Every year, assorted NPR Music staffers return from SXSW with discoveries that double as pet projects: artists about whom we'll spend the entire year proselytizing. When one of those artists puts out something new — lookin' at you, Phoebe Bridgers — we're here to potentially write about it and, with luck, sing its praises.
Bob Boilen and I both took opportunities to bask in Anna Meredith's incredible live shows in Austin last month, and both of us came away giddy — stunned by the ingenuity and raw power of her band's performances, which mix raging percussion with bits of clarinet and tuba and whatever else might lend intensity or beauty to the mix. The songs themselves were drawn from Varmints, an album the Scottish multi-instrumentalist and songwriter released last year, and now its single "Dowager" has a video to match the inventiveness of her shows.
Directed — and, in many places, animated — by Ewan Jones Morris, the "Dowager" video throws together a terrific assortment of grabby and constantly shifting images: band members singing from computer screens and the pages of newspapers, birds and works of art being cut to pieces and reassembled, that sort of thing. It's a frenetic and inviting bundle of visuals, perfectly suited to Anna Meredith's frenetic and inviting bundle of sounds.