Stream Ex Hex’s New Album It’s Real
Back in 2014, Ex Hex came blasting out of Washington, DC with their debut album Rips. Before Ex Hex, bandleader Mary Timony was a beloved indie presence, chasing cosmic melodic ideas in Autoclave and Helium and her own solo music. But with Ex Hex, Timony played around with the supercharged pop melodies that had been such a big part of Wild Flag, Timony’s apparently-short-lived band with Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss. Ex Hex were — and are — a breezy, tough, efficient power-pop power trio, one who drew on things like ’60s garage and Cheap Trick and the Cars with punk rock intensity and knowing coolness. And now, after nearly five years, they’re back again.
This week, Ex Hex will release the sophomore album It’s Real, and it fucking rules. This time around, the band’s focus is more on swaggering classic-rock dynamics and less on poison-sugar hooks. They’ve gelled as a unit, and bassist Betsy Wright, who has been kicking a lot of ass in her side-project duo Bat Fangs, is more of a presence. And yet the core of the band is still the same. Again and again, Ex Hex hit the pleasure center that exists at some ideal midpoint between Thin Lizzy and the Ramones.
We don’t get too many old-school windows-down butt-rock albums as strong as It’s Real (though, oddly enough, this one comes just after Angel Du$t’s Pretty Buff, another really great album that does a lot of the same things in different ways). We’ve already posted the early tracks “Cosmic Cave,” “Tough Enough,” and “Rainbow Shiner,” and right now you can stream the whole kickass 37-minute entirety of It’s Real at NPR. Listen here.
It’s Real is out 3/22 on Merge. Pre-order it here.