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Marnie Stern


Ben
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I refuse to believe I'm the only fan here, she's just released her tongue-twistingly titled 2nd album, 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, which is probably better than her excellent debut. She's an incredible guitarist and got the Eddie Van Halen finger tapping technique down to a tee, shredding with the best of them, but it's never for the sake of sheer wankiness.

There's this constant battle throughout between unbelievable virtuosity (her drummer is also arguably one of the best in the world,

, from Hella) and trying to force it into some kind of structured songs - there's this sense of constant joyful hysteria about her music, as tempos change and rhythms whirl around her, all interlocking perfectly. Her voice can be a bit offputting at first (sort of a highpitched shriek), but when it all clicks in, her music is crack. It's all so life-affirmingly exciting, I don't think there's anyone else around at the moment who's really comparable.

You can stream the full album on her Myspace. I'm currently obsessed with "Roads? Where We're Going We Don't Need Roads", the chorus is this ever-rising joyous ball of fire. So good. There's a video of her single, Transformer,

which is ace too.

is from her debut album, In Advance of the Broken Arm. It's probably a little more difficult to get into than the new one, but it's still facemeltingly good.
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She's ace. This and the new Department of Eagles album have got me reading Pitchfork again.

It's exuberent pop. Like you say, it all fits together really catchily, but it sounds rough and spontaneous and has this energy and sparkle to it that make it more individual and compelling than just another album of 12 pop songs.

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Um, that is not shredding. :lol: That is a trick which can be mastered by a non-guitarist in an hour; she isn't too hot at it and she uses it all the time. All her non-tapping guitar work (and most of her tapping) is actually gut-wrenchingly terrible, sub-homeless-strummer 6-year-old level stuff and it's cringe-inducing to watch her do it.

I really like the single, and Zach Hill *is* an amazing drummer, but the notion that she is 'shredding' or even [showing any evidence of being] a good guitar player is totally baffling. And 'unbelievable virtuosity'... man. She just taps a bit and is otherwise unable to play. The definitive one-trick pony. If any guy or non-gorgeous girl got up and did that they'd be laughed out of the house.

I don't mean to be mean but that's the truth and people fawning over her do any capable guitarist (and indeed themselves) a great disservice.

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Um, that is not shredding. :) That is a trick which can be mastered by a non-guitarist in an hour; she isn't too hot at it and she uses it all the time. All her non-tapping guitar work (and most of her tapping) is actually gut-wrenchingly terrible, sub-homeless-strummer 6-year-old level stuff and it's cringe-inducing to watch her do it.

I really like the single, and Zach Hill *is* an amazing drummer, but the notion that she is 'shredding' or even [showing any evidence of being] a good guitar player is totally baffling. And 'unbelievable virtuosity'... man. She just taps a bit and is otherwise unable to play. The definitive one-trick pony. If any guy or non-gorgeous girl got up and did that they'd be laughed out of the house.

I don't mean to be mean but that's the truth and people fawning over her do any capable guitarist (and indeed themselves) a great disservice.

Who cares, it's fun music, right? Actual shredding nearly always sounds masturbatory anyway.

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I have to admit, the first album really left me cold. I think it was the voice, it was just too shrill. I don't know what it is about the new album though, because i'm enjoying this one a hell of a lot more... The vocals aren't so jarring, and I generally think the songwriting is a lot better...

I likey. :)

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  • 8 months later...

Started listening to 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 recently. Love it! Have picked up her debut LP but haven't slapped it on yet. The Crippled Jazzer is a belter of a tune :)

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She's got some shows in the UK later this month before the Supersonic festival, including dates with Nisennenmondai in Manchester and Leeds which should be excellent. She's good live although her personality can get a little grating over the course of an hour; she couldn't be any more ditzy blonde, although her thigh length boot wearing, dirty talking female bass player does raise the entertainment value.

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  • 2 months later...

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