Collective Concerts Presents
Marnie Stern, Mas Ysa
410 Sherbourne Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5X 1K2
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM
This event is all ages
From Atlanta, Georgia, the origins of Deerhunter can be traced back to when frontman Bradford Cox first met guitarist Lockett Pundt at high school. Years later Bradford met Moses Archuleta and started jamming together. Other contributors to Deerhunter since its establishment in 2001 include Josh Fauver, Colin Mee and Whitney Petty. The current incarnation consists of Cox, Pundt and Archuleta plus bassist Josh Mckay and guitarist Frankie Broyles.
Deerhunter's first album was a lo-fi experiment not initially intended for the wider world, but appeared in 2005 on a local Atlanta label, Stickfigure. Although officially untitled, it has since become known as Turn It Up, Faggot; a phrase that doesn't actually appear on the sleeve but is an insult that Cox claimed was often thrown at the band during their early gigs. Their next album, Cryptograms (2006), was generally considered to be their real debut and as such things started to get serious for the band. They had moved to fêted Chicago indie, Kranky (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Low, Stars Of The Lid), and the world outside was starting to pay attention.
Then in mid-2008, Deerhunter and Kranky signed a deal with 4AD, allowing them to finally release music outside the US and the band's next move was to prove epic in more than just musical terms.?? Recorded over the course of a week at the Rare Book Studios in Brooklyn, NY, the Can and Wire-inspired Microcastle (2008) was to propel them to further heights. However, the album leaked four months before release, leading the band back to the studio to record Weird Era Cont., an album in its own right added as a bonus disc to make Microcastle a 25-track colossus. Not content with such prolificacy, the band announced a new five track EP, Rainwater Cassette Exchange, in 2009 and that its release would coincide with the band's extensive European, Japanese and Australian tour in May and June.??
Displaying few signs of slowing down, Halcyon Digest, the band's fourth studio album was released in September 2010. Remaining in their native Georgia to piece together the album, Halcyon Digest took just a few weeks to complete. The recording sessions took place at Chase Park Transduction in Athens with Ben H. Allen helping to co-produce the album, while final track, 'He Would Have Laughed', was recorded separately by Bradford Cox at NOTOWN SOUND in Marietta. To announce the release, the band fully embraced the DIY mindset of their New Wave heroes from the 70's and 80's with a Cox-designed, cut-and-paste Xeroxed flyer. It's with these kind of approaches that Deerhunter continue to widen their sphere of influence and impress with each subsequent release.
After a brief hiatus, during which time Bradford Cox and Lockett Pundt released their own albums as Atlas Sound and Lotus Plaza respectively, a new Deerhunter line-up (with additions of bassist Josh Mckay and guitarist Frankie Broyles) reconvened in January 2013 at Rare Book Studio in Brooklyn, New York. Produced by Nicholas Vernhes and Bradford Cox and recorded in the dead of night, Deerhunter's new longplayer Monomania will be released in May. Monomania finds the group recalling its scrappy punk aesthetic; a perfect nocturnal garage rock album full of the layered and hazy vintage guitar sounds that define them.
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.
Phoenix Concert Theatre
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