Helium (band)

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Origin Boston, Massachusetts
Genres Noise pop, post-punk
Years active 1992–1998
Labels Matador Records
Associated acts Dumptruck, Autoclave, Team Sleep
Past members Mary Lou Lord
Brian Dunton
Mary Timony
Ash Bowie
Shawn Devlin

Helium was an American alternative rock band formed during the summer of 1992. 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.[1]


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.

Timony was known for her husky, vibrato-less and monotone singing style. The band's record label, Matador Records, likened Timony's vocals to Kim Wilde and Debbie Harry.[2]


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. They toured the United States in early 1998 but disbanded shortly thereafter.

Film and television[edit]

The band makes an appearance in a 1994 road movie, entitled Half-cocked. On television, two of the band's music videos, "Pat's Trick" and "XXX", were critiqued by Beavis and Butt-head.


Timony began a solo career in 2000 and Bowie released an album of old four-track recordings under the name Libraness. Timony was later a member of the bands Wild Flag and Ex Hex.



Title Year Label
The Dirt of Luck 1995 Matador Records
The Magic City 1997 Matador Records


Title Year Label
Pirate Prude 1994 Matador Records
Superball+ 1995 Matador Records
No Guitars 1997 Matador Records


Title Year Label
"The American Jean" 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
"Superball" (b/w "What Institution Are You From" & "Lucky Charm") 1995 Matador Records


Title Year Label
Rock Stars Kill 1994 Kill Rock Stars
Half-Cocked - The Motion Picture Soundtrack 1995 Matador Records

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Director Album
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


  1. ^ Brett Milano (4–11 September 1997). "Wonder woman Mary Timony uncovers a Magic City". The Boston Phoenix. The Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Staff (9 September 1997). "Helium". Matador Records. Matador Records. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 

External links[edit]