When thinking of great rock guitarists, I'm generally awash with images of thin men in tight pants through which they exude some sort of super-sexual musk that increases in intensity when they shred. I lament not maturing in an era past, perhaps the sixties, seventies, or eighties. I would certainly have entertained the thought of becoming a groupie. I may have even been successful in consummating my adoration with a rock god, though I doubt it (I have a condition that doesn't allow me to speak to or approach famous people). It's not often that I hear a shredding guitar solo and feel sisterly adoration, instead of feeling kind of turned-on. There are tons of lady singers with strong throaty rock voices to idolize, but there’s something about the technicality of a guitar that makes it just a little bit more badass. I mean, maybe Nancy Wilson from Heart has a little bit of that, but she was just the rhythm guitarist. I'm talking behind the back, finger-tapping, teeth-using, reverb-y guitar playing. Licks.
Recently, a friend introduced me to the music of Marnie Stern. Her obnoxiously titled second 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 sounds like it was named in the middle of a mushroom trip. The first song is equally as annoying, but the second song—oh the second song—unleashes a fury of "Eruption"-like magic. From the other room, my fella said, "Why are you listening to Van Halen?"
Stern's a small-faced blond with that tomboyish quality of being effortlessly attractive.
She mixes crazy, metallic licks with distinct pop, often singing right along with the guitar. It's not my favorite thing to listen to, but it does work just fine as an accompaniment to scrubbing the toilet or some other loathsome-but-necessary task. She rocks out pretty hard. Here's a video of her at a gig in Denver. The sound quality’s not that good, but you'll get the idea: