Music » Critics' Picks

Marnie Stern

9 p.m. Friday, November 21. Billiken Club, in the Busch Student Center on the campus of Saint Louis University, 20 North Grand Boulevard.

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The brain-bending, technical nature of Marnie Stern's guitar playing is impressive by anyone's standards. Her math-rock explorations are pointed and deliberate, never meandering or becoming monotonous mainly because Stern's infectious vocal chants and song structures are just as seamlessly executed as her furious outbursts of lightning-fast finger-tapping. Her new album 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 is a true joy of a listen which is not something one would usually say about such dense and experimental work. But Stern doesn't shred for the sake of shredding and the album never really takes pointless detours just so she can show off her chops. Instead, the songs on This Is It feature endlessly catchy arrangements that shift seamlessly from one hypnotic airtight groove to the next.

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