Ex Hex, 'Rips'
Mary Timony started out making what might be called "challenging" music with her band Helium — slightly off-kilter, drony, dark songs that sometimes resolved into satisfying Nineties chug, but more often than not didn't. In Wild Flag, she dueled with Carrie Brownstein on carefully constructed tunes that occasionally gave her space to stick in spiraling solos. But now Timony has ripped it all down and started from the scraps. Her new power trio's debut album, Rips, is a glorious exercise in stripped-down, straight-up rock & roll. It's a ladies' take on Cheap Trick-style rah-rah rock blended with jittery punk and Timony's brilliant, bluesy guitar solos. And it's 100 percent proof Timony's seemingly backwards sonic journey is right on target. By Caryn Ganz