24. Mary Timony—Helium
Though she is now a part of grrrl rock band Wild Flag, the perfect visual representation of Mary Timony’s guitar playing comes in the early video for her former group Helium’s “XXX.” As a very whammy-bar-warped guitar solo plays, Timony stands on an escalator and struggles with the broken strings of a goldtop Gibson Les Paul. It’s an exaggeration, sure, but a lot of her playing has this same gone, woozy quality. Backed in Helium by muscular bass guitar from Ash Bowie, she spread wandering melodies and loose, angular riffs across the Boston-based band’s two albums and three EPs for Matador—even the misleadingly titled No Guitars.