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Strange beauty

St. Vincent aka Annie Clark, the 28-year-old musical prodigy and contemporary art-rock auteur -- is the delightful thing that happened to pop music while the mainstream was distracted by Lady Gaga's meat dress and Adele's faux-soul overtones.

Clark released her third album, "Strange Mercy," in September. Its genius is close to subversive. The startling variety and confident sonic and compositional frippery evident throughout the album suggest the blossoming of a feminine talent unheard since Bjork released "Debut" or Kate Bush her own "The Dreaming." Its pop hooks are delivered as anti-pop manifestos. Clark seems to have arrived beneath the radar, to quietly change the game for everyone, whether they're paying attention or not.

How will Clark transform the beautifully lush, atmospheric sound of "Strange Mercy" into concert material? Find out when St. Vincent -- Clark on vocals and guitar, Matt Johnson on drums and keyboardists Daniel Mintseris and Toko Yasuda -- arrive for an 8 p.m. show Saturday in the Town Ballroom (681 Main St.), with guests Shearwater. Tickets are $18 advance, $22 day of show (box office,

-- Jeff Miers