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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/bfada292bcb386dc6265a816eb1e715c4ad08fb2.jpg Marnie Stern

Marnie Stern

Marnie Stern

Kill Rock Stars
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
September 28, 2010

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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    Song Stories

    “Bird on a Wire”

    Leonard Cohen | 1969

    While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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