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Mary Timony Plays Helium with Hospitality, San Francisco, 2018
|Genres||Noise pop, post-punk|
|Associated acts||Dumptruck, Autoclave, Team Sleep|
|Past members||Brian Dunton|
Helium was an American alternative rock band fronted by Mary Timony. The band formed during the summer of 1992. Between 1992 and 1997, they released two full-length albums, three EPs and several singles.
Under the original moniker of "Chupa," the band's founding members were Mary Lou Lord; Jason Hatfield, Juliana Hatfield's brother; Shawn King Devlin; and Brian Dunton. Devlin and Dunton were both also in the band Dumptruck before founding Helium. Mary Timony, formerly of the band Autoclave, replaced Mary Lou Lord on vocals and guitar shortly after formation, as Lord was reluctant to use electric instrumentation. Following Lord's departure, the remaining members changed the band's name to Helium.
Their first release was a 7" single entitled "The American Jean" (1993), which was followed by the 7" "Hole in the Ground". They released their first EP, Pirate Prude, in 1994. Shortly after the release of Pirate Prude, Dunton left the band and Polvo guitarist Ash Bowie, boyfriend of Timony at the time, joined on bass. In 1995, they released their first full-length release, The Dirt of Luck, and played the second stage of Lollapalooza. Adam Lasus produced and engineered The Dirt of Luck, Pirate Prude, and all of Helium's singles up to 1995.
In 1997, the group released the EP No Guitars before releasing their second album, The Magic City. This album featured synths and analog drum sounds, as opposed to their previous guitar-centered releases.
Commenting on the band's new direction, in an interview with the Boston Phoenix in 1997, Timony said: ""It seemed natural for a girl my age to be expressing anger in music. For whatever psychological reason, I found it easier to express it in my songs than any other way. Writing out of anger is an easy framework, and that's one reason I don't do it now. I remember hearing Patti Smith say that she stopped playing music because she wasn't angry anymore. I could totally relate, except that I want to keep playing. Lately I'm more into the idea that making music is fun. I want it to be a collaborative, creative thing, rather than using music as a tool."
The band toured the United States in early 1998 and disbanded shortly thereafter.
Film and television
Matador Records reissued the band's two albums in March, 2017, along with a new collection of rarities. Timony consequently played two "Mary Timony Plays Helium" tours in the U.S., backed by members of the band Hospitality, in 2017 and 2018.
|The Dirt of Luck||1995||Matador Records|
|The Magic City||1997||Matador Records|
|Pirate Prude||1994||Matador Records|
|No Guitars||1997||Matador Records|
|"The American Jean" (b/w "Termite Tree")||1992||Warped Records|
|"Hole in the Ground" (b/w "Lucy")||1993||Pop Narcotic (on orange vinyl)|
|"Pat's Trick" (b/w "Ghost Car")||1995||Matador Records|
|Rock Stars Kill||1994||Kill Rock Stars|
|Half-Cocked - The Motion Picture Soundtrack||1995||Matador Records|
|1994||"XXX"||David Kleiler||Pirate Prude|
|1995||"Pat's Trick"||David Kleiler||The Dirt of Luck|
|1995||"Superball"||Tryan George||The Dirt of Luck|
|1995||"Honeycomb"||Brett Vapnek||The Dirt of Luck|
|1997||"Leon's Space Song"||The Magic City|
- Brett Milano (4–11 September 1997). "Wonder woman Mary Timony uncovers a Magic City". The Boston Phoenix. The Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Staff (9 September 1997). "Helium". Matador Records. Matador Records. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Cellars by Starlight". bostonphoenix.com. Archived from the original on 2016-02-19. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
- O'Neal, Sean. (March 23, 2017) "Mary Timony revives Helium for reissues, rarities, new tour," AV Club. Retrieved on March 12, 2018.
- Blais-Billie, Braudie. (October 17, 2017) 'Mary Timony Announces 'Plays Helium' Tour," Pitchfork. Retrieved on March 12, 2018.