Marnie Stern

With her bright watercolor cover art and song titles like "Female Guitar Players Are the New Black" and "Her Confidence," indie-rock guitar virtuoso Marnie Stern is pretty upfront about making her own rules. Rather than deploy her blazing chops to ape manly guitar-god pyrotechnics, she shreds impressionistically, splaying fractals of noise and melody over drummer Zach Hill's jazz-spaz clatter. More impressively, she hones it all into emotionally powerful songs, somewhere between the maiden-metal of Heart and the contorted speed-blurt of Lightning Bolt, with her sweet, proud trill of a voice exploring doubt and desire, magic and beauty, "angels, diamonds and colors," the stuff of everyday life and the residue of dreams.

 

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