Local guitar wizard Marnie Stern is making a wonderful bid right now to become the Kanye West of indie-rock–she’s cocky but shy, confident but self-deprecating, and more musically savvy than she gets credit for, even as she constantly pays homage to her influences and collaborators (such as Hella’s Zach Hill) for her increasingly sophisticated sound. Like Kanye, she has a record coming out–due next month on Kill Rock Stars–and like Kanye, she’s been in trouble lately for airing her often underwhelmed opinions of her peers in public. But honesty is one of the things Stern excels at, and her latest round of press in advance of her third LP has been a clinic in how artists become more compelling as they speak more bluntly about their life and work. Today, she was interviewed by Pitchfork’s Ryan Dombal, and there continued a burgeoning trend of waxing undiplomatically about musicians in the game she doesn’t entirely respect. Such as:
“But it is funny now looking back as an adult. I don’t care about the fashion stuff at all now. I care about the music. I really don’t have that much respect for Madonna as a musician. But, at 10 years old, I was enthralled. I think everyone cares about the image stuff for some period in their life, but then you get to a point where you don’t really need it to help you identify who you are because you have all these other identifiers that are more important.”
“I never liked the Beatles, though. Every time I go to take a shower and the Beatles come on I’m like, ‘Goddammit! They’re ruining my shower again.’ “
Pitchfork is not first outlet in which Stern has vented her feelings. A few weeks ago, her interview at Impose with SOTC contributor Georgia Kral was widely circulated after she took a few shots at…
MS: Ok, Best Coast, I see everywhere. What’s with her?
GK: She is Wavves’ girlfriend.
MS: So that’s why she got famous? Is she famous? Like what, because buzz is different.
GK: She went on the New York Times, and they reviewed her, did a podcast. How many records is she selling, I’m not sure. But she’s getting good reviews all over the place.
MS: Of course I heard a song and was like “Are you joking me?”
GK: She sings, un-ironically about loving boys. Her lyrics are “I wish my cat could talk.” No joke.
MS: That’s unacceptable, that’s unacceptable. That’s not showing any part, that’s unacceptable. You might as well then be an 80s hair metal band saying “I want pussy.”
There was also this, from the same interview, directed at…
“My whole goal is to be super sincere, to figure out how to not be clichéd. I mean, everyone is sincere, Alanis Morissette is sincere. Everyone is, hopefully. Why does Bruce Springsteen’s music, to me, feel so much and why does Coldplay’s not? I’m always thinking about that. It’s a weird line.” And…
Pearl Jam and the Stone Temple Pilots
“Up until I was 22, I listened to really bad music. I didn’t know the difference between Nirvana and Pearl Jam and the Stone Temple Pilots, it was all the same to me.”
Finally, there was Time Out New York, who asked Stern what she thought of the local music scene. Her answer was that she didn’t think much of it, in particular…
“I mean, I’d even take the Strokes now over the shit that I hear everyday. The lo-fi, ‘I don’t know how to play but it’s fun’ [attitude]–I don’t understand that at all. It seems like a faux spontaneity that’s not natural at all. I like music where the real personalities show through; with [bands today], it seems like all strutting.”
Did we miss any?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 17, 2010