DC breathed a sigh of relief when Ex Hex — the city’s most interesting and engaging rock trio — finally released a second studio album, It’s Real, via Merge Records in March, five years after the band’s debut album. Now it’s really real as Ex Hex headline 9:30 Club once again on Friday, May 10, in what is sure to be a killer show.
Fronted by rock royalty guitarist Mary Timony, once of Helium, Ex Hex also includes bassist Betsy Wright and drummer Laura Harris, both associated with various Dischord Records projects. The three women have individual strengths that combine for a transcendent power pop experience tinged by garage and punk.
On most of the songs, Mary lends her winsome voice to lead vocals but occasionally Betsy takes the mic for slightly more dramatic and just as appealing turns — as with Ex Hex’s recent single, “Rainbow Shiner.”
Watch the official music video for “Rainbow Shiner” by Ex Hex on YouTube:
In a review for Pitchfork, Stephen Thomas Erlewine provides inspired praise when he compares the insightful worksmanship of Ex Hex to that of Weezer.
“Reuniting with producer Jonah Takagi, the band doesn’t abandon the formula that fueled Rips, favoring heavy hooks and a cavernous big beat that conjures a neon-lit ’80s AOR fantasia. Ex Hex mine the areas of arena rock that have been forgotten to pop history, pledging allegiance to echo, overdrive, phasers and harmony, the very things that powered the airwaves in the days before MTV. Forget such stylish New Wave touchstones as Blondie or metal perennials as Van Halen: Ex Hex is all about the big beat of Billy Squier and the high-octane strut of Foreigner,” Stephen wrote.