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Albums: February 28, 2014

New records from St. Vincent and Dierks Bentley

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St. Vincent, St. Vincent
Crackling, uncanny, and compulsively listenable, Annie Clark’s fourth album as St. Vincent updates the prickly appeal of bands like the Pretenders and Talking Heads for digitally turbulent times. (She actually made a whole album with Talking Heads cofounder David Byrne, 2012’s Love This Giant.) Seductive and unearthly when renouncing the online “shrine of zeros and ones” on “Huey Newton,” but swaggering and peppy on a song called “Regret,” she’s a wily singer commanding a range of fuzzy, fizzy beats and guitar riffs. All the better to confound us with. A-

Dierks Bentley, Riser
When the Nashville stalwart sings, “An army couldn’t keep down my desire” on his seventh studio album’s too-gentle title track, you half expect a voice to add, “For desires lasting more than four hours, see a doctor.” With his honeyed voice and weirdly anthropological eye — he seems to study “Pretty Girls” holding “tall boys” and “Back Porch” partying from afar — Bentley is Brawny Man bland. He’s also sweet, in his awkward way. But so are too many overeager guys. B-