Marnie Stern- Marnie Stern (Souterrain Transmissions)
Just before the release of her third album, Stern launched an attack on her west coast counterpart Best Coast, and while I wouldn't usually point out such bitchy gossip, apart from being a big fan of "Crazy for You," it's easy to draw a comparison between Marnie and Bethany. Both records are particularly emotionally driven, Stern's "Transparency is the New Mystery" recalls the line "In order to see it, you've got to believe it, I do..." in relation to a relationship to a difficult boy who she is waiting for, the song a plea to see how good she is in comparison to this other girl, is simply not a million miles from "Girlfriend" or "Crazy for You." Bethany is young and naive, Marnie is older and arguably more experienced.
The difference being is Best Coast is backward thinking, her songs are often in past tense and her music seeks for a nostagic California before many of us were born, in fact it is the gimmick for the whole band. Stern's arsenal is the complete opposite, Her album ploughs through with Superhuman Zach Hill's distinctive drumming style, Stern's mathcore frenetic guitar lines and an urgency to get to the end as fast as possible. It's a musical exploration which may alienate many of those who were hoping Stern would open up her essentially melody soaked songs to some of kind mainstream listenability, but fuck that, this album is dripping with ideas, heartfelt lyrics (when Stern's voice isn't cleverly used as a part of the awkwardly brilliant and out of nowhere thrusts of noise) and the album contains some essential hits in the making, see "Risky Biz" which could very well soundtrack our current governments plan for cutting the public sector "I tear the desert up, But it's not enough, I got something in my soul, pushing me to hold on to the pain." or the summer pop almost classic rock anthem "Cinco De Mayo" with its soaring vocal harmony.
So enough with the bitchiness between female artists, as Kim Gordon said "What's it like to be a girl in a band, I dont quiet understand, it's so quaint to hear..." and Stern's very own "Female guitar players are the new black" we should stop pointing out sex and accept that this year has had some amazing records which happen to be written and performed by some exceptable female artists, than continue with the year of the woman tag,exploited last year. All for forward thinking, all for Marnie Stern 8.5/10