After almost a decade and a half as a mainstay of the Boston music scene, fronting indie rock legends like Autoclave and Helium, Mary Timony returned to her hometown of Washington, D.C. in the mid-'00s. Near the end of the decade, she formed the band Pow Wow with her boyfriend Jonah Takagi and These United States' Winston H. Yu. After discovering that name in use by at least two other bands, the threesome changed their name to Soft Power, after a phrase coined in 1990 by philosopher Joseph Nye. T.J. Lipple made the band a quartet in June 2009. Casting Timony as more collaborator than frontwoman (she and Takagi switch off on lead vocals), the band began to create psychedelic-tinged indie rock with a distinct medieval tint, reminiscent of Helium, but simultaneously more ethereal and harder edged.
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