Mary B. Timony (born 1970) is an American independent singer-songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, and violist. She has been a member of the bands Helium, Autoclave and Wild Flag, and currently fronts Ex Hex.
Timony was born to James and Joan Timony of Washington, D.C., and raised in the neighborhoods of Glover Park and Wesley Heights. As a teenager, she attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown where she played guitar in the jazz band and also studied viola. Her guitar teacher Tom Newman recalled to interviewers: "She came to us a prodigy. You can't teach what she has."
In 1990-91 Timony played guitar and shared lead vocals in the Washington, D.C.-based band Autoclave. She later relocated to Boston, where she graduated from Boston University with a degree in English literature and formed the band Helium in the summer of 1992, recording two albums and three EPs with the group between 1994 and 1997. Helium disbanded in 1998, whereupon Timony embarked on her solo career, recording albums in 2000 and 2002 (Mountains and The Golden Dove).
In the mid-2000s, Timony moved back to D.C. In 2005, Timony joined with drummer Devin Ocampo; her album Ex Hex, released on the Lookout! Records label, features the two performing together as a duo. In the same year, she contributed vocals to Team Sleep's self-titled album on the tracks "Tomb of Liegia" and "King Diamond."
Her most recent solo album, The Shapes We Make, was released on the Kill Rock Stars label on May 8, 2007. A music video for "Sharp Shooter" was produced by the art collective Paper Rad.
In early 2009, Mary Timony formed a new band, Pow Wow, with Jonah R. Takagi and Winston H. Yu. As of June 2009 the group added T. J. Lipple and changed its name to Soft Power.
In September 2010, Mary Timony and members of Sleater-Kinney, The Minders, and Quasi announced that they were working on a new album under the moniker Wild Flag. It was released on Merge Records on September 13, 2011.
After Wild Flag's breakup, Timony formed Ex Hex with Fire Tapes bassist Betsy Wright, and The Aquarium drummer Laura Harris. Their debut album Rips was released on Merge Records in October 2014.
Timony's music is often heavy and dark, frequently using drones, beats, and modal melodies reminiscent of European Medieval music. She uses a number of alternate guitar tunings, most prominent of which is DADGAE, which allows for the execution of melodic passages.
Her brother, Patrick Timony, is the keyboard player for the band The Picture is Dead.
There is a reference to Mary Timony in the lyrics to the song "Your Bruise" by the American indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie, from their 1998 debut album Something About Airplanes.
In addition to her work with Autoclave, Helium, and the Mary Timony Band, Timony has occasionally collaborated or recorded with other groups. In 1999, Timony recorded a four-song vinyl EP with Carrie Brownstein of the band Sleater-Kinney, in a duo called The Spells. In 2000, she recorded a six-song CD with Anna Johansson and Erin Maclean, entitled Green 4.
In 1995, Timony recorded the song "All Dressed Up In Dreams" with Stephin Merritt, on The 6ths album Wasps' Nests. She also recorded vocals for a one-off alt-country project called Lincoln '65. This project's sole output was a 7" single released by Slow River Records in 1996, labeled simply Lincoln '65, and contained two tracks, "Dreams" and "Jellyfish".
Timony collaborated with Team Sleep on Tomb of Liegia and King Diamond on their 2005 self-titled album.
Timony had a role in the 1997 independent film All Over Me as lead singer/guitarist of the fictional girl rock band Coochie Pop, along with another real-life singer/guitarist, Leisha Hailey. They performed the Helium song "Hole in the Ground" in the movie.
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