Artist Biography by Erik Hage
Tara Key is primarily known for her singing and stellar, barbed guitar heroics in the New York group Antietam. Key began her music career in Louisville, KY. Long before making the move to N.Y.C., she and boyfriend Tim Harris were members of early-'80s post-punk group the Babylon Dance Band (who reunited for an album on Matador in 1994). Key and Harris went on to form Antietam, releasing two unimpressive, relatively restrained albums in the mid-'80s. The '90s saw the group becoming prominent on the New York scene and benefiting from a friendship with Yo La Tengo's genial couple, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley. (Yo La Tengo would cover Antietam's "Orange Song" on record.) The two produced the 1990 release Burgoo, which began capitalizing on Key's angular guitar dynamics and which represented a sea change toward the aggression and assurance of later albums, particularly 1994's Rope-a-Dope. Also in 1994, Key released her solo debut, Bourbon County, which featured a more laid-back sound than Antietam and guest appearances from Kaplan and Hubley, as well as members of Eleventh Dream Day and Run On. The more focused, fully realized Ear & Echo followed in 1995. In 2000, Key and Eleventh Dream Day's Rick Rizzo teamed up for Dark Edson Tiger, a moody, atmospheric album of instrumentals released by Thrill Jockey. Riding out the album's critical acclaim, the pair played some well-chosen dates, including All Tomorrow's Parties in the U.K., and vowed to return for another go. Little did they know that it would be a decade before their second collaboration would be completed and released. Thrill Jockey issued Double Star in early 2011.