When I had gotten home from SXSW three months ago, I wrote this about one of my favorite acts I saw:
This night [Marnie Stern] took the stage with just a guitar and an iPod Mini on her belt (which provided a drum track for her songs — Zach Hill of the band Hella played drums on her record) and absolutely shredded. Her set lasted about 25 minutes, but what a glorious 25 minutes! She seemed to be channeling Jimmy Page when she was on stage and getting sounds from her guitar that sounded surreal. Her debut album is called In Advance of the Broken Arm and is easily one of my favorites thus far into the year.
Forunately, she's finding her way back to Seattle for a stop at Chop Suey on Saturday night – this time bringing along the aforementioned Hill and guitarist Robby Moncrieff (of the band The Advantage) instead of just using her iPod for the drum parts.
Watching Stern live is a unique experience. When she's onstage she moves her fingertips up and down the neck of her guitar and gets sounds from it that appear possessed at times. She told another magazine, "I taught myself everything and I think that has helped me have a really different style. I was never interested in learning other people’s songs." She is truly unique and really doesn't sound like anyone else making "indie rock" right now.
Stern must certainly revel in the contradictions surrounding her and her style of rocking: Her album is challenging but accessible; she can sound noodling at times but it's never masturbatory; she looks like a girl next door but plays like an evil guitar god. Or, in this case, goddess.
Here's the video for her song "Every Single Line Means Something":