeth Theater @ Toronto, ON
September 21 – Eglise St-Jean Baptiste @ Montreal, QC
September 23 – Orpheum Theatre @ Boston, MA
September 25 – Beacon Theatre @ New York, NY
September 26 – Beacon Theatre @ New York, NY
September 27 – Tower Theatre @ Philadelphia, PA
September 29 – Williamsburg Park @ Brooklyn, NY
September 30 – The Music Center at Strathmore @ North Bethesda, MD
October 2 – Ryman Auditorium @ Nashville, TN
October 3 – Cobb Energy Center @ Atlanta, GA
October 5 – Bass Concert Hall @ Austin, TX
October 6 – Hobby Center @ Houston, TX
October 7 – McFarlin Memorial Auditorium @ Dallas, TX
October 10 – Humphrey’s @ San Diego, CA
October 11 – Arlington Theatre @ Santa Barbara, CA
October 13 – Greek Theatre @ Los Angeles, CA
October 15 – Orpheum Theatre @ San Francisco, CA
October 17 – 5th Avenue Theater @ Seattle, WA
October 18 – Schnitzer Auditorium @ Portland, OR
October 20 – Centre in Vancouver for the Performing Arts @ Vancouver, BC