Posted January 3, 2021 by Jeff in Tunes

Matador To Reissue Mary Timony’s Debut Album

Mary Timony photo Brett Vapnek
Mary Timony photo Brett Vapnek

To date, Matador’s Revisionist History series has set its focus on the hallowed year of 1995 and included terrific releases by Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Guided by Voices, and Chavez. 

In early 2021, Matador will jump forward to the year 2000 and reissue Mary Timony’s debut solo album, Mountains

Remastered by Bob Weston, Mountains comes back to us as a gold foil-embossed gatefold 2xLP and will include the previously unreleased original takes of “Return to Pirates,” “Poison Moon” and “Killed by the Telephone,” which were delivered along with the original master tapes 20 years ago but were omitted from the final album.

The record includes a newly recorded orchestral version of “Valley of One Thousand Perfumes,” which was produced by composer Joe Wong (Russian Doll, Midnight Gospel) and mixed by Dave Fridmann. 

At the turn of the century, Timony (Ex Hex, Wild Flag, Hammered Hulls) was a fixture of D.C. and Boston rock ’n’ roll via her work in Autoclave and Helium respectively. By 1998, though, Helium was drawing to a close and Timony was feeling uncertain about the future. 

“I had never been good at the rock’ n’ roll business, and making a living from being in a band just didn’t seem like it was in the realm of possibility for me,” she writes in a press release about the album. “I just knew I wanted to make another record because that was the part of being in a band that I liked the most.” 

At the time of its original release, Timony called called the album “a trip to the new underworld.” 

“A bunch of hard stuff was happening in my life: family illnesses, people dying, people leaving, relationships ending. I fell into a deep depression,” she explains. “I tried new ways of making music: I tried writing songs without any filter at all, and I purposely didn’t think about what the music would sound like to anyone else. I was only interested in describing what was in my head.” 

Recorded and mixed in Boston alongside Christina Files and Eric Masunaga and in Chicago with Bob Weston, Mountains found Timony dialing into territory that was “barer and more confessional than her work in Helium.” “Stark arrangements were augmented with newly ornate instrumentation — piano, vibraphone, and viola — and the lyrics were tinted with slyly occult imagery,” reads the press release about the reissue.

Listening back to Mountains now I am struck most by how raw it sounds.

“I hear the depression and angst, but also I hear all of that darkness disappearing through the power of music and friendship — and turning into songs during those happy and productive months recording and hanging out in Christina [File]’s loft in downtown Boston,” says Timony.

Mary Timony photo by Brett Vapnek