Was working on some things last night and decided to put on the month-old eponymous third release by guitar virtuoso Marnie Stern. I have had it for a couple weeks but didn’t have time to listen to it attentively till now. If there’s any complaint I have about her manic style it’s that she never seems to settle down into a melodic, “songy” mode. Always the artist, she constantly layers mind-melting guitar tricks into sound collages. In my opinion, “The Things You Notice,” which is the closing track of the new album, shows that she has begun to smooth out the show-off sessions and allow her songs to have cohesive voices of their own. That was my thought when I finished listening to this track for the first time; “She has finally settled down and is letting her complicated music be really beautiful.” Then I read the lyrics, because I couldn’t quite hear what she was saying the whole time. And when I did, I couldn’t help but smile. “Our love settles down,” she says, “Into soft sweet sounds.”
AIGA, which used to be an acronym for American Institute of Graphic Arts, is encouraging its members to attend/participate in a good old fashioned pinewood derby. Cars may be entered as regulation racers, which must meet the racing rules’ strict criteria, or as show cars. I am thinking this would be a fun event to attend, especially considering the scouting nostalgia raised by the pinewood ‘n’ paint project.