First Listen: Marnie Stern, 'The Chronicles Of Marnia'
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When people talk about Marnie Stern, they generally focus on her guitar playing. This is understandable; like Eddie Van Halen, she's an adept fingertapper, creating blindingly fast riffs that float like bubbles, even as they speed along at Malmsteenian notes-per-second. But the focus on her artistry elides the fact that her music is wonderfully human.
It creates joy from the act of creating.The Chronicles of Marnia
, out March 19, is Stern's fourth album, and not only is she working with a different drummer this time out (Kid Millions, who keeps time for the Brooklyn psych-punks in Oneida
), but the overall feeling is more spare; her fingertapping and vocals collide and explode like they did on her previous records, but they do so with more precision, and the lyrics pack an even greater wallop as a result.
Back in 2008, Stern released a video
in which she put her own spin on the journey taken by Rocky Balboa in the first Rocky
film; in honor of Sylvester Stallone's up-from-the-depths boxer, she wore a shirt emblazoned with the words, "WIN 'MARNIE' WIN." On The Chronicles of Marnia
, Stern still has that fighting spirit; that she channels it into music that's so singularly hers, from her storied playing to her sometimes disarmingly vulnerable lyrics, is more than a breath of fresh air. It's a reaffirmation of how beautiful the mere act of being alive can be.
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Click each song title for individual tracks, the last track is the album in its entirety.