In a Pitchfork review of “The Golden Dove,” music critic Alison Fields wrote, “she’s certainly crossed the line into self-indulgent Dungeons and Dragons eccentricity.” And that was one of the good reviews; Fields gave her 7.1 on a 10-point scale.
“The way I was portrayed is totally stupid, but whatever,” Timony says. Not that she’s immune to criticism. Every snip “stings,” she says. But not as much as facing the fact that she got so personal in the first place. “It’s a combination of being embarrassed and shocked,” she says. “Did I really sing about that stuff in a public place? Did I really do that?”
In 2004 Timony moved back to Washington, and as she climbed her way out of depression, she resolved to stay away from anything resembling autobiography in her songs. But her music remains undeniably personal.
“I just write what’s in my head. How I’m feeling is how lyrics get written. How the lyrics get written is how the music sounds,” she explains.
When in 2009, her old friend Brownstein called looking to jam, the timing felt right. “I wasn’t expecting to be in a band again. I really have to pinch myself sometimes,” Timony says of her experience as one of Wild Flag’s two front women. The other is Brownstein, with whom Timony trades vocal hooks and riffs on virtually every song. Rounding out the four-piece is drummer Janet Weiss, also from Sleater-Kinney and Quasi, and keyboardist Rebecca Cole.
If the sound of Wild Flag’s self-titled debut album — a raucous love letter to rock-and-roll — is any indication, Timony is in a good place. “For once the music is happy and not depressing,” she says, laughing. “It’s a lot of fun.”
But now the band is on hiatus and Timony is back in Washington trying to figure out what comes next. She has been writing songs and gigging with local musicians Alex Minoff and Amy Domingues, and other friends as they come through town.
“There’s such a pressure now keep yourself relevant. All the self-promotion kind of makes me feel sick,” Timony says. “I just want to make music and not have to think about the rest.”
She has managed to fashion a life in music that combines creating, performing and educating. When she’s not making music herself, she teaches guitar in her basement studio. She enjoys teaching so much that she even considered a career change during the fallow period that preceded Wild Flag.
The life of a working musician can be a constant struggle for artists who don’t land a huge hit song or two to help pay the bills in leaner times. But rock stardom was never Timony’s plan.
“I’ve never once thought, ‘Hey, I’m going to make a product like some really fun party album that everyone will rush out and buy,’ ” she says. “If selling records was why I did this, I obviously wouldn’t be doing this.”
Aimee Swartz is a writer living in Maryland. To comment
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