Power-poppin’, guitar-soloin’ Ex Hex has emerged as one of D.C.’s most exciting bands in years, and it’s not only because of the lightning-strong licks that scream out of Mary Timony’s guitar: It’s also thanks to the fact that this group lets itself have as much fun as possible.
There aren’t a lot of big, important messages coursing through the lyrics penned by Timony, the veteran musician (ex-Helium, Wild Flag, Autoclave, Mary Timony Band) who writes most of Ex Hex’s songs. Mostly, she tackles people and relationships, then blows it all out of a cannon preloaded with nails and confetti. Then there’s the rest of the band, hardly sidewomen: Bassist and co-songwriter Betsy Wright burrows right into a groove with effortless cool; and drummer Laura Harris, as focused as an electron microscope, kicks off her shoes to get deep in the zone.
I’d been trying to get Ex Hex into WAMU’s studios for months, but the band took its time in the run-up to its Merge Records debut, Rips. That chunk of noise came tumbling down from rock mountain last week, not long after the band finally stopped by our studio to lay down two wailers from the LP: “Everywhere” and “Don’t Wanna Lose.”
On recording day, the response from inside WAMU HQ gave us a sense of how historic this session would be. Within minutes of Timony’s first solo, staff from WAMU’s Bluegrass Country came in to say they could feel it all the way down the hall.
May Ex Hex’s clamor forever transform nerds into leather-clad rockers! Let it disturb the productivity of a million more office workers! Long live the rock!