Posts Tagged ‘Betsy Wright’

ex hex

When Washington DC power-trio Ex Hex reconvened to record the follow up to their searing 2014 debut Rips, they slipped into this mindset. “We wanted to open up the sound from the first record, which sounded pretty garagey,” guitarist and vocalist Mary Timony says. “Even in how it was mixed – really overly compressed. We wanted to take it back from being blown out and use really diverse guitar sounds, make it lusher and bigger. We were talking a lot about Mutt Lange.”

Specifically, they talked about Lange’s work on Hysteria, Def Leppard’s 1987 monster hit and one of the most fastidiously overproduced albums of all time. Given the dirt under Rips’ fingernails, and Timony’s rep as a classically trained guitarist who favoured difficult, mathy melodies during her time with Helium and Autoclave, on paper ‘Ex Hex x Def Leppard’ is a weird look. But It’s Real drops that perception with its first couple of punches – this is a muscular, furiously enjoyable record that mainlines brazen riff worship.

With Betsy Wright, who played bass and sang on Rips, stepping up to spar with Timony as a second guitarist and drummer Laura Harris keeping a tight rein on things, behind its day-glo exterior lurks a shared set of blueprints that ensured Ex Hex hit their marks. “It was super collaborative,” Timony says. “If something could be played better by someone else, we’d do that. The parts just became parts.”

 

Both guitarists took time away from Ex Hex before settling in to write It’s Real. While Timony toured around some Helium reissues, Wright issued an LP with her side project Bat Fangs that set out some signposts for what would follow. Its sound – righteous power chords, Gibson SGs and cranked Orange amps – bleeds into her writing here, bouncing off Timony’s more studied, punk-leaning work.

“I’ve been getting more into 80s metal,” Wright says. “I got really inspired by a lot of guitar players and tried to stretch my ability a little bit by learning a lot of solos – Randy Rhoads, Angus Young, a lot of the songwriting on the solo Ozzy stuff.”

But getting your Mutt Lange on in the studio is expensive and time-consuming. Ex Hex didn’t have an 80s budget for their 80s ambitions, so they had to improvise. Producer Jonah Takagi, who also helmed Rips, provided the meticulousness, while the LP was tracked at several locations, including sessions with engineer Ben Green at Ivakota in DC and in Baltimore with post-hardcore hero J Robbins at his Magpie Cage studio. During their stay in Maryland, that improvisation was facilitated with a room of amps mic’d up at all times, while helping hands also came from the nearby Big Crunch.

Timony and Wright are an achingly cool duo who have riffs and hooks to spare, and on It’s Real, Ex Hex have hit on a formula that works perfectly for them. “We started with: ‘What songs do we have?’ and went with whoever had ideas – it was pretty natural,” Timony says. “There wasn’t a lot of figuring it out.”

From the album It’s Real, out now on Merge Records.

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Washington DC power rock group Ex Hex came onto the scene in 2014 with their excellent, loud debut Rips. Filled with big, raucous waves of guitar, the album embodied the type of rock ‘n’ roll that genre devotees were hungry for, which made sense; Mary Timony, founder of the influential ‘90s riot grrrl group Helium, helms the group alongside Betsy Wright on guitar and Laura Harris on drums. Their second studio album, It’s Real, which arrives March 22nd via Merge Records, along with the premiere of “Cosmic Cave” a guitar-shimmering single that Timony calls “Old style Ex Hex.” It’s lively garage rock with a bittersweet swirl of a chorus and cavernous-sounding embellishments, best experienced beyond the boundaries of headphones.

Timony and Wright explained that It’s Real found its form through the deliberate collaboration between the pair  their knack for continuous refinement feeding into their tightness in sound, execution, and their will to experiment. Whether it’s recording with ten amps at once or indulging in the weird effects of an old ‘80s headphone amp, Ex Hex are fully devoted to crafting the best sounds for blaring at maximum volume.

From the album It’s Real, out March 22nd, 2019 on Merge Records.

In the four years since Ex Hex released their debut, lamenting over the lack of a follow-up has become something of an indie rock pastime. The good news is that Mary Timony, Betsy Wright, and Laura Harris finally do appear to be hard at work on one, but as it turns out, we may not have needed the whole gang to satiate the craving for more. Wright, having teamed up with drummer Laura King, has gifted us with Bat Fangs, a record that is far more than just an interim Ex Hex release holdover—it’s a total beast unto itself. Riff-saturated, loud, and fearless, the album flies by (get it?), over before you want it to be, an unpretentious blast of old-school bar rock.

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NC/DC superghouls Bat Fangs pick up where Roky & the Aliens blasted off– cranking acid-soaked 80s hard rock for the living and the dead. Making heady heavy music for third eyes and stiff upper lips, Betsy Wright (Ex Hex) shreds ‘n’ howls over Laura King’s (Flesh Wounds / Speed Stick) deep-thunder drums. 

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Betsy Wright is half of Bat Fangs, along with drummer . I’d become familiar with Wright from the excellent Ex Hex album, an album that is amazing (they kick ass live as well). Needless to say I was excited when I heard she was going to be fronting a new band.

And it doesn’t disappoint. Wright is a god damn force of nature on stage and that energy comes across throughout the album. They deliver a 25 minute blend of riot grrrl and hair metal. Tunes like Bad Astrology and Wolfbite would slide in well on an episode of Hairbanger’s Ball. Wright’s vocals keep the tunes from coming off as anything but genuine. Bat Fangs aren’t recreating the wheel. But they are are churning out some great tunes with kick-ass riffs and that will surely translate into an entertaining set.

Formed in 2016 by guitarist/singer Betsy Wright (Ex Hex) and drummer Betsy Wright (Flesh Wounds, Speed Stick), the duo specialize in prescription-strength shred and churn meant to stiffen the upper lip and crack the third-eye. Slick and sick visions channeled from the midnight mirror world. Acid-soaked hard-rock to thrill the living and raise dead. first pressing of Bat Fangs is already running low in our web-store!! 🦇 All the more reason to go find it IRL

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The band began just as Wright’s other gig, Ex Hex, settled down for an extended breather. After two years touring as a bassist, she was eager to reconnect with the electric guitar and to push her pop-songwriting skills toward a slightly darker zone. She sent a few demos to King, who signed on to play drums. Together, they pushed the music into a deeper and more otherworldly place.

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Halloween might be over, but Bat Fangs’ “Wolfbite” packs the kind of spirited, ferocious wallop that makes it perfect for scaring away any bad days or for late night listening while walking alone on dimly lit streets. It instills a sense of fearlessness in you, with a raging attitude that’s unrelenting from its outset. The duo of Betsy Wright and Laura King will release their full length debut on February. 2nd through Don Giovanni Records and this first taste is more than enough to convince you that this album is a can’t miss. The howling, tenacious vocals paired with a midway guitar breakdown that’s impressive and razor-sharp is a biting, perfect introduction.