Each Marnie Stern song sounds like a hundred record stores at once, so densely are the tracks packed with ideas. On her fourth album, The Chronicles of Marnia
, the New York guitarist refines her unique form of bubblegum prog, contrasting insane finger-tapping flurries and loopy and looped layers of guitars with sweetly contrary vocals. "You don't need a sledgehammer to walk in my shoes," she advises cryptically on "Nothing Is Easy," as halos of light spiral around her head like caffeinated fireflies. The prophetically titled "You Don't Turn Down" slams with aggressively intricate grunge riffs before downshifting into gauzy pop interludes of ethereal cooing. With its flickering guitar signals and breezy vocals, "Still Moving" is a pop song for smart people with short attention spans. Speaking of short attention spans, arty noise-rockers Qui should provide an exalted distraction from boredom via the manic gyrations and gesticulations of frontman David Yow (The Jesus Lizard, Scratch Acid).
Tue., April 30, 9 p.m., 2013