Marnie Stern

Win a date with guitar shredder Marnie Stern

Men! Want a chance to hang out with someone who can run circles around you on the guitar? You’re in luck, because Kill Rock Stars and Motormouth Media are taking applications to go on a release-date date with guitar shredder Marnie Stern. (That would be on or around the release of The Chronicles of Marnia on 3/19/13.)

Go here for the full spiel, but the basics are below — and sorry, vegan guys, she requires a love of chicken wings. Fill out the questionnaire below, and if you’re chosen (and in the New York area), KRS will cover the costs.

ALARM's 50 Favorite Songs of 2012

ALARM’s 50 (+5) Favorite Songs of 2012

Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.

Q&A: Marnie Stern

Marnie Stern: Marnie SternMarnie Stern: s/t (Kill Rock Stars, 10/5/10)

Marnie Stern: “For Ash”

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Give Marnie Stern some credit; she’s been asked the same questions about being a prominent female guitarist so many times it’s amazing she hasn’t flown off the handle. Yet the New York native, known for her furious finger-tapping guitar style, just shrugs it off with a coy smile. Stern’s shredding proficiency, however, cannot be overstated. Many will notice Stern’s giddy falsetto first, but it’s her mesmerizing finger taps that usually earn her the respect and attention of everything within an earshot. She doesn’t so much as play guitar as she does attack it, molesting the fret board with two hands like a zealous sculpture on an out-of-control pottery wheel or a Rubik’s Cube expert frantically searching for the perfect combination of rotations.

As if she was unrelenting enough, Stern has employed Hella drummer Zach Hill on her last two studio albums, 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 in 2008, and Marnie Stern in 2010, both on Kill Rock Stars. Together, Hill’s thrashing and Stern’s shredding offer a brainwashing musical diet that’s virtually incomparable — thrash, shred, repeat. Recently, she took time before her two-month US tour to answer a few questions for ALARM.

What was the last thing you did where you felt like you failed, and what, if anything, did you learn from it?

I feel like I am constantly failing in so many areas of life, and that is the only thing that keeps pushing me forward to try and do better. I’ve never had things go smoothly, so I don’t know what kind of person or artist I would be if that was the case.

100 Unheralded Albums from 2010

Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.

Pop Montreal

Contest: Win tickets and a Pop Hopper wristband for Pop Montreal

From September 29 to October 3, the ninth annual Pop Montreal international music festival runs in dozens of venues and involves more than 400 musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, and independent cultural entrepreneurs.

This year’s five-day festival includes performances by Swans, Marnie Stern, Gotan Project, Holy Fuck, Municipal Waste, Menomena, Liars, Arrington de Dionysio‘s Malaikat dan Singa, The Budos Band, Portico Quartet, Xiu Xiu, Buke & Gass, Mount Kimbie, Immolation, and many more.

Marnie Stern’s five favorite guitarists

Marnie Stern knows a thing or two about shredding. With two critically acclaimed albums under her belt and a new album, entitled Marnie Stern, out October 5 via Kill Rock Stars, Stern is easily one of the most technical and skilled female guitarists playing today.  Here are her five favorite axe-masters.

Also, take a listen to a cut of the forthcoming album, which features contributions from Zach Hill (Hella) and Matthew Flegel (Women), by listening to the song “For Ash” below.

Marnie Stern: “For Ash”
[audio:|titles=Marnie Stern – For Ash]

1. Mick Barr

“I always say Mick, and he will always be my favorite. The only way I can describe his playing is to say that your jaw will drop for the entire time you witness his terrific playing style. He has influenced me tremendously.”

What We’re Doing This Weekend

Shining (Norway)

CMJ in New York, Voodoo Experience in New Orleans, four great nights at Chicago’s Hideout, — this weekend is packed. Shudder to Think, Shining, Coliseum, Fucked Up, The Eternals, sBACH, Deacon John, and Pillars and Tongues are all among our recommendations to catch live.