1929 - Autoclave guitarist/vocalist Mary Timony celebrates stock market crash by leaving Washington D.C. to check out bread lines in Boston. Meets former Dumptruck bassist Brian Dunton and drummer Shawn Devlin in a Walpole soup kitchen. Shortly afterwards, the trio begins playing as a backing troupe for Jason Hatfield (who soon leaves to begin fierce war with the McCoys).
1933 - After negative review in Variety points out that "indie rock has not been invented yet," Timony and team of MIT scientists construct a time machine. Early efforts to travel backwards in time fail miserably (several researchers are eaten by dinosaurs), however a second trip, this time 59 years into the future, is a success.
1992 - Newly dubbed "Helium," the group begins playing around the eastern USA. Audiences, captivated by the unusual combination of guitar overdrive, downbeat pacing and lyrical insight, are completely unaware that the band are in fact, visitors from another time. A debut single, "The American Jean," b/w "Termite Tree" is released on Duntonís Warped label and begins to attract so much radio and press attention that before long, the group refuse to perform either song.
1993 - Dates around the east coast supporting stadium rockers like Belly, Juliana Hatfield, Liz Phair, Polvo, Tommy Dorsey (I think this was from the old lineup) begin to attract the attention of RECORD INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS. Some of these R.I.P.ís are so enthusiastic, they pool their resources and fly Helium to London. The American Embassy secures the bandís release, however, just in time for Helium to return to home and release their second single, "Hole In The Ground" b/w "Lucy" (Pop Narcotic).
1994 - Helium mistakenly sign to Matador, confusing the label name and logo with that of Mammoth. A six-song EP, recorded with longtime fan and friend Adam Lasus (previous credits include Versus, Madder Rose and some stuff weíre not gonna mention) is scheduled for February release, then pushed back when Mary insists that her head isnít blurry enough. Technicians correct the error, the EP comes out on March 8. A video for "XXX" is filmed and directed by former Volcano Suns/Sorry guitarist David Kleiler, and features the demolition of an entire building (thanks to the budget oversight, the band are now 2,000,000 in debt).
Mary Timony - guitar, vocals, Chamberlin, harpsichord
Ash Bowie - bass, Viceroy, keyboards
Shawn Devlin - drums
(see the discography/lyrics page for more info).
> Heliumís Brush With the 60ís
>Fizz: "Pat's Trick" has that line about "the most beautiful thing."
Mary: That chorus is talking about things that run through a lot of the songs. The idea, "the flower of life" which sounds so corny, embodies a perfect thing like an angel that brings you to heaven. I'm like imagining a perfect state of being and trying to get there. (Helium: Up, Up and Away...)
> 1998-03-20 (Michigan Daily Online)
> 1998-03-25 (citybeat.com)
> 1998-03-28 @ Middle East Cambridge (review)
> no guitars (review)
> Talk about an unmistakable sound. Helium has evolved significantly during nearly a decade of existence, but every step of the way, their distinctive brand of fractured fairytale pop has been impossible to confuse with any other band. (more)
> no guitars (review)
> Spin magazine scan (1997)
Album: The Magic City
Helium's second album a batch of brooding indie-pops songs that treat 80's New Wave like Baroque chamber music.
"We get a lot of attention because of all this cheesy girl-rock record company crap coming out, and I'm getting sick of it. I'm not sure it's going to benefit the band by having a female singer, but there's a definite benefit to being female"
Photograph by James Smolka
Vigogna stretch dress by Miu Miu
> the magic city (review)
> The Magic Cities: A Helium Road Diary
> Magic Cities (interview)
> Helium's Magic City
> Fantastic Voyage (1997-11-05)
> Chamber Punk - 1997-11-13 (interview)
> 1997-10-30 (the magic city review)
> "Floating away with Helium" (1997-10-27)
> "Puff on the magic dragon" (1997-10-23 the magic city review)
> Cellars by Starlight (The Boston Phoenix 1997-09-04)
> 1997-09-19 (review)
> 1994 Mary Timony interview
> Pat's Trick w/b side Ghost Car 7" review
> @ Middle East Cambridge (1994?) (2 pictures)|
> small promo pic
> Helium 1998-03-26/27/29 (full credits: Moe)
> promo pic
> @ Atlanta 1997-11-21 (pic + setlist)
> several live pictures