By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 20, 2007 6:23PM
Marnie Stern may look like a bookstore clerk or a Starbucks barista, but this Brooklyn guitar virtuoso has little else to do with lit or lattes. She's a metalhead through and through, having mastered such thrash-god techniques as finger-tapping, shuddering time-signature shifts, and balls-to-the-wall shredding that would make Eddie Van Halen blush. So what's this obvious shred-head doing on venerable punk rock shock shop Kill Rock Stars Records? She's carefully bridging the gap between the colorful, technical, and often posturing world of metal, and the guttural vocals, minimalist production, and eff you attitude that "punk" has come to inspire. It's a tenuous position, given that punk set out to destroy all the egotistical excess and arrogance of the metal scene, but maybe the old adage is right -- it just takes a woman's touch.
Stern's 2007 release, In Advance of the Broken Arm, was released in February but is holding steady in a lot of critics' top albums lists for the year, and her SXSW performances in March solidified the fact that she's nothing if not unique and gluttonously talented. Who doesn't love a petite blonde absolutely torturing the guts out of a Fender Jaguar??