art, animations and words by Jefe aka Johnny Chiba
When an artist names their
third album by their name (ie: Metallica), it usually infers
THE defining record by THIS artist.
MARNIE STERN (out Oct 5 on Kill Rock Stars) by Marnie Stern is THIS record, a self-reflective defining statement of the
tapping guitarist as a songwriter, arranger and creator. MARNIE STERN is a tome of maturity, positivity,
acceptance and moving on.
Marnie Stern has single-handedly
caused me to rethink my notion that women cannot rock
(as the song title off her new record affirms "Female Guitar Players Are The New Black");
it's not as if i'm NOT in awe of the great Joan Jett or "Barracuda"-era Heart, but getting turned on
to Marnie Stern's first 2 recordings recently caught me by surprise and made me mad I had missed her numerous
performances at SXSW and CMJ festivals and her hometown Brooklyn in recent years.
On her first 2 records, the wordily-titled
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- Kill Rock Stars) and the great sophomore release In Advance of the Broken Arm (2009 - Kill Rock Stars),
Marnie Stern's skills are evident, her lyrics are often sly and unpredictable, her verbalizing skittish and thoroughly enjoyable;
she has put out 3 progressively progressive and fantastic records, utillizing to great extent the specialized skillset of Zach Hill
from HELLA for all drumming duties on all discs.
this is it and i am it...- 1st cd
this is it raging animation
in advance of the broken arm- 2nd cd
Marnie Stern - new cd
On MARNIE STERN, the guitarist
shows she is an amazing songwriter AND musician.
Starting with the song "FOR ASH" (whereas Ash turns out to be Marnie's long-time boyfriend who left her without
word or reason many years ago, and recently committed suicide in May of 2010) setting the theme for the entire CD,
filled with lyrics of missing someone, wishing they were here, being in the light, outshining...
The emotive chorus of "FOR ASH" is heartfelt: "I cannot bare, No one compares, I miss your smile, Sadness all the while"
moved me similarly to Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares To You". But the song is a pummeling start to a brilliant CD,
Zach Hella's drums rolling the song along, Marnie's vocals and indian-like background vocals (I-Ya-Hey-Ya)
leading to her questioning "How can it be and I'll never, I'll never know why, I want to be in your imminent elegant light"
Ash's leaving Marnie left her wondering why, and caused her to plunge headlong into her music,
presumably starting her recording career. Ash's 2010 suicide was the impetus she needed to let him go.
A song like "Cinco De Mayo" (the day Ash killed himself?) is a homage to Ash and how she felt when/since he left,
missing him, feeling hurt, affirming that he will always be with her, near her, here and hear. The song ends with
a blessing "I hope you see god. You're everything", ultimately releasing him and the hold he had on her.
Read Marnie Stern's Confessional Interview from Impose Magazine
MARNIE STERN is full of
her personalized shortcomings ("it's not enough, i'm not enough")
as well as positive affirmations
("in order to see it, you've got to believe it, I do... I want this") from "Transparency Is The New Mystery"
Marnie Stern believes
in herself...in building her mind, her body, her confidence, like her personal
field of dreams,
knowing that her loved one will come back, or a new love will come to her anew.
Like a fairy-tale ending, the record
culminates on a completely positive note "The Things You Notice",
led by the bass/voice of Matthew Flegel, who is currently that special someone in her life who she's not gonna let go.
More power to you Ms.Stern-Flegel!
Powerchords and sweetness
punctuate MARNIE STERN, her tapping guitar adds life and embellishes the songs.
Gone are the rapid-phrasing/yelping of previous records (save for the rapid Ash-lashing of "Cinco de Mayo"),
instead Marnie has chosen songwriting, feeling and soul-expression.
Special mention must be
accorded beatmaster Zach Hill, whose stylized
drumming stand out on this disc,
His playing is like another voice, more often speaking and responding to vocal lines rather than simply laying a beat,
When he DOES lay into a beat, it takes the music to another level (ie: the end of "Build Her Confidence" breaks
into an intense guitar/drum barrage similar to a great Battles song.
MARNIE STERN is the story of release, rejoice, remembrance, relief and reflection,
a positive, spiritually uplifting, story of loss and life.
and she does, indeed, Rock! She Rules!! Marnie Stern IS ruler of the...
Marnie Stern on Myspace
Marnie Stern Albums
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 (October 7, 2008) Kill Rock Stars
In Advance of the Broken Arm (February 20, 2007) Kill Rock Stars
Marnie Stern (October 5, 2010) Kill Rock Stars
Marnie Stern at Kill Rock Stars
MARNIE STERN OFFICIAL PRESS BIO
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.