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