Marnie Stern

There's little doubt that Marnie Stern lives up to her reputation as "the lady who shreds," but for Marnie, shredding is not enough. After putting out three critically-acclaimed albums, Marnie could have gotten away with putting out another album filled with her richly layered sound, singular frenetic finger tapping and almost philosophical lyrics. However, as anyone who has given her last few albums a good listen can tell, Marnie is not one to stand still. Instead she attacks her musical evolution with full frontal bravado, reveling in musical risk instead of relaxing in the comforts of the known. For Marnie, musical possibility drives her ambition.

Her new album, The Chronicles of Marnia, finds Marnie not only working with a new drummer (Oneida's Kid Millions), but also passionately subtracting from her normally dense song structures to craft a sound that is both familiar and wholly original. "I always gravitate towards interweaving and a more abrasive sound," Marnie said about working on the new album. "I was working with Nicholas Vernhes from Rare Book Room Recording in Brooklyn, and he was the producer. He wanted my voice clearer and fewer guitar parts. I tried it because I wanted to try something different."

Her trademark exuberant guitar work is still present, in fact, absent a few layers of grit, it's even more evident. "We stripped away a lot of the layers and a lot of unnecessary interweaving guitar parts. There's less clutter and more of staying on a part without adding too much instrumentation." Through the subtractive production process, Marnie's voice became more prominent, a fact that kind of concerns Marnie, "I get worried that I am coming across as someone who thinks they are a 'singer,' as opposed to my usual mishmash of voices that aren't always in key," she said about the album's more pronounced vocals. "I grapple with that attitude because I think it's important as a musician to try and be as proficient as possible, or try to put a lot of work into it. I suppose in my own way, I put a ton of time into singing and trying to find interesting melody ideas, I just never think of myself as having a 'nice' voice." It's an enervating change for an artist who in the past has always skillfully buried her vocals under the guitar and drum tracks.

The musical transformation evident on her new album isn't entirely unexpected, as fans who have listened to both "For Ash" and "Every Single Line Means Something" in a single sitting know. That same slow progression can be seen between 2010's self-titled album and the forthcoming The Chronicles of Marnia. Marnie can't help but laugh when thinking back on her musical evolution. "I'm sure if I went from the first album to this one, I'd have a heart attack. Luckily it's been gradual enough for me to enjoy the changes." And there's little doubt that her fans will too. Even as Marnie evolves from what Pitchfork called her "art-metal math-rock bubblegum pop" genre, fans will still find themselves jumping head first into the album and quickly bonding with the emotionally resonant material, cascading hooks and transcendental guitar riffs. Plus, the album shreds. She is Marnie Stern after all.

Barren Girls

BARREN GIRLS break the barriers of genres. From punk, to garage, to straight rock 'n' roll, the all girl quartet knows no limits. Moderation is foreign to these young women. No matter what you will enjoy their shows, be it their music that wins you over, or the drunken antics of them all. Their live shows have proven to be full of energy and the girls have acquired quite a following in their hometown of Raleigh, NC.
Distorted guitars, creepy synths, and driving drums make BARREN GIRLS a force to be reckoned with. The fact they find inspiration in such bands as X, 45 Grave, Dead Moon, and T.S.O.L is apparent in their unique sound. These fours' reckless renegade lifestyles are sure to be a good show. Live fast, die young, regret nothing, and leave a pretty corpse.

Little Big League

In the Fall of 2011, Michelle Zauner and Kevin O'Halloran (previously of Post Post) joined forces with Ian Dykstra (Titus Andronicus) and Deven Craige (Strand of Oaks) to form Little Big League. Shortly thereafter the band recorded their debut 7". Released in April of 2012, the two songs offered a glimpse into the band's promising future, which after months of writing and playing live took solid form in their debut LP These Are Good People.

The band's debt to 90s indie guitar rock is respectfully paid while Zauner's gorgeously unique vocal stylings and striking lyrical imagery add to the album's dark atmosphere. There is a level of tension and impending danger built, both lyrically and musically, that revels in the vulnerability of us all. These Are Good People is an album about coming of age, loss, and the overwhelming acceptance of reality over a failed romanticism. Due out this Summer on Tiny Engines, the album is a stunning indie rock debut from the Philadelphia quartet.

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Johnny Brenda's

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Marnie Stern with Barren Girls, Little Big League

Friday, May 10 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at Johnny Brenda's