Hands so cold
They wanna touch the light
In her youth, the spirited Tara Timberman skirted life’s conventional lines. Born to the most eccentric of bohemian actors – one having dodged the grip of Jonestown’s fate – Timberman’s Californian infancy was painted with vivid, if not always enviable, strokes. But, as the fickle fates would have it, her father’s heart gave out when she was but a slip of a girl. Left with a mother too young to be draped in widow’s weeds and burdened with the financial hardships of the world, their days grew increasingly knotted and frayed.
Timberman took her leave from institutional education, instead gathering tales and scars from across the states. Her pockets filled with experiences often more bitter than sweet. Grief, ever the most obstinate of guests, paired with the aftershocks of myriad personal battles, pulled her onto a path that was anything but primrose. A route well-acquainted with turmoil, addictions, and a few run-ins with the law.
Nowadays, Tara Timberman is tucked away within the hallowed halls of UCLA, deep in discourse about Gender Studies and the tales of Environmental History. But academia isn’t her only outlet; she pours the tumult of her soul into art, melodies, and verses with her musical endeavour, aptly named Metal Mother. Life has tossed her about, yet through every storm, she’s clung steadfastly to her crafts and principles, seasoning them with an unvarnished honesty.
Now in her early 40s, Timberman, as Metal Mother, dives headfirst into America’s murkier waters, casting a critical eye on the barriers that keep many in chains. She beckons all and sundry into a dance of unity and shared purpose. Community is essential for survival, particularly for the financially vulnerable, living on the fringes of late capitalism.
Metal Mother’s new single “Hands So Cold” flits seamlessly between realms, blurring lines as she goes, with a beating heart of shared dreams and nightmares. She glides through joy and strife, sorrow and whimsy, tranquility, and those deepest chambers of the heart that words dare not approach.
Hovering in that familiar spectral space she’s known for, the tune nestles comfortably amidst the bare bones of 80s synthpop while nodding affectionately to the unmistakable lyrical content of the Riot Grrl era. Unlike the wounded feral screeches coming Courtney Love and Alanis Morissette, however, Metal Mother lures us with honey, dancing tantalizingly close to the flames – her words a blend of temptation and admonition. She speaks from the perch of an all-seeing oracle – luring her listeners with the seduction of her incendiary offerings, yet whispering cautions of the perils they court.
With a touch that’s part sorceress, part siren, “Hands So Cold” spins a web of synths laden with sorrowful tunes, complex beats, and otherworldly vocals. To put it succinctly, she’s a blend of modern mystic and green-thought philosopher; think neo-pagan meets eco-existentialist.
“Hands so Cold” was written, performed, and produced by Tara Timberman. Samur Khouja took on further production and mixing duties, and it was mastered by Matt Mauldin.
Metal Mother’s entrance into the scene was marked by the 2011 album, Bonfire Diaries, with Jeremy Black’s magical touches on production and mixing. Then, in 2013, Ionika arrived, a collaboration with the brilliant David Earl. Later, in 2018, the self-helmed EP Pagan Jazz made its entrance.
Her singles, the poignant Everybody Has To Say Goodbye and the enigmatic Forest Anthem, have left their mark, as has her vocal contribution to the Glitch Mob’s Becoming Harmonious. Not just restricted to songwriting and singing, she’s ventured into the visual domain too, crafting music videos for Shake and Mind_off. Then there’s Pris, a visual feast courtesy of Chloe Feller’s direction.
2019 gave us a raw, intimate glimpse of Metal Mother in her live performance video, Angel, where her piano and vocal prowess are on full display. By 2021, her talents expanded to film, with an original score for Watermelon, a creation of Josefine Petersen. Her independence is evident in her craft.
This is the first single off Metal Mother’s upcoming album, which is to be released in spring of 2024. Metal Mother has appeared in nearly 100 shows throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico, including main stage performances at Oakland Art and Soul, Lightning in a Bottle, and Symbiosis Festivals.
Metal Mother is currently in the middle of a West Coast all-star tour. She will be performing in Oakland and Los Angeles this fall.
- 8/24 Portland, OR Azoth
- 8/25 Seattle, WA The Chapel
- 8/26 Olympia, WA Alva
- 9/15 Oakland. CA Tamarack
- 10/5 Los Angeles. CA Queerspace
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