Marnie Stern - Kill Rock Stars
FILTER Grade: 86%
By Lauren Barbato on September 9, 2010
Just as Los Angeles is ready to deem itself “the place to be” for female guitar players with its current queens of the lo-fi scene, Brooklyn-based guitarist/vocalist Marnie Stern retaliates with her third LP that shocks like an AED straight to the heart. Precise dissonance has long been Stern’s strong point, and when paired with a super-human stamina she careens through a 10-track album without any sense of relief until it’s all over; every note is climatic, every vocal a yelp. “Risky Biz” delivers a nuanced pop tune at fast-forward speed, while Stern turns personal on the turbulent “For Ash,” a lament to her late ex-boyfriend that rides waves of emotions—and sounds—more tender than any of Stern’s previous conceptual albums. And though the title begs to differ, the pummeling, shred-happy “Female Guitar Players are the New Black” proves Stern is anything but willing to settle for what others expect her to be.