Marnie Stern Guitar Superstar - Oh My Rockness

Recommended Show
July 02, 2007
Say what you want about NYC's Marnie Stern; at least she is making music that's interesting. It's not accessible pop that everyone will love, but those who love it REALLY love it.

Marnie Stern belts out these unusual and all-over-the-place punk songs straight from the depths of her rrriot heart. She accompanies herself using only her electric guitar and what looks to be an iPod Nano strapped to her belt... at least that's what happened when we saw her at SXSW.

Her mostly three-minute songs go every which way except towards predictability. Some find her speedy style annoying (her high-pitched shrieking vocals definitely falls into the "unique" category. To me, it kind of sounds like Karen O), but many find Marnie Stern's music enthralling.

When she wants to pick up the spacey punk pace even more, Marnie Stern sometimes does shows with a backing band, which has included the terrifically spazzy Zach Hill from Hella. Hill may be the only musician who can keep up with Stern's tempos and time signatures. It takes a serious talent to compete with Stern's shredding skills.

Without a doubt, Stern is an absolute guitar whiz. As she finger-taps her way through layers upon layers of completely complicated rhythms, she does so with a graceful fury. The stunts she pulls off with her guitar would give music majors a major headache. Seeing her string skills in the flesh is something to behold and it's definitely her bread-and-butter. And as for that unique vocal style we mentioned, well, the way I feel about her singing is that a little bit can go a long way. The reason you'll like her for what she can do to a guitar.

Marnie Stern is recommended for fans of aforementioned Hella, Sleater-Kinney and Melt Banana. And be sure to check out her critically acclaimed album on Kill Rock Stars.

Marnie Stern plays the Knitting Factory, on Sunday, July 8th.


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