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Between Helium’s 1997 No Guitars EP and this year’s baroque fantasia, The Golden Dove, Mary Timony has conjured up a veritable bestiary of magical creatures—dragons, demons, ghosts, goblins. In the past, with Helium, Timony’s make-believe imagery may have overly obscured the real-world emotions masked behind it. That changed with her solo debut: Stark, despairing, and obsessive, Mountains is an album-length exorcism of Timony’s personal demons, which successfully treads the tricky lyrical balance between matters magical and real. Timony’s new long-player is only slightly less tetched, but with a warmer sound and fuller instrumentation, it sounds as if Timony has left the worst of her despair behind. She plays with Sonic Youth and Erase Errata at 7:30 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $18. (202) 393-0930. (Todd Hitchcock)