Marnie Stern is the candy-coated Yngwie Malmsteen of freak rock. Emerging from the same Sacramento, Calif., scene that spat out drumming whiz Zach Hill and his outfit Hella, the guitarist has concocted an uplifting brand of math rock that is as in debt to Orthrelm and Lightning Bolt as it is to hip-hop and the party jams of Andrew W.K. On Stern's 2007 debut, In Advance of the Broken Arm, she does a ridiculous amount of finger tapping (that fingers-dancing-across-the-fretboard trick that metal guitarists love so much) over the whirling-dervish rhythms of Mr. Hill. When playing gigs, however, Stern is often all by her lonesome, sporting headbands and shredding to drum tracks downloaded to her iPod. Between the wicked chops and the eccentric nature of her stage show, a lot has been written about Stern as a kind of post-everything performance artist. But this overlooks her songwriting skills. While her songs are dense and manic, they're packed with hooks and grooves that are surprisingly danceable. The release of her sophomore disc finds these qualities soaked in an even more let's-conquer-the-world feel. Sweet.