Utne Blogs > Arts and Culture

Marnie Stern Will Melt Your Face Off

by Jake Mohan 


Tags: Arts, music, rock music, pop music, guitar rock, indie rock, music video, college radio, Pitchfork,

Marnie Stern" href="http://www.myspace.com/marniestern1" target="_blank">marnie sternMarnie Stern, the woman Pitchfork calls the “Sorceress of Shred,” has risen to prominence in part due to the fact that there just aren’t that many women doing what she does: frenetic, virtuosic electric guitar alongside high-strung vocals. This is bad news for gender parity in the world of Awesome Guitar Skillz, but good news for Stern, for she is truly one of a kind.

Since the release of her dizzyingly titled sophomore album 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, Stern has been garnering a lot of attention, receiving a benediction from Pitchfork, who also showcased her hilarious video “Ruler,” a workout/boxing montage a la Rocky. She also stopped by the University of Minnesota’s Radio K for an in-studio performance last week.

This Is It is definitely worth checking out, but might not be for everyone. Its instrumentation is loud and brittle, comprising Stern’s blistering fretwork and the unconventional percussive grammar of Zach Hill, the drummer for freak-prog outfit Hella. For guitar geeks with eclectic taste and a healthy sense of humor, however, Stern’s high-energy music, her playful videos, and her plans for a rock-festival kissing booth ($100 for “some tongue”) will be a revelation. 

Image courtesy of rephlektiv, licensed by Creative Commons.