I would have ruled this world too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!
Monday, May 02, 2005


There are some musicians whose careers I've followed for years now. You hear their music and one thing leads to another.....next thing you know its been a long time and you start to feel like some of them are almost like family.

I first saw the band Helium in the early 90's in Chapel Hill. Looking back on it, I'm not even sure who they were opening for but I remember Helium. I was very impressed with bandleader Mary Timony for a lot of reasons. For one thing, she was a woman and she wasn't playing bass....she was playing guitar. And she wasn't sucking....she was actually a pretty decent guitar player. For another thing, she was the brains of the outfit....she wasn't just taking orders from some guy behind the scenes (sad but true fact in music 99% of the time). There are a million males I look up to in rock.......and only a handful of women that I look up to. And Mary Timony is one of those.

Helium. That's bassist Ash Bowie to your right, and drummer Shawn King Devlin behind Mary.

I liked Helium a lot....weird, medieval castle-fairies & witches-type themes. When Mary hooked up with Ash Bowie from Polvo (another favorite band of mine) both personally and professionally, it was just icing on the cake. Unfortunately, Helium broke up after their masterpiece (IMHO), The Magic City. Mary did a couple of solo albums after that, and I shed a tear or two listening to The Golden Dove, a record about the romantic break-up of she and Ash.

But now, Mary is back and she's rocking out again. On her new CD, Ex Hex, Mary has moved back some from her keyboards and is back working on her guitar once more. The results are pretty impressive. Rolling Stone magazine gave it 3 stars.....and if you are familiar with Mary's work at all, you should just go ahead and add another star to that....this is a bold step away from her previous solo work. There is lots of raw, crunching guitar riffs and new drummer Devin O'Campo's (the Medications) beats provide the extra ass-kick. There's even a "jam" at the end of the CD built around an uncomplicated riff that just kind of draws you in and swirls you around till the end.

So....bottom line: the CD is good. Check it out if you get the chance.