Ex Hex say it best: Their new single “Tough Enough” is “all about three-dimensional power chords interplaying with whammy dive bombs. It’s a song about turning on your tough switch and forging ahead through whatever storms are happening around you ’cause you have no choice.” The opening song off It’s Real, their long-awaited follow-up to Rips that comes out March 22, arrives today with a music video and additional European tour dates.
Produced by Jonah Takagi (who also produced Rips), It’s Real was a more collaborative effort than its predecessor. Mary Timony and Betsy Wright could be found writing late into the night, leaning on Takagi to tighten up arrangements. Egos were surrendered in service to the music: Nothing was sacred or precious, and there was a relentless devotion to both songcraft and exploration. Dozens of guitar amps sat mic-ed in the next room, and the group experimented at a frenzied pace parsing countless combinations of instruments, pedals, and amps. They even dusted off Mary’s old Rockman, a small headphone amp designed by Boston guitarist Tom Scholz in 1982. Mary recounts, “It’s only about the size of a Walkman and takes eight AA batteries, but it sounds massive. We read that parts of [Def Leppard’s] Hysteria were tracked through it, and when we finally plugged it in, it blew our minds!”
Listen to previous single “Cosmic Cave” (which Spin described as “a wormhole tremor of garage-pop distortion”), and reserve your copy of It’s Real on CD, LP, and magenta and blue “rainbow shiner” vinyl in the Merge store—where all pre-orders come with a rad Ex Hex pocket folder!—or wherever records are sold. As mentioned earlier, new tour dates have been added to Ex Hex’s European tour itinerary; North American and UK shows are on sale now, and European dates will be on sale Wednesday at 10am local time.