14 03 2011

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Marnie Stern
Marnie Stern

Marnie Stern is one of underground rock’s true undiscovered talents. A female singer/guitarist that can shred like crazy while never coming off self-indulgent, Stern has gained a loyal band of followers over the past few years. Her latest 2010 self-titled LP is a complete wonder of insanely complex guitar riffs and brash vocals. On songs like the blistering “For Ash” and the Deerhoof-esque romper “Risky Biz”, Stern fearlessly engages through her remarkable finger tapping guitar style and unorthodox songwriting. Backed by wunderkind Zach Hill from Northern California noisemakers Hella on drums, the songs are epically demented but never approach bombastic overkill. Instead, Stern forces the listener to further invest in the music beyond the virtuosic guitar playing and proves that despite similarities to bands like Deerhoof, Ponytail, and Hella, she has a completely unique sound all her own. Marnie Stern is better produced than debut In Advance of the Broken Arm (2007) and broadens the musical template laid down on 2008’s outrageously titled This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That is That. But even though the production is cleaner and the overall sound more expansive, this is still an uncompromising record; fast, loud, unconventional, and wonderfully creative.

“For Ash” by Marnie Stern



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4 responses to “”

15 03 2011
Rich (05:30:33) :

I really need to give this album more time, I’ve just not been able to get into it on first couple of listens. I loved This is it… and liked a fair bit of the debut but this just didn’t grab me, I shall persevere.

I caught her live a couple of years ago (I did an attempt at a review, it’s on my site) and she was incredible.

15 03 2011
knowingisknowing (10:57:09) :

I’m completely hooked on this album right now. I’ve liked her other two LP’s quite a bit, but I feel this one is the most focused and consistent. I’ll certainly check out you’re live review! I’m going to see her this weekend hopefully and can’t wait for the musical explosion. Thanks for the comments. :)

16 03 2011
Evan (01:11:11) :

Wow, this is pretty great! I want to compare it to Hella with Joanna Newsom. Those are definitely Zach Hill drums and her guitar style is certainly unique but the finger tapping style along with his drumming is hard to separate from Hella. This is not a bad thing at all and the movements are really fun; it’s a bit unpredictable and still very accessible. I bet she’d be fun live!

16 03 2011
knowingisknowing (12:44:55) :

Yeah Evan, I’m really into it right now. The album also reminds me of bands like Erase Errata, Deerhoof and Ponytail (her vocal style almost sounds Japanese at times). But you are right about it coming off a lot like Hella with a female singer, but I think if you listen closer, Stern brings a sense of melodic structure to the music that Hella rarely employs. The song “Transparency is the New Mystery” is a great example of this. :)

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