Betsy Wright is the bassist for DC power pop trio Ex Hex. Laura King is drummer for North Carolina garage rockers Flesh Wounds. Together, they are also Bat Fangs! The band releases its debut self-titled album on Friday, Feb. 2 via Don Giovanni Records. One week later, Sasha Lord presents Bat Fangs playing that new album at Comet Ping Pong on Friday, Feb. 9!
For the past year, I personally wondered if Ex Hex, one of the strongest bands to emerge from DC in quite some time, were going to be a one-album project. After all, their debut album Rips dropped in 2014, and the last 12 months were relatively quiet for the female power pop trio.
Ex Hex crushed my fears in a sold-out show at Black Cat on Saturday, remarkable not only for the wall-to-wall crowd but also the wall-to-wall sound in an upbeat performance that included several new songs! Every show I’ve caught by the band has been good, but this was simply the best.
Several years ago, Ex Hex, one of the best bands to come out of DC in quite some time, dropped Rips, their debut album, and then toured a lot. The all-female power pop trio have been relatively quiet in 2017, but they will end the year with a big show at Black Cat on Saturday, Dec. 30.
The dynamic Betsy Wright, bassist for Ex Hex, launched another band last year, forming Bat Fangs with drummer Laura King. The band performed as a trio opening for War on Women at Rock and Roll Hotel on Saturday, Aug. 26, and Paivi got some pix. (Check out her pix of War on Women also.)
Neil Young was right. “Rock and roll will never die.” And no, that’s not an allusion to the seemingly myriad musical festivals or anniversary tours featuring reunited elders of sound like 2016’s Desert Trip — affectionately dubbed “Oldchella” — or most recently, the bicoastal weekend-long fêtes Classic East and Classic West last month. “Rock and roll is here to stay,” thanks to bands like Spoon (whose title is not a reference to the culinary utensil, but an homage to the 1970s German avant-garde collective called Can #themoreyouknow). These indie musicians heralding from the capital of the Lone Star State embody the notion that evolution is a form of revolution.
With the March 2017 release of their ninth studio album, Hot Thoughts, a promotional tour was sure to follow and it did. Their July 30 appearance at the newly renovated Merriweather Post Pavilion was not a solo headlining gig, but they most certainly performed like it was.
In the loose and grungy ’90s, pockets of great music bubbled up, and few places were as cool as Boston, where noise pop quartet Helium formed.
Former Helium frontwoman Mary Timony, who had relocated from DC to Boston at the time, recently championed the remaster of the band’s only two albums, along with another album of rarities, and made an effort to get the band back together for a brief tour. Although that reunion did not occur, Mary took the show on the road herself, playing an opening date to a sold-out room at Rock and Roll Hotel on Tuesday, June 6, to the delight of a much enthralled audience.
Mary Timony, DC’s top guitar ace, first became an indie rock darling in the ‘90s with her Boston-based band Helium, which dabbled in well-written noise pop. Twenty years after the band’s second and last album, Matador Records last month reissued Helium’s records and a new compilation — Ends with And, a collection of singles and other tracks.
To mark the occasion, Mary herself is hitting the road to celebrate the music of Helium in a short tour beginning with a date at the Rock and Roll Hotel on Tuesday, June 6. You still have a chance to buy tickets!