Staff Picks: Two shred-worthy albums and a nerdy reality show

Ex Hex, Rips

Ex Hex opens “Beast,” the second track from its irresistible debut album Rips, with a spirited shred of an electric guitar and the line, “Was it my imagination / Or did you come out of the past?” It’s a funny question coming from singer Mary Timony because her latest musical venture sounds like it just got pulled out of a time capsule from 1979. This is catchy, pulsating rock, à la The Runaways or even classic stuff from The Cars by way of Sleater-Kinney (Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss were bandmates with Timony in Wild Flag). Rips is an intoxicating blend of “whoa-oh”s and riffs, with tracks like “Waterfall” making the most of the album’s nostalgia-prodding sound and really letting the guitar solos fly. It’s a throwback, yes, but also refreshing and a reminder of how fun rock music can be when it thoroughly …

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