Marnie Stern the album mirrors Marnie Stern, the woman. Birthed during a challenging period in her life, the self-titled Marnie Stern is a compendium of life stories both bitter and sweet.
From ballads to her signature pop guitar-tapping style, Stern and long-time co-conspirator Zach Hill have churned out (for lack of a better word) an enormous album that will further cement Stern as a rising star in today’s progressive music landscape. Stern also enlists the bass talents of psych-rock Canadian musician Matthew Flegel (of the band Women & boyfriend of Stern) and up-and-coming mixer Lars Stalfors (Mars Volta, Funeral Party) resulting in Stern stepping up her sonic game and revealing a mature and more focused side of herself. “I wanted to pay more attention to the delicate and subtly layered spaces in between sound and just make things louder and fuller where I didn’t on my last 2 records.” When asked to sum her album up she maintains, “It’s direct and honest and real. I’m no longer taking cover under guitar lines or yelping vocals.”
Marnie’s third and latest LP for Kill Rock Stars, while clearly containing her strongest songs ever, had its fumbles on the way to the finish line. She laughs when describing how the initial recording files were lost and ultimately retrieved through a series of trials-by-fire (upon which many a cigarette was lit) and in one complete statement, she quips: “Holy Doodle!” You will find both the artist and the album to be brighter, louder, and bustling with confidence as the end result.
Clearly, Marnie Stern’s life and music are not easily separated; which is why Marnie Stern the record and Marnie Stern the person have REAL personality. Upon hearing her last two albums, In Advance of the Broken Arm (2007) and 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 (2008), it’s quite evident that Stern lives in between the lines of chaos and harmony. While Stern’s previous efforts garnered much critical acclaim, highlighting Stern’s dexterity with both guitar playing and songwriting, she still remains the underdog of contemporary celebrated female musicians.
Three albums into her career, this certainly leaves her exposed. Yet, within that exposure, we find something more relatable and familiar to us all; vulnerability and resilience. And with this collection of songs, all you hear is ‘Marnie Stern’ which is destined for greatness.
01. For Ash
02. Nothing Left
03. Transparency is the New Mystery
04. Risky Biz
05. Female Guitar Players are the New Black
07. Cinco De Mayo
08. Building a Body
09. Her Confidence
10. The Things You Notice