It sure is nice to hear Marnie Stern hasn’t lost one bit of that guitar-geekery which has made her the apple in many a young indie rocker’s eye over the course of her first two albums. It’s even better to hear a Marnie Stern song, like this one, “For Ash,” which has a low end to it. For all her masterful, massively dexterous riffs, her songs were often lacking in the, um, song department, falling into this non-pattern of guitar wail, sweet voice, more guitar wail and more guitar wail. Now, your ears actually have a chance to catch up with her million notes per minute style and not feel lost in a sea of abstract sound.
And speaking of women who shred, Screaming Females frontwoman Maria Paternoster is second to no one, man or woman, when it comes to peppering power pop with killer riffs. Hell, “I Don’t Mind It,” is practically one long, foot on top of the speaker, pose for the camera, and smile for your screaming fans, guitar melody set to song, as both ’90s alt-rock and ’70s arena rock share the stage on this attitude packed single. Paternoster’s brassy and confident voice is the main supply for this tough girl disposition, giving an extra edge to her riffage, like first she’ll accept your challenge to a guitar solo duel, then after she humiliates you and your recycled Nickelback riffs, she’ll kick you in the balls for thinking for a second she couldn’t slay the big boys.