Marnie Stern's not a force to be reckoned with; she's the one who does the reckoning. She's a riot grrrl raised on heavy art punk, St. Vincent shredding guitar on acid. The New Yorker's fourth LP contorts accordingly, "Year of the Glad" opening with the same maddening wails as "For Ash" from her eponymous 2010 offering, before diving into heavy riffs amid the seeming chaos. "You Don't Turn Down" rips furiously and "Noonan" spirals around Stern's taunt, "Don't you want to be somebody?" Despite the aggressive, finger-tapped assaults, Chronicles winds out more controlled arrangements, like the focused punk bursts of "Nothing Is Easy" and "Immortals," and the racing title track. "Still Moving" unloads constant shifts of energy, but even as "Proof of Life" drives a nihilistic core, Stern's calculated surges lead to the throbbing and dizzying "Hell Yes" at close. Marnia, a fantasy as daunting as it is revelatory. (1am, Maggie Mae's Gibson Room)
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